Monday, October 5, 2015

Charles Rammelkamp


I'd graduated from the university in May,
a degree in English,
and here it was October
and I was still delivering pizzas.

"Well, at least she's not
going to marry him,"
I overheard Katie's mom
saying to her husband
when their daughter moved in with me,
just three weeks ago.

At least I drove my own VW
and didn't wear a silly uniform
like my co-workers back
in that greasy pizzeria,
even if I had to pay for my own gas.

The cops stopped me
when I was driving up to the dorm
to deliver a pepperoni pizza and mozzarella sticks
a group of coeds'd ordered.

The whole area was in lockdown.
"Some kid jumped off the tenth floor,"
the one with the stripes on his shoulders told me.
"Apparently he got a bad grade on a Chemistry exam,
said his parents would kill him."

Charles reads "Failure":

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Charles confesses: "I've had several friends who spent time in limbo delivering pizzas after they'd graduated from college. They always seemed to feel as if they'd lost their way, been cheated somehow, the butt of some cosmic joke. What was that education for, anyway? In America, failure seems to dog all of us: surely at the root of many suicides. There’s no success like failure, Bob Dylan famously sang."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP's most recent book is Mata Hari: Eye of the Day, published by Apprentice House. He edits The Potomac, an online literary journal and is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kenneth Pobo


I watch her car pull out.
It surprises me that I'm breaking
in to my neighbor Meg's house,
slipping in through a bedroom
window she left open.

I don't know what to take,
leave her bank book
on her desk. She has constantly
called me names: faggot,
cocksucker, slimy ass.

My mom would say
follow Jesus and turn
the other cheek—
I shouldn't complain—after all,
Meg hasn't crucified me.

Or has she?
Words nails dig in deep,
her voice the hammer.

I stash her wedding picture,
Meg and her dead husband Bob,
under my arm,
crawl out. Later,
I see cops talking with her.

I prop the picture
against a pillow
so Bob, Meg, and I
can watch Joan Crawford
in Sudden Fear.

Ken reads "Sudden Fear":

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Ken confesses: "'Sudden Fear' is a 'what if' poem. I imagine myself (or a self like my own) doing something that I would never do. I remember the insults growing up and wishing I could find a way to make them stop—and get back at those who said them. Sudden Fear is one of my favorite Crawford films. Joan, who plays a dramatist, marries a guy who turns out to be a vicious creep. She has to use great skill to thwart him."

KENNETH POBO has a new book forthcoming from Blue Light Press called Bend Of Quiet. His work has appeared in Indiana Review, Mudfish, Nimrod, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Robert Cooperman


You're rich enough to pay
to blast a lion, rhino, or elephant?
Great, but let’s make it
a fair fight, true sport.

You're hunting a lion?
You get claws and prosthetic fangs,
then have at the beast:
best man, or animal, wins.

You want to bag a rhino—
who cares if there's maybe
a couple hundred left;
God gave rich Americans
dominion over the earth,
look it up in the Bible—
so you bulk up on 'roids,
your body's plated with leather,
your forehead’s adorned
with a horn big as your adversary's.
Then charge, my man, charge.

Trickier if you lust for
an elephant's head and tusks
on the wall of your billiards room,
but we can work it so the odds
are more or less even, not
a megalomaniac with a gun
that could take out
the German defenses
at Omaha Beach.

So this time, maybe
it'll be a hunter's head
nailed to a thorn-tree.

Gerald So reads "Trophy Hunting":

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Cooperman confesses: "This poem grew out of the slaughter of Cecil the Lion by an American dentist. Even as a kid I knew trophy hunting, Ernest Hemingway included, was a sin against nature and life. And to call it sport is an abomination of logic: where's the sport in stalking an animal that has no idea it's about to be a high-powered rifle-shot mounted head on some scum-sucking pig's wall?"

ROBERT COOPERMAN's latest collection is Just Drive (Brick Road Poetry Press). In The Colorado Gold Fever Mountains (Western Reflections Books) won the Colorado Book Award for Poetry.