Monday, February 4, 2013

New poem by John Curl

American Qatar
(for Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami)
By John Curl
I will leave my cares behind
and fly on a magic tapestry
to lush desert Qatar,
a land of sun-baked fantasy
where dark-eyed houris,
in voluptuous perfection,
lounge in open tents
by camel race tracks.
I will circle the seemingly barren countryside,
once the poorest of Gulf states,
noted mainly for pearl diving
and long-horned, leaping oryx antelopes,
until I reach Al Udeid Air Base,
US Central Command’s Forward Headquarters,
regional Combined Air and Space Operations Center,
responsible for all US military actions
in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia,
including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran,
then tour the vast oil and gas fields,
15 billion barrels and 800 trillion cubic feet,
which brought to the Al Thani family fabulous wealth,
and to the working population,
95 percent foreign workers,
involuntary servitude, bonded labor,
vicious conditions,
restrictions on movement,
arbitrary detention,
physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
I will relax on the peninsula shore
with Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani,
absolute and hereditary monarch,
and his lovely wives, siblings,
nephews and cousins,
sipping cardamom-spiced coffee
from thimble-like cups,
while the sheikh’s daughters feed me
rose water and pistachio pudding,
a hundred variety of dates,
then dine on a whole lamb roasted on a bed of rice and nuts,
a richly spiced machbous stew of lobster,
crab, tuna, snapper, shrimp,
and body parts collected after drone raids
sizzling in a broth of human blood.
I will visit Doha Central Prison,
count the roaches and rats in the filthy cells,
listen to the screams
at the interrogation room door,
leaf through the forced confessions
of imaginary crimes against the state,
watch prisoners flogged and stoned
in the prison yard. I will
look for you there in your tiny cell,
Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami,
sentenced to life
for a poem criticizing the
elite ruling family
of thieves. If we could break you out,
we would not hesitate, but all we can
offer you today is a glass of clean love
and the world’s ear.
Satiated, I will head to
the Family Fun tourist
Amusement Park of 1001 delights,
by the water’s edge in Doha,
called the Kingdom of Aladdin,
with thrilling games and rides suitable for all ages,
and GIs on leave,
Ferris wheel, carousel, bumper cars,
go-karts, trampoline, air hockey arena,
video game arcade. I will
stand in the front car
of the Thunder Bullet roller coaster
and violate Articles 130 and 134 of the Penal Code,
invoking many years in prison
or even death
for speaking truth
about the Emir
and prophesizing the downfall           
of his crime family regime,
propped in place by American imperial might.
I will stand in the front car of the roller coaster
and speak your poem.

And as I speak I will listen
to the Gulf waters lapping softly
against the gentle beach
and hear their echoes
in the deep heart of the people,
beyond oppression’s reach.

new Haiku by Melba Abela

Black Crow

Black crow rose again
Obamacare promised land
Reality bites.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two poems by Gary Hicks . . . he has a new book out!

herod's  descendents

oklahoma city
colorado twice over
the uncounted of the 'hoods and barrios
abu ghraib
my lai
sand creek
wounded knee
the 38 indian chiefs hung in minnesota by abe lincoln
dresden and leipzig
the tens of thousands of nicaragua and el salvador and guatemala
the millions of congolese dead to make available the chips for the laptop on which this
       poem is written
the tens of thousands in "fast and furious" mexico
and on and on and on.......
newtown has proven once more that
what's going around is coming around
and these twenty-eight slain are
twenty-eight more reasons
that i am a communist
calling for the indictments
the trials
the findings of guilty
the removal from our midst
of those who knowinglly
and willfully make available
for whatever the market would bear
the weapons of mass destruction
of our children the world over
the murder of adults who would
protect the children
indict! try! remove
the gangsters and
their organized crime
called capitalism
berkeley ca     12-19-2012

hospital  doodlings

six weeks
not one word
written when so much
to be recounted
yet a silence
the need to
obey to heed
the call
to hold off
chill out
until absolutely
of something to
sheets wrapped
all around me
hurricane night
of tossing  turning
nurse on duty tells me
i was doing
a mad dance
which if true means
steps never tried
when awake
not tried at party settings
even when i drank
the better not to hear
remarks about
my dire clumsiness
wrapped all
around me
an awesome potential
that at age sixty-six
and disabled legs
will never be allowed
to get kinetic
berkeley ca   7-28 to 8-5-2012 
gary hicks

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Poem by Sarah Page, Rev Poet, activist, and co-publisher of Out of Our magazine


Don't ask me to grieve
for these children only
ask me to grieve for them all.

Ask me to grieve for the 16 million
who go to bed hungry
every night
ask me to grieve for them all.

Ask me to grieve for the 1.6 million
who go to sleep without a home
every night
ask me to grieve for them all.

Ask me to grieve for the six million
around the world who die from hunger
every year
or the 176 killed by US drones in Pakistan
ask me to grieve for them all.

You don't have to ask me to mourn
for these innocents
for I mourn all the children of this world
and I am ashamed
and I am grieving.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New poem by Dee Allen


                 For Lean-Lynn Plante, Matt Duran and Katie Olejnik

You're the latest
Catch in the federal dragnet
To your dismay.
You're summoned before
A cold, insinuating
Set of faces.
Take a seat
On the stand
And you're welcomed
Like the worst possible criminal.

Barrage of questions
Fly at you
Rapid-fire in
These secret proceedings.
Seated target has
No line of defence:
Barristers aren't allowed.
Witnesses are forbidden.
So you do
What heart advises:

Stay silent.

Summoned before the
Grand accusers again.
Take a seat and
Be a target again.
Barrage of questions
Dead aim again.
Probing for names
And certain identities
Familiar to you.
Digging for weakness
Gripping fear
On your part.
The accusers
Count greatly on your
Capitulation, cooperation,
Collaboration and implication
Of nearest & dearest.
And you choose again to

Stay silent.

Taciturn rebel
Charged with contempt
By a jury of no peers.
You feel nothing
For the court
But contempt.
As your punishment,
Buried alive
In grey concrete,
Reinforced steel,
Digital locks, alone.
Even this
Won't loosen your lips
Make you
Breathe a word
Whole sentences and
Destroy a community.
To do so would
Help out the witchfinders.
We know how that shit worked for
Early Massachusetts
Puritan culture.

There'll be no
Drownings or hangings.
Not on your watch.
Keep those lips sealed.
You saw nothing.
You heard nothing.
You breathe nothing.
The quiet can be powerful.
Stay silent.
W: 10.16.12

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

new poem by brigade member John Curl

an exploitation of human labor business
a looking out for number one business
a make your pile and get out business
a boss order abomination business
a whatever the market will bear business
a cheat lie steal business
a do what you're told or else business
a degradation inflation depression toxic wastes business
a hemorrhoids beat your best friend business
a draft plutonium gangster business
an atomic dust imperial world war three business
a business as usual business
where is the honesty of penguins?
where is the justice of sunrise?
must free people be prepared to sleep as well
in garages, under bushes or in dreams?
even at this moment the boardmembers meet
in the condemned sewer to divide our livers
into exacting shares, sealing the fate
of munition profits on
our ability to have children
a rapture stars tumble along your spine business
a fields of orange poppies spread their knees to the mountains of your eyes business
a mass demonstration rubbed with alchemical smoke business
a conch shells withdrawing energy from stuffed ballot boxes business
a lifting the consecrated picket line to the east business
a boycott all businesses business
a submachineguns melt in cops screaming hands business
a collectivizing your boss' business business
an abolishing business
a taking care of business

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New poem by jimmy.mankind

 the beach the sea

The old man strewn prone upon a green blanket when we arrived.   I’d say 11, she 11:30.
She, Marie, a meticulous clock, a camera, voice recorder meme artist supreme, was correct.
The sun-baker began making for us croissants of our bodies.
Avoiding a death wish, small scale, pain at least: at 12 we oiled each other.  At 12:15 the old man rose and waddled w/ gritty determination  was it determinism?
into the older, colder sea
I casually observed at 1st a brave ol’ soul. 
Then a start, while he drove himself relentlessly into the oncoming waves as if he was wading to Japan.   You can walk out here a quarter mile before you have to jump for air.
A refrigerator, probably from Fukushima, glided by him inbound.  It stuck, sunk dumbly into the sand, tired-as-work from the battering trip
(excessive  agitation for a fridge).
It wormed into the sand and began to wriggle into its new continent with each thrusting undulation of its odd friends: the currents, tides, and myriad procrastinations of the sea.
The old man shrank to a mere head-bulb   bobbing alone past the easy shore-breakers.   He was approaching the big ones out past the flats before the solitary floating surfers.   He was their guest now.
You gasped.
“Get him!”  You said firmly.
I grimaced. 
I did not want to tell you this in your innocence:  “Darling.  There are 3 types of people, besides the one type you are.  There are the losers, the winners, and their thugs.   Which is he?”
You hit me.
“Save him!” you commanded.
I remember looking at you as at a goddess, #8886 of the Upper 10,000.  
Prosperity.   Luck.
I rose and started out to sea.
I could barely see him plowing ahead--away--from the swells which rose up like whales beneath my icy belly.
OK.  I’d told you.
But i was not.
i wanted to be with you forever…so bad i left you for Japan.
So bad i left You for japan.


This is the poem I would have read to you so many times before the times when I was hurt and could not think of it within my pain, which was busily teaching me another poem a song of longing to be whole and free/i think now. 
i forget more now.  marie
i know i am too tired to reach japan.
i cannot even see the old man’s head any more.
This is my attempt—a dream of mine as i go now--out to sea as you suggested—to write the very best poem I ever could--so heavy yet so light upon the wings of a swimmer--ever written…as time floats perfectly…
To give to you.
i realize now, how, i barely, if ever did, faintly, know you…
the cold old man,  his green blanket.
the beach.
the sea.

This is the best day of my life.