Archive for January, 2021

Sunday, 31 January 2021

My Mother in the Night by Jane Medved

Is burning everything
near her, everything
must come near her
gravity, dust
from six dimensions
she has disconnected
from earth, and is not responsible
for me.

She is shrinking
but too hard to lift.
The bed works like a daughter,
flat, upright, flat.
She is tied tight. She might slip
off the edge of the ship.

There is only one sun,
but many currents, electricity
and the dark, which is solid
as its own planet,
diluted by rivers of sound.

She has a plastic tube,
oxygen, food, umbilical,
all the supplies she needs
for the voyage, but she cannot
move, and I cannot move,
and we are all waiting.


Date: 2020

By: Jane Medved (19??- )

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Little Clown, My Heart by Sandra Cisneros

Little clown, my heart,
Spangled again and lopsided,
Handstands and Peking pirouettes,
Backflips snapping open like
A carpenter’s hinged ruler,

Little gimp-footed hurray,
Paper parasol of pleasures,
Fleshy undertongue of sorrows,
Sweet potato plant of my addictions,

Acapulco cliff-diver corazón,
Fine as an obsidian dagger,
Alley-oop and here we go
Into the froth, my life,
Into the flames!

From: Cisneros, Sandra, Loose Woman: Poems, 1994, Vintage: New York, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 1994

By: Sandra Cisneros (1954- )

Friday, 29 January 2021

What Schools Don’t Teach Black Boys in America Today by John Warner Smith

After Langston Hughes & Sterling Brown

I’ve known rivers long enough to know:

not enough black boys
take their marks at the start line,
perch on a high wire
overlooking the world,
their wings spread wide,
ready to soar toward the sun,

not enough take the stage,
except to sing, dance, rap rhymes,
or mime to songs wearing white-painted faces.

Maybe they’d rather watch and listen
than read Douglass, Baldwin, and King,
or cruise, chill, shoot hoops, and wander a mall
than stand unpainted,
reciting Langston, Terrance,
Danez, and Jericho.

It shouldn’t matter that white boys,
whom the world expects to win,
can wear the black mask,
like auditioning for a Broadway show___
morning-bird voice, thick-lipped,
bulging tight pants and all,
with a little James Brown swagger
stepping toward the stage.

Maybe too many black boys in America today
know too much
of shallow streams and dry, desert sands,

don’t hear the bell
their silence rings
of untold pain
that keeps a boy inside a man,

and don’t hear words
of strong black men
who’ve known ancient, dusky rivers,

men who curse love
for not loving back,

who stumble,
fall, or get knocked down,

but get up,
speak truth out loud,

and make a way out of no way
with nothing but a tom-tom
crying, laughing, and singing in their hearts.


Date: 2021

By: John Warner Smith (1952- )

Thursday, 28 January 2021

There’s a Bomb on this Train of Thought by Cameron Fuller

Loaded with raw materials: colons, commas,
fragments of broken grammar. This poem
is wired with faulty rhetoric and ideas
strapped to the author’s chest.
Sensitive to sudden movement,
it won’t reach the final station
and its metaphors won’t survive
the ride to their logical conclusions.
It is not afraid to shout
or exclaim emotions are explosive!
But it stays silent, containing
its secret until the end.
It believes poetry is full of risk
and targets innocent readers.
It spurns the ease of paraphrase
and the violence of bullet points.
But it can’t afford the precision
of laser guided imagery. All it has
is the shrapnel of language,
the lingua franca of blood
connecting the heart and brain.
This poem is a dirty bomb.
It is designed to detonate
when your eyes reach the final word.


Date: 2010

By: Cameron Fuller (19??- )

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Many Happy Returns: 26/1/1938 by Tim Thorne

A carriage-load of Kooris* was brought in
from the reserve at Menindee.
They were taken straight from the train and locked
in the Redfern police barracks stable,
guarded by dogs until the 26th.

Then they emerged, ready to play their part.
Wearing leaves, they were chased along the beach
by people dressed as British soldiers,
carrying bayonets. The organisers, it seemed,
hadn’t needed to bring these people in specially
nor lock and guard them like a surprise gift.

Amateur historical and theatrical
society members just love
that sort of thing. Party games and dressing up
are marks of a civilised culture:
playhouse or drawing room, parliament or church.

After sharing a float in the parade
like jolly good fellows, the Kooris were sent back
next day to their tin sheds by the Darling.

*Kooris are one of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.


Date: 2004

By: Tim Thorne (1944- )

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Australia First by Edwin James Brady

She holds no urnéd dust in fee. She claims no classic age;
Her Past is volumed not in stone, nor scribed on parchment page;
No feudal fortress fronts her peace; nor, through her written years
Hath flag of friend or foeman waved along her blue frontiers.

From Neolithic sleep she woke. The dove of Better Things
Behind the bars of Tyranny already beat its wings;
The youngest Daughter of the Earth, red tides of Time had swept
Her sister continents with War and Conquest while she slept.

The sum of Human Thought was hers; the harvest of the Past
Was ready garnered to her hand and left her free, at last,
To mill the golden grain of Good and cast the husks away —
Rich dowered by the centuries, so fell her natal day.

She knows no High Achievement yet; but in a Vision grand
The True Australian sometimes dreams his future Motherland:
Untrammelled by ancestral gyves; from ancient usage free,
Her sword of patriotic steel, her shield — Democracy;

He sees her proud, reliant head uplifted to the skies,
With Freedom’s star-flash on her hair; and, burning in her eyes,
The fire that great Mazzini fed, the fire that Lincoln nursed,
And in his secret heart is writ, all times — “Australia First.”

What claims on us have older lands? Beyond our sunlit seas
They hide their rags ’neath royal silk — tired hags with histories.
Their ancient courtyards reek with filth, their walls are splashed with crime;
They wait, in arméd dread, the Sword of All-Avenging Time.

The high lord, in his motor car, along their ways goes by;
Where serfs and peasants from the fields look up with sullen eye;
The yoke is fastened to the neck, the shackles to the shin,
Nor shall these helots e’er escape the slough they travail in.

They hunger ’mid the granaries; they thirst beside the streams.
Content and Plenty sound to them as echo words in dreams;
And they must tread Rebellion’s road, to gain their high desire,
Through bloody streets and scaffolds lit by Revolution’s fire.

But here a kinder Custom holds; from Broome to Tasman snow
She opes her gates of bounty wide, the great, Free Land we know;
Nor in her trodden ways of Man shall children crave or thirst,
Nor women hunger while we keep Australia best — and first.

She shines among the lands of Earth with glories of her own;
Her robes are rich with radiant gems; with pearls her neck is strown;
Rare fabrics drape her throne-room high; and native wealth untold
She holdeth in her treasuries, of wine, and wheat and gold.

The planter of a tropic North from deep palm shadow views
A carpet Oriental spread in vivid greens and blues;
A sun of gold upon a field of azure velvet laid —
When Morning walks, in robes of rose, the Capricornian glade.

The Miner from his hut of bark looks out on hills of snow
That billow to the border-line away from Omeo;
Dark gullies walled by mountains steep, and Gippsland gorges grim,
Where forest shadows lie at noon, the Picture make for him.

The Rider on the great grey plains that answer to the quest
Of restless hearts that roving seek their fortunes further west;
The stockman and the teamster tall; the hunter and the tramp,
The farmer, shearer, tradesman, clerk; the men of town and camp.

One kind Australian mother fills the measure of their needs;
She clothes them as her climates call, and well the hunger feeds,
And shall they not, in gratitude, predict the years to be;
Their Nation of the South proclaim, and her high destiny?

And have I not an equal right to sing this Land of Mine
With him who rolls in trumpet tones his mighty “Watch on Rhine”?
With him who hymns in any tongue his country’s pride and praise —
“God Save the Kaiser,” Czar, or King, or Gallic “Marseillaise”?

Green, Irish fields my people trod, and thine the English leas;
Our comrades sprang from Teuton stock, or Greek, or Genoese —
I care not whence our people came; but this all times I care:
The land that gives us birth and bread is ours — Australia fair.

Her destiny is ours to shape, her lands are ours to hold;
The plastic clay of nationhood is here to shape and mould;
And ’spite of toadies, Tory-bred, or foreigners, or fools,
I’d write “Australia” on the walls, and teach it in the schools!

The upward beams shall not be carved, nor shall one stone be set,
In that great Edifice-to-Be, the House-That-Is-Not-Yet,
Till in the circle of her shores, throughout the land is sown,
The greater hope that bids us dare to stand or fall, alone;

Serene, secure, and self-contained, a nation in her pride,
Indiff’rent to the quarrels old that shake the world outside;
For this Ideal should we strive, for this our souls should thirst —
That forty million freemen yet may hold Australia first!


Date: 1910

By: Edwin James Brady (1869-1952)

Monday, 25 January 2021

Pocket Dialing Through Air Raids by Thira Mohamad

slow evening / carpet bombing / dust
mite colonies scatter / mud bodies below

head on tails / on tales of aladdin
thief of fate / no djinns & magic lamp

one flying carpet overturned / soil shake
kosher salt / peppering souks / special soup

seasoning / orphan blood & jasmine tears
telephone wires / partition & pillage calling

lost lovers / wrong numbers
butt dial / ass cheeks spread

like rye bread / whole wheat
burnt fields / lamb to the slaughter

for dinner later / rib shank & breast
no different from the rest / compiled collateral

pile / unsent messages & power trip / error
screen not loading / image censored

pixel grain / habibi of no name face
by the byline / vanishing without a trace.


Date: 2015

By: Thira Mohamad (19??- )

Sunday, 24 January 2021

One Step Beyond Weariness by Drew Nacht

Gotta get me some new kind of shoes
to walk on all these thorns surrounding me—
how far can a fella get in a pair of rubber soled shoes?
The damn spikes will puncture my feet and down I will go.
Then again,
my hands are filled with the blood
gushing from THE puncture holes all over my body.
So why should my feet be any different?
It’s gray blood I am leaking,
disappointment blood,
betrayal blood,
and I can’t imagine the promised land anymore in my mind’s eye.
So let the darkness come,
life has let my consciousness down for the last time-
my heart can’t read the future any more than the next man
but residue from the last bullet in my gun has already landed.
I don’t envy the young and I don’t despise the old,
it’s just time is all.
It’s time for time to push me into the abyss.
My arms are open but don’t mistake that for eagerness-
It’s just in anticipation of that one step beyond weariness


Date: 2021

By: Drew Nacht (19??- )

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Backwards by Grace Nask

People say time is a circle or line, but really, it’s a
Ray. It has one point fixed ages ago, and the rest shoots out like a line,
Moving forward and forward for all of eternity. Of course, we’re
Nothing more than a line segment, with a specific
Stop and start within. I know all this, but somedays I
Wish time could be a loop and fall back on itself.
Think about it.
The tear dries from the cracked sidewalk.
The moisture leaves the ground back
Onto my face. The wetness absorbs back into my
Eye. My head lifts. And I walk, slowly, slowly,
Backwards and away.


Date: 2020

By: Grace Nask (19??- )

Friday, 22 January 2021

Fears and Feelings by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

There are certain weekends and holidays
when I feel myself somewhat insecure.
I worry if walking ghosts have not occupied
the void of empty streets and closed doors,
looking at me as an intruder or suspicious
on their ways.
I miss hearing the sound of hammers and
hoes, the strident come and go of saw blades,
the brushing of pens on paper or keyboards
being typed throwing feelings to the world.
I love the imprecations of painters and artists
when they can’t find the pure art they look for.
I love children screaming through the sidewalk,
running endless races only they are capable of.
I love the noise of people on streets and alleys,
corners and places,
moving to destinies only they are aware of,
hard struggling to make their lives a story.
I love hearing someone making something,
even if it is the buzzing of bees.


Date: 2018

By: Edilson Afonso Ferreira (1944- )