Monday, March 30, 2015

Ron Hayes



Betrayal weighs like wet clothes
cleaviing to you, sloppy and cold
after a sudden summer storm.
Treachery is the sharp bite
of bile that surges
to the back of your throat.
A shudder flutters
through your muscles as you try
to comprehend the news:
someone you know has killed
another human being.

Did you see it coming?


Place a penny in your mouth.
Feel the spit rise and swirl,
choking you, gagging you.
Bloodshed tastes like that.
Foul. Sinister. Metallic.
It never goes away
no matter how much you drink
no matter how much you spit
no matter how much you try.

Do you ask yourself why?

Don't bother. The reasons never matter,
and circumstances merely complicate
the mystery. Your questions
will never find answers.
You'll never get to ask them.


Willie hacked his neighbor to death with scissors.
Brandon hitched a ride, shot the driver in the head.
Larry hunted a high school rival, shot him dead
on my birthday in a convenience store parking lot.

These are the killers I know.
They were once my students.

I never saw it coming.

Ron reads "A Contemplation on Killing":

Ron confesses: "This poem is the truth: these ARE the killers I know. When I decided to become a teacher in 2003, I never thought I'd come to know anyone, let alone have students, who would kill someone. Within five years, I knew three. It sucks. But that's what prompted this poem."

RON HAYES is a poet and fiction writer from Erie, PA. He teaches at inner-city East High School where he also coaches football and girls' basketball. A graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte, Ron has twice been named Poet Laureate of Erie County, Pennsylvania. His poems have appeared in such places as Fjords Review, Rosebud, and Gutter Eloquence.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

30 Days of The Five-Two (2015)

"Inaugurated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture."

For the fifth consecutive year, I'm joining the celebration with a blog tour. For my tours, I don't ask to guest-post on your blogs. Instead, I invite you to post about poetry yourself. If you don't have a blog, email your entry to G_SO at YAHOO dot COM and you'll be my guest here at The Five-Two.

In advance of this year's tour, I've filled the schedule with poems that may inspire you to blog. If you are inspired, email me, and I'll link to your blogs on the schedule.

Many participants blog about Five-Two poems, but your entry can be as creative as you like:

  • Interview a Five-Two contributor
  • Discuss a favorite poem not from The Five-Two
  • Post your own poetry or fiction in response to a Five-Two poem
  • Contributors, discuss your poems in greater detail
  • Voices of The Five-Two, discuss your performance in greater detail

I'm fine scheduling multiple tour stops on the same day or about the same poem, and I'm glad to add entries even after April 1. To book a date, email G_SO at YAHOO dot COM, and I'll add it below.

Participants and promoters of the tour may download the badge image above and add it to their entries or follow these instructions to copy-and-paste the image HTML code.

All April revenue from Five-Two and Lineup books and merchandise is donated to the nonprofit Academy of American Poets, supporting poets at all stages of their careers and fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

04-01-15 - Wednesday - "Eve Shrugged" by Catherine Wald
04-02-15 - Thursday - B.V. Lawson at In Reference to Murder
04-03-15 - Friday - "First Grade Criminal" by Anne Graue
04-04-15 - Saturday - "The Writing of Harlots" by Paul Hostovsky
04-05-15 - Sunday - "Kevin" by Matt Hohner
04-06-15 - Monday - Poem of the Week - "Entrepreneur's Primer" by Dennis Weiser
04-06-15 - Monday - Charles Rammelkamp
04-07-15 - Tuesday - Deb Lacy at Mystery Playground
04-08-15 - Wednesday - "Another Shooting" by John David Muth
04-09-15 - Thursday - "Escape from Dallas" by William G. Rector
04-10-15 - Friday - "The Escape" by Margaret Anderson
04-11-15 - Saturday - "Muse Noir" by Mehnaz Sahibzada
04-12-15 - Sunday - "Don't Try" by Gerald So
04-13-15 - Monday - Poem of the Week - "Man Stalked Woman..." by A.J. Huffman
04-14-15 - Tuesday - "dance obsolete obstinancy" by Heidi Kraay
04-15-15 - Wednesday - Kathleen A. Ryan at Women of Mystery
04-16-15 - Thursday - "The Song o' No One's Daughter" by Johnny Longfellow
04-17-15 - Friday - "Concerned about the 'How'" by Ann Clark
04-18-15 - Saturday - "Target" by Peter M. Gordon
04-19-15 - Sunday - "Lew Archer Writes a Poem" by Tom Brzezina
04-20-15 - Monday - Poem of the Week - "Facts" by Robert Cooperman
04-21-15 - Tuesday - "Trickster Time" by Linda Rodriguez
04-22-15 - Wednesday - "Crime Story" by Alan Catlin
04-23-15 - Thursday - "The Stainless Steel Wallet" by Amy Holman
04-24-15 - Friday - "But People Just Don't Act That Way" by Allen Stein
04-25-15 - Saturday - "Slenderman" by Kristina England
04-26-15 - Sunday - "Get a Gun" by Nicole C. Scott
04-27-15 - Monday - Poem of the Week - "Con Man" by Joe Barnes
04-28-15 - Tuesday - "Swine" by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal
04-29-15 - Wednesday - "Salad Night" by Mabel Lee
04-30-15 - Thursday - "The End of Fun and Games" by Kimberlee Smith

Monday, March 23, 2015

Etta Abrahams


"I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I'd be out looking for the next job...Go where the money is...and go there often." —William “Willie” Sutton (1901-1980)

When Willie Sutton went to jail in 1952, I prayed
for how-long-I-don't-know,
he’d get good books, and especially
an RCA Color TV --
like my friend Nancy Freigang had
that I

I stole loose change
off Daddy’s highboy,
unsnapped the little purse in Mommy's
handbag, later lifted
Tangee lipstick from Kresge's.

Even now, knowing
he robbed from the rich,
kept it for himself,
never said he hit banks
"Because that's where the money is," I

Some days I want to crank down my
car window, toss Hershey wrappers
to the wind, hold up the Shop 'n Save,
make off with the day's
wear disguises.

Etta reads "True Confessions":

Etta confesses: "When I was a child, I saw a photo of Willie Sutton in the paper and thought of him as Robin Hood. Something about him appealed to my sense of justice, and I wanted to help him. A color TV was the only thing I could think of. I've always been drawn to 'bad guys'. Maybe I thought I could reform them!"

ETTA C. ABRAHAMS is emerita professor at Michigan State University where she taught writing and American cultural ideas. She spends part of the year in Michigan and part of the year in Maine, along the coast. She has published essays and fiction on crime and mystery writing and has presented many papers on the subjects. Recently, she began writing poetry, and enjoys that, as well. She is co-owner of 2 Write Better LLC, editing consultants.