Monday, May 21, 2018

J.H. Johns


Consensual crime takes time;
did anyone say-
did anyone say-

what was a moment-
a fling-
will it still be that
the next day
after that;

it’ll be lost in time-
and minds-
so we’ll probably
never know;

was it chance;
was it planned;
was it taking advantage;
was it an advantage worth taking;

and, so,
will the memory
of the fury
in which they engaged,
until sufficient time has passed
has now become
a different passion

a crime of “passion;”
a “passion” begs the crime-

consensual crime takes time.

Paul Churchill Mann reads "Consensual Crime":

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J.H. confesses: "I try to expose myself to as much information as possible. At the same time, I work hard not to make value-judgments about the info. Then, sometimes, maybe, it just comes to me. Of course, in my case, that means having notepads, pens, etc, around me- and within reach at all times. Because, it is fleeting- whatever you want to call it- put it down or else it will be gone."

J.H. JOHNS "grew up and came of age" while living in East Tennessee and Middle Georgia. Specifically, the two places "responsible" for the writer that he has become are Knoxville, Tennessee and Milledgeville, Georgia. Since then, he has moved on to Chicago—for a brief stint—and New York City—for a significantly longer stay. Currently, he is "holed up" in a small town where when he is not writing, he tends to his "nature preserve" and his "back forty." His goal is to surround his house with all sorts of vegetation so as to obscure it from the gaze of the "locals." He is assisted in this task by his coonhound buddy and companion, Roma.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Colin James


Birch trees cut into even lengths.
Beneath the pile of logs a foot explodes.
The body is not inexpressive, nude.
The white bark envisions eventualities.
Peripheral spiders crawl through black eyebrows.
A paper dress, the embalmer's nightmare.
Should she include this tentative cartography?
The map semantically emotive and crude.

Colin reads "Northern Bride":

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Colin confesses: "There are a lot of white birch trees about and I imagined them as brides with perhaps some complications."

COLIN JAMES has a book of poems, Resisting Probability, available from Sagging Meniscus Press and a new book of poems forthcoming from Wondor Editions. He lives in Massachusetts.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Patricia Lacy


Walking the alley
in the dark of night,
my dog prances around the refuse,
sniffing hopefully
at piles of decay,
but then, even he trots away...

No use for all the trash,
Better to walk beside the river,
Where at least there's light.
Birds dive into ripples
As a boat floats into dock.

But all that's floating free
Is simply debris.
The plastic neck from a six-pack
To strangle a bird,
No twist or turn nor wings.
Beating wild...
Will save that bird to swoop over
whoever again strolls by...

A glass bottle drifts to shore,
Then crashes on a rock,
Shattering glints
Attracting wildlife,
Their true danger masked.

A grungy cigar butt, my dog chews upon,
We walk until he eschews the filth.
My bag at hand to clean with stealth
the regurgitate, butt et al.
Toss it into the waste can,
Wishfully thinking
It will be the last,

But knowing
More and more
will be
Left behind.

Gerald So reads "Grime"

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Patricia confesses: "I was inspired to write this poem because littering and poisoning our environment, even unintentionally, is a serious crime that many commit in their daily lives."

PATRICIA LACY has been President of the League of Women Voters Georgetown County, South Carolina and served on the board of Acton Stowe League of Women Voters, She is a member of Riverkeepers and is a staunch supporter SCELP and the Sierra Club. She writes poetry when she’s not saving the environment.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Susan Barry-Schulz


What about this guy in the white Mazda
who pulls up behind me too fast
on Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx,
skidding cock-eyed into my rear bumper
and somehow, in the time it takes me
to hop out and walk around back,
throws it into reverse
just enough

and as I stand there,
chin out/arms to the side/elbows bent/palms to the sky—
the espresso bronze finish
of my Buick's back fender
speckled now with flecks of fresh white paint—

gets out and closes the driver’s side door
chin tucked/arms raised/shoulders shrugged/palms facing forward
and says

I never touched, I never touched

and walks away without
a second look?

Susan reads "Body Language":

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Susan confesses: "This poem was inspired by true events and the question that I faced afterwards; 'Why didn’t you report it?' I wanted to explore how place and gender might influence our response. I am also interested in the way our body postures and gestures inform our dialogue. Plus I wondered what would it be like to be that guy?"

SUSAN BARRY-SCHULZ has been a practicing Physical Therapist/Healthcare Coordinator in Westchester for many years. Her writing has been published in the Journal News, the recent Barrelhouse POPLove! Series and in The Wild Word. She is a member of the Hudson Valley Writer's Center and the Mahopac Poetry Group. She grew up outside of Buffalo and now lives in a lake neighborhood in Putnam County, New York with her husband and one or more of her 3 adult children. It all depends.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Day 29 of 30 Days of The Five-Two

Our 2018 National Poetry Month tour concludes tomorrow with our Poem of the Week April 30–May 5, "Body Language" by Susan Barry-Schulz.

Today. Mystery Playground features "Her Beheading" by Anne Graue, and I want to use this space to thank all the participants and fans of this year's tour. Souvenirs are available 20% off today in my Zazzle store, with all proceeds donated to the nonprofit Academy of American Poets, supporting poets at all stages of their careers.

—Gerald So

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Day 28: "The Colonel" by Carolyn Forché

Day 28 of 30 Days of The Five-Two appreciates "The Colonel" by Carolyn Forché, who was born April 28, 1950.

I first read "The Colonel" in a college Intro to American Poetry class where Forché was the youngest poet covered. The poem's barbaric image of a jar of human ears has stayed with me.

—Gerald So

Friday, April 27, 2018

Day 27: "The James Bond Movie" by May Swenson

For Day 27 of 30 Days of The Five-Two, singer Sheena Easton's birthday, "The James Bond Movie", a 1978 poem by May Swenson.

Subverting expectations, perhaps, it gives a female viewer's take on Bond movie spectacle.

—Gerald So