Monday, February 27, 2017

Karen Petersen


I used to know the names of all the birds
it was more than just words,
I felt their melodies in my soul
but now the land rises up like a fist
and we have all grown old.

The helicopter comes and we run
we run, like deer towards life
while behind there are eyes
that see only frayed cots
and death's warm rot.

And then he died, quietly,
wrapped in a blanket of gold foil
like some small sacrificial offering
to a cruel god
and we all cried-he was only five.

I used to know the songs of all the birds
but it's been so long since I heard
even the simplest one:
gone is the moon, gone is the sun,
we are all undone.

Karen reads "The Last Battle":

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Karen confesses: "I wrote 'The Last Battle' after I left Gaza while on assignment during the first Intifada. It was an event that had actually occurred which had been so upsetting that I had to bear witness with a poem. I wrote it as my plane took off from Tel Aviv heading back to America, and I began to weep as I looked out the window, overwhelmed with hopelessness and sadness."

KAREN PETERSEN, adventurer, photojournalist and writer, has traveled the world extensively, publishing both nationally and internationally in a variety of publications. Most recently, she was published in The Malpais Review and Antiphon. In 2015, she read "In Memory of W.B. Yeats" at the Yeats Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is currently at work on Four Points on a Compass, a collection of her poems from overseas. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from Vassar College and an M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Charles Rammelkamp


Our neighbor Mister Bellamy was a bigamist.
I wondered if his name had tipped the scales:
Bigamy/Bellamy. "Beautiful friend," right? Belle Ami:
Fate propelling him into this double life.

When I hadn't seen him or his family for a while
(wife and two boys, Bobby and John),
I remarked about it to my mother
over breakfast one Sunday morning.

"Turns out he has another family," Mom confided,
her voice sizzling like the bacon she served,
scandal in her wheelhouse, gossip the fuel
that turned the big wheels of conversation.
"Minnie only found out about it a month ago."

I was left wondering which family he preferred.
Were Minnie and the kids his "real" family,
here in Maryland, the folks in Florida
just some guilty pleasure?

Mister Bellamy travelled a lot.
Bobby and John always bragged
their father was away "on business."
Vague as it sounded I never asked
what that business was.

When Minnie and Bobby and John disappeared,
nobody knew where they went,
just that Mister Bellamy had gone to prison,
where he’d be for five years
before he could get out and start a new family.

Charles reads "Mr. Bellamy":

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Charles confesses: "I’ve known so few real bigamists in my life, actually only one, which may have been just a rumor. Mister Garçon, who lived down the street from us, was said to have second family he visited somewhere overseas. He was also rumored to be a closet homosexual. 'He looks like a bigamist,' I remember Mrs. Montag saying, but what did that mean? What does a bigamist look like? Mister Garçon was a quiet man, weak chin, receding hairline, thick eyeglasses in big black frames."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives, and edits The Potomac, an online literary journal. His photographs, poetry and fiction have appeared in many literary journals. His latest book is a collection of poems called Mata Hari: Eye of the Day (Apprentice House, Loyola University), and another poetry collection, American Zeitgeist, is forthcoming from Apprentice House.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Daniel D'Arezzo


Poetry ends up being about loneliness
often sitting alone with the sun going down
black coffee for the recovering alcoholic
two hours on the bus and two to go. ...
When will he call? I’m expecting a call.

The good-looking young guys have a glow
reading The Wall Street Journal on the train
downtown, maybe they have wives or lovers
who straighten those dimpled ties just so
under the dimpled chins, planting a kiss
near the ear: "Have a good day" "You too"

(And calling after him, "I love you.")

Lives dreamlike pass everything forgotten
waking on a weekend morning beside
the sleeping other who loosened my tie.

A moment ago I was twenty-two stirring
a cup of did I get here?
Moments I remember and some others, no
blindly as if blacked out by alcohol. ...
Is it the same for everyone—oceans of time?

Ask me anything. I can tell you the color
of carpets, of sheets and towels. I have awakened
by the side of the highway still drunk.
Is it reality I cannot bear, or my own irksomeness?

Mysteries are other people, other people's lives,
and I am no sleuth, I don't see the clues
and I am my own mystery
self-indulgent and un-self-knowing.

A person has been reported missing.
At the inquest I was not under suspicion,
not even "a person of interest," naturally.
It had not yet been determined
if a crime had been committed.
Well, no, a crime was committed
when you left me. I'm cooperating.
I'll tell them everything they want to know.

Daniel reads "Inquest: A Missing Person":

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Daniel confesses: "'Inquest' is the more lighthearted of my two Five-Two poems so far: the feeling of the abandoned lover that "a crime was committed" when his lover left him."

DANIEL D'AREZZO s a retired magazine-publishing executive who lives in Buenos Aires with his husband, Rafael Cerezo.