Monday, June 29, 2015

Dennis Weiser


Though I will honor them,
I will not celebrate our troops, their deeds,
and the deaths of all those children, women,
men senselessly slaughtered
for the sake of your blind vengeance
and your greed in thrall to harpy
hypocrites, malignant mavens,
and senile sycophantic slaves
of "progress" and "prosperity".
The wealth of nations does not exist
in gross domestic products,
in armies and weapons or
the terror your very name inspires,
but in the love and solidarity it shows
with its children, elders, homeless,
hungry, despairing, poor and destitute,
the damaged and disabled ones
caught in the cogs of your machine,
beaten and broken for your dream.

Gerald So reads "Elegy for a Lost War":

Dennis confesses: "'Elegy for a Lost War' was inspired by the abandonment and betrayal of our young military men and women by these insidious catastrophic wars, waged in the name of the American people but serving only predatory corporate interests. It's enough to make me reach for my WMD."

DENNIS WEISER earned his Liberal Arts B.A. at Westminster College of Missouri and his Master of Arts in Philosophy at The University of Kansas. He is a former weekly columnist for The Kansas City Business Journal and book reviewer at NPR affiliate KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Missouri. Volume 3 of Sinister Dynamic, The Challenge: Redefining Work, Equality and Authority will appear in June as the summer release at 3RD AWAKENING BOOKS. A member of the Academy of American Poets, Dennis is currently writing Emmisary, a sci-fi novella that cannot be made into a movie.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Spotlight On: Ross Gay

I received a postcard from the Academy of American Poets yesterday advertising two readings at the New York Public Library. Looking into the featured poets, I found a poem by Ross Gay that fits The Five-Two's sensibilities, "For Some Slight I Can't Quite Recall".

Ross Gay will be launching his latest collection, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Friday, July 10 at Cave Canem (20 Jay Street #310-A, Brooklyn, NY 11201).

The New York Public Library reading with Meena Alexander, Ross Gay, and January Gill O'Neil is Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00 P.M.

Ross Gay was born on August 1, 1974 in Youngstown, Ohio. He received a BA in English/Art from Lafayette College, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in English from Temple University.

He is the author of three collections of poetry: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), and Against Which (Cavankerry Press, 2006).

He currently teaches at Indiana University and in Drew University’s Low-Residency MFA program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.

"Spotlight On..." will be an occasional feature about poets who have not yet contributed Five-Two Poems of the Week.

A-Z Challenge: Q

To keep the flow of submissions going year-round, each week I'll challenge you to write about crimes beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. We'll cycle through the alphabet twice a year. Notice we will come back to A in the second week of September, The Five-Two's anniversary.

This week's letter is Q. That can refer to quandary, quantity, quick, etc. The challenge is, of course, optional. The Five-Two is open to any interpretation of crime, poems about being wronged, anything that strikes you as "criminal".

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jennifer Lagier


They were the safe ones,
bland, blonde, blue-eyed,
good boys, the only kind
your mother allowed you to date.
Honor students who worked part-time
after school at an office or bank.
Sexless and soft, they opened doors,
chastely kissed without using tongues,
never tried feeling you up.

Your first husband was a vanilla
icecream person until he returned
from a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Cambodian shore bombings,
mercenaries, ship suicides
sent him home psychologically maimed.
A paler version of Victor Charlie,
loaded gun in the closet,
machete under the bed.
Night terrors, physical violence.
Your home a hot zone.

During his final melt-down,
you ran away, hid for months.
Cut off contact with family, friends.
Spent ten years rebuilding a broken life,
barely escaped.

Jennifer reads "Ice Cream People":

Jennifer confesses: "'Ice Cream People' was inspired by a line from a Charles Bukowski poem. I used the phrase as a title, spinning off the story of an ex who started off as a gentle boy-next-door and ended up emotionally and psychologically damaged by the Vietnam War."

JENNIFER LAGIER has published nine books of poetry as well as in a variety of literary magazines. Her latest book, Camille Vérité, was published by FutureCycle Press. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, maintains web sites for Homestead Review, Monterey Poetry Review, Ping Pong Literary Journal and misfitmagazine. She also helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings.