Poetry

Poetry

  • Andrew’s Alley – Krista Schwimmer
  • In Rhyme – L.E. Mintz
  • What must be said – Günter Grass
  • What We All Must Say –  Jim Smith
  • But Don’t See Me – Ronald K. Mc Kinley
  •  Our Lady – Mary Getlein
  • Under the Sole – Hal Bogotch
 
——————————————-
 
Andrew’s Alley
i think of the alley
across from where i live
linking Horizon & Market
as Andrew’s alley.
He use to walk that way
coming & going to the post office
to mail packages of the goods
he sold on ebay to pay his rent.
Sometimes, his hair was long – 
sometimes, short.
Sometimes, it was morning –
sometimes, late afternoon.
i like to walk that alley
myself. i never know what
i might find there: hummingbirds
drawn to the bougainvillea, clicking & chasing
at one another; the wild parrots of Venice gossiping
in the nearby apricot tree. Once, a woman with long, gray hair
stopped me and said, “Here, take this.” She handed me
a fairy sized flower pot with a single quartz crystal inside.
 
i can see clearly the beginning
of this alley from my porch.
i like to imagine Andrew once more
his back turned to me, 
so that i cannot possibly see his final expression –
only his wry body, his thick, dark hair
swaying slightly, sandwiched between
trees & birds, dissolving at last
a young Osiris
descending into the world below.
 
–krista schwimmer
 ————
 
In Rhyme 
By L.E. Mintz
I started to pray to find my connection, change direction,
be the next selection for a place in heaven
before the man with a business plan
bought up that property high in the sky for a very low rate
then hung a neon sign on the pearly gate saying better not trespass
or we’ll burn your skinny white ass
Interpreted in tongues by a fat cat who sat in the back
of a black Cadillac with a trunk full of puns
if you think that’s outta’ whack Jack listen to this
Leonardo Da Vinci an artist of might who painted by numbers but never at night
spoke of infinity with such serenity 
while he carved a statue of the mother Mary
in the perfect image of a naked canary
Chewing on half eaten bread
He spit out songs by the Grateful Dead
Then he recited Dante’s Inferno word for word with a bit of humility
But it seemed like vanity to those in the know
Now Leonardo Di Caprio was another story
Had its own sense of personal glory.
He sank on the Titanic, but his box office was gigantic.
Female groupies roamed from town to town to tell of his tales
while the critics hammered him home with rusty nails
They gathered around him like Jesus Christ
turned his blood to wine then to ice
Meantime Salvatore Dali painted a mirage in Death Valley
as Albert Einstein made love to  Long Tall Sally
in a poorly lit bowing alley then they met up at union rally 
Al took a political stance Sal took off his pants
Together they danced outside a hall near the great Chinese wall
where the ladies in pink played with a single blind eyeball.
Without warning Einstein clutched his mc squared climbed atop a parking meter
screamed  “I want to be Rita the parking maid feeder”
Since he couldn’t be her or even see her
he rode toward the sun with his atomic onion
sounding like a character ripped from a story by Damon Runyon
————–
 

Nobel Prize winner and Germany’s most famous writer, Günter Grass, has been in the middle of a fire storm of criticism and praise for the past month for writing the following poem. What Must Be Said has become one of the most controversial poems since Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Amiri Baraka’s Who Blew Up America. Yet, for all the media coverage of the controversy, the poem itself has not been presented to the American public. To the best of our knowledge, the Beachhead is the first newspaper to print it in its entirety, as follows:

What must be said

By Günter Grass

Why have I been silent, silent for so long?

Our generals have gamed it out,

Confident the west will survive.

We people have not even been considered.

What is this right to “preventive war”?
A war that could erase the Iranian people.
Dominated by its neighbor, pulsing with righteousness
Smug in the fact that it is they, not Iran,
Who have the Bomb.

Why have I so far avoided to identify Israel by its name?
Israel and its ever increasing nuclear arsenal,
Beyond reproach, Uncontrolled, uninspected.

We all know these things
Yet we all remain silent, fearful of being labeled:
anti-Semitic
hateful
worse

Considering Germany’s past these labels stick
So we call it “business,” “reparation” take your pick,
As we deliver yet another submarine.
As we provide to Israel the means to deliver annihilation.
I say what must be said.

Why did I stay silent until now?
Because I’m German, of course.
I’m tainted by a stain I cannot wash out
I’m silent because I want so badly to make it right
To put my sins in the past and leave them silently there.

Why did I wait to say it until now?
And write these words with the last of my ink?
Declaring that Israel threatens world peace?
Because it is true and it must be said,
Tomorrow will be too late.

We Germans now carry a new burden of sin on our shoulders
Through the weapons we have sold
We are helping to carry out this foreseeable tragedy
No excuse will remove our stain of complicity.

It must be said. I won’t be silent
I’ve had enough of the hypocrisy;
Please shed the silence with me,
The consequences are all too predictable.
It’s time to demand free and permanent control
of BOTH Israel’s nuclear arsenal
AND Iran’s nuclear facilities
enforced with international supervision.

It’s the only way, in a land convulsed with insanity,
Israelis, Palestinians, everybody, will survive.
And we too, will survive.

————–

What We All Must Say
By Jim Smith
 
Why have we all kept silent
while the sun was setting 
and the darkness rising?
 
Why have we kept silent
while the homeless are abandoned
outside the mansions of the rich?
 
Why have we kept silent
while the American bully bombs,
dictates and subverts little nations?
 
Why have we kept silent
while our criminal justice system
becomes the criminal?
 
Why have we kept silent
while Native Americans
suffer in their own land?
 
Why have we kept silent
while the Palestinians
became the new Native Americans?
 
Why have we kept silent
while our country commits
war crimes in Afghanistan
 
And plots with Israel
to make a sneak attack 
on Iran
 
Why haven’t we risen up
in the millions
against the blight of Wall Street?
 
Why do we not fight
the corporate pillage
of our Earth?
 
Do we secretly long
for species death,
for a suicidal/genocidal peace?
 
And why did it take the poem 
of an 84-year-old named Günter Grass
to at long last loosen our pens and tongues?
————
 
But Don’t See Me
By Ronald K. Mc Kinley
You look
But don’t see me
My pain is animate
The potency increased
With age and unused love
You question my rights
But don’t see me
My hunger all too real
The food will be thrown away
With restrictions and malice
You call me names
But don’t see me
My body changed and morphed
The skill of your hate
With heavy handed scorn
You wall off the earth
But don’t see me
My cells the same as yours
The light gone from your being
With guns and laws to keep me low
You will look to me one day
But will not be seen
My vision will be redirected
The fragrance of goodness held
With transcendence the reward
———–
 
Our Lady
Our lady of the deep blue sea
Don’t forsake us, don’t forget us
Us midnight travelers of your depths
New day, new depths
new ocean:
Huge waves crest the top of the breakwater
you can walk right next to it
taking a chance – 
A huge wave hurls over the rocks
and onto you – 
you’re drenched, but happy 
you feel more alive than you ever felt before.
transcendental beauty of the world
beauty of the world
what does that mean?
The way nature looks when you stay out of its way
the best thing you can do for nature is
leave it alone
That’s what conservationists say:
leave it alone
and it will repair
it will send out new sprouts of life
life is always repairing the warp
that humans have destroyed
the warp and weave of life
the threads in a straight line
or else you can’t weave
all the threads have to be going in one direction
if all the threads were messed up you couldn’t weave
So – 
if we are all pulled in all directions
what can we possibly achieve?
we have to get all our threads going to the same place
LOVE
which is hard to do
when confronted by gestapo tactics.
LOVE always trumps HATE.
– Mary Getlein
————
 
Under the Sole
The 99% have captured 
the world’s imagination
yet it is the 1% who are deprived
their hearts cut off from human warmth 
and affection
their obsessive grasping of evermore wealth 
a vain attempt
to fill an abyss of a chasm of lonely emptiness
contrast that with the unalloyed joy of sharing 
chest to chest and mouth to mouth
in a flow of reciprocal lovingkindness
pity the self-crowned island kings
and industrialist Capitans
engraved on hollow Rushmores of terminal greed
ever hypervigilant, lest a slim sliver of gold 
or a slight platinum disc
slip from their tight, tenuous grips
oh, great glorious 99, I admire your expanse 
of wondrous terra-turf, under the sole
of the playful soul’s playground
how couldst one envy the gilded 1 percenters 
their chest cavities filled with the black-red dust 
of shriveled, ancient, desiccated gladness?
‘twould be madness.
–Hal Bogotch
 
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