Poetry July 2011


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by Jen Frankel

I don’t bring home strays
I said to the baby bird
On its side on the sidewalk
I know life and
I know death and
Their delicate, remorseless interplay
I know it may be more cruel
To pluck a stray from the street
Than to allow life and
Death to have their way

I don’t bring home strays
I said to the man
The look in his eyes not
Too unlike that of the baby bird
I know love and
I know emptiness and
Their siren-urgent sway
The cost to use the semblance of one
To fill the other
I have heard
Every reason in the book
For you to stay –
And so I repeat
I don’t take home strays

Let death have its way
Let love last a day
‘Til emptiness returns to play
But life, sweet life

Is not afraid


Dwelling in the Tents of the Wicked
by Barbara Purbaugh

I like the way curse words slither across my forked tongue

and strike out of my mouth with venomous fire.

I like all the rotten, festering, twisted thoughts living in my dirty mind.


You think I’m Lilith rejecting Adam and defying God.

You think I’m Eve taking a bite out of the apple and a bite out of Adam.

You think I’m Satan, slimy and cold, wrapped around a sinner’s tree.


But, the truth is…

I’m not nearly as wicked as you need me to be.


Close your eyes against my immoral stare.

See no evil

Cover your ears against my wanton words.

Hear no evil

Shield your untouched, pure-white heart against my corrupting ideas.

Speak no evil.


Truth is…

I’m not seeking salvation, and you spend a lot of time trying to save me.


You click your tongue and wag your finger in judgment of me.

It makes you feel so good about your untainted soul.

It makes you feel so damn holy

So damn righteous

So damn clean.


But I think you like the way I look at you.

I think you like my black heart, my sinner’s body, my corrupt mind.

You want my kind of freedom,

my kind of fire.


You like to think I’m coming for you

To infect you

To corrupt you

To mold you into me.


Truth is…

I’m not really thinking of you, and you spend a lot of time thinking of me.


A Postcard from Somewhere Else
by Louise Andrade

just a sigh of relief
without any unnecessary
marks of exclamation
foot or fingerprints

cherry tobacco fag
on a bench
in front of the national museum
pink girl on a pink bike
rides up and down the path
between two rows of oaks
pigalle square is just one block away
so deserted
at this time of day
the opening hours are all vague
and I’m dressed in black
just for the sake of being fake

I hope you’re enjoying the sights,
sighs of the big big city
homeless kids beggin’ for change
and I’m beggin’ for the change
although it may seem I’m just sitting there
on a park bench


Proud Bweni
by Walter Ruhlmann

Draped in your saluva
you stand on the sidewalk
you wait for a taxi
that may not even stop.

Yet you stand on this road
with your laundry on your head
and your child in one hand
a bag full of manioc
in the other
and tired
you stand and stare
at the lagoon
or the land
on the other side –
maybe you stare at the tide.

Where is your husband?
Do you only have one?
Where is the father of this child?
Does he even have one?
Have you been on an errand?
Have you sweated enough now?
I know
you stare not to cry.
I know
you can never smile
and you look so proud –
you look so proud,
when you stare up like that,
when you stare at the sky.

bweni means woman in Shimaore