Thursday, May 31, 2012

new poem by brigade member John Curl

American Make-Believe

Lips meet passionate lips
in the nuanced shadows
gorgeous bodies intertwined
ecstatic dance joyful tears
soulful communion
forever whispering
infinite vows devoted depths.

Flip on the lights
giant screen torn and ragged
musty stale popcorn
rancid imitation butter
rows of empty seats
spilled soda
garbage all over the floor
smells like piss.
American make-believe.

Grammas dry their tears
with candidates promises
scribbled on shredded ballots,
nominees all promising
home love integrity prosperity
bouquets of imaginary hot jobs
blueberry syrup avatars
on every cyber maple pancake
belief in change and bereavement,
a young couple on a first date
pulled over by officers
in front of the high-tech playground
for reasons unstated in the report,
find their fashion-statement purse
and plastic leather wallet confiscated
photoshopped evidence
planted in every pocket
their late-model legoland SUV hijacked
every secret digital code of decency
systematically violated
orifices stuffed with sweaty junk
and auctioned to the highest bidder
while the duly-elected mayor
restoring public order
describes the peaceful demonstration
as an organized conspiracy
of arson and looting,
but it’s only American make-believe.

In the wake of three weeks of
indiscriminate bombardment
and revenge killings
leaving the remnants of
the once-stately city
in control of stylish pimps
drugged lieutenants
spitting strawbosses
TV detectives
psychotic anchormen
corrupted weathergirls flush
with sunny gusts in the 10-day forecast
while vomit gas permeates
all the side streets
thousands wounded, unknown dead
removing children's souls
stealing fingers for souvenirs
the masked soldiers
open fire on the hospital,
the crowd scatters, hundreds trampled
she watches her friend’s leg blown off,
they stand for hours in the freezing rain
to exercise their sacred right to vote,
but just kidding,
it’s only American make-believe.

by John Curl

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A new poem by brigade member Mahnaz Badihian

Red as Poems of Jack Hirschman in SF

Tell me David* what should I write  
For this last poem before the finish line of my MFA
What should I write so you do not step on its tail?
To do surgery on its limbs or even pull its teeth
Or even give it to Dorianne** to kill it!
In that case there are not many more new subjects
I just have to repeat myself on the subject of
Love, sex, food, lovers, loneliness, exile and Recycled Woman
But I am astounded by the vast number of things we can write about
Like the thirsty flowers in our backyard that no one waters
Or about my little dogs dead mother!
See we can scream in style but we will spell the wrong words again
I may learn the art of poetry, but I have still to learn
The language of poetry that speaks of humanity

We have written so many poems in our life
But maybe not enough about hunger and people who witness
The death of their loved ones due to the lack of food, water and medicine
We have not written enough about the big thieves, the heads of governments
Let my last poem be about more urgent issues than my sexuality
Depicting the unheard voice of people in the world who die everyday
In every land by tyrants and wars

I ask myself sometimes this one big question;
What is the use of our poems if it cannot feed one hungry mouth?
What is the use if our poems are not as red as poems of Jack Hirschman in SF
And we are only trying to pull those nonsense lines from the genitalia of white pages
What is the use if we do not understand other people’s pain in this world and
Our poems only sleep between the pampered pages of North American magazines
You are so quiet and mysterious David that one cannot pass
The dark shades of your glasses to get the clear answer and see your poetic thoughts

I can climb on the vastness of each page repeatedly
 Hoping it will take me to the high tower of poetry
 But only then we can see the difficulty one may have to get close to harmony

Let’s get out of our tight, lonely houses and reach out to the poetry of the people.

* David St.John, Poet
** Dorianne Laux, Poet

Mahnaz Badihian 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

new poem by brigade member John Curl


all who have ever heard the message of the crickets

we call on you

all who have ever felt the wind splashing cleanly in your face

we call on you

all who have ever loved someone of another race

we call on you

all who are, or are descendants of

wageslaves serfs slaves prisoners debtors tenants housewives foreigners

we call on you

all who believe in the inalienable human right of the oppressed to throw off their oppressions and oppressors

we call on you

the night of the shame beyond madness is upon us

the despisers of sunrise

musicians of the ghastly dance

sorcerers grislier than hollywood movies

the night of those whose unquenchable destruction gushes from rivers of self-hate

whose murderous passions warp from the slaughtered children inside themselves

Even as these innocents are cowardly murdered one by one on city streets,

their elder brothers' deaths thousands by thousands on far off colonial shores

are being brazenly plotted in conference rooms,

their families' destruction millions by millions in wageslave pauperdom

is being flauntingly conspired

in those same plush chairs

We call down the spirit of Harriet Tubman and Angelina Grimke

the voice of Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison

the wrath of Nat Turner and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

the heart of Sojourner Truth and Martin Irons

the strength of Thomas Paine and W.E.B. DeBois

the balance of Martin Luther King and Mother Jones

race war . . imperialist war . . . class war . . .

what's it all for . . ?

all who have ever heard the message of the crickets

we call on you

listen to the evidence

all who have ever felt the wind splashing cleanly in your face

we call on you

pass sentence

all who have ever wept at the mercy of spring

we call on you

stand with folded arms as a surrounding wall and carry out the sentence

for the innocents.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

new poem by brigade member A. Nora Claypoole

This poem is from the new poetry collection  
embroidered maps, de los muertos
by a. nora claypoole

a wave was in her*
by a. nora claypoole

for Louise Bryant  and her daughter Anne Moen Bullitt

swept away. a diva by her dad
under the aged bristles of gossip
their was no talk of a mother
there was no talk of her art
there was a quote in the daily news
about father is and god and freud applauded.

forgotten.  the preface
mother is my friend.
mother is a balloon
mother has bird’s nests in her belly
buttoned silent.  buttoned to rittenhouse square
her legacy of banishment was having a daughter
and loving a woman.  the paradox perplexes
the paradox exists
the paradox resists
the mother was a balloon
the mother was owned
by a man, with stolen rings
the mother wrote. her chimes
as  requiem to masses
bolshevik revivals an elixir to his kiss
collected countries in the hem of her dress
a poem was written. 

go to hell

he asked for an epitaph and she laughed
a wave was in her then
it drowned the sins she hoped her daughter
would rename
her daughter
had her name and died inside her
god. as a friend to none
of the little sisters
 of saint veronica
of the assumption
was, she never loved
little sisters,  of mercy
shaved, veiled, chaste
thank her with a statue
 found broken in a box

out west. her first paper.
 writing  about the klamath
modoc indians.  captain jack
her ikon.  hung by whites,
 scalped.  by her own people.
a wave was in her.

not even fathers of the chiefs could save her
legacy is a refrain erased from music sheets
still shuffled on a piano sent East all the way from oregon.

today there is music in the village

* from “My Epitaph” by Louise Bryant