The American electoral process is a lot like poetry: it’s an amazing, empowering process that fills one with euphoria and hope, and then it’s over.
But seriously folks. I just want to apologize to all you that follow gloomcupboard.com and its poetry section for not getting a poetry issue to you for October. As some of you might know, I am a full-time college student and I had midterms the past couple of weeks. That’s over with now. Once again, sorry.
In the following issue we have poems penned by some that, by this time tomorrow morning, might very well be behind bars.
Born into this world
By Diane Webster
I never asked to be born.
I was comfortable floating
along with my lifeline
of food and oxygen and blood.
Warm, not a care in my world
except to kick my boundaries
until I fell inside a whirlpool
sucked into cold, bright, noisy
foreign world where I cried
my demands whether met or not
always needing help
knowing I would be kicked out
of this world too for a world
I never asked to be born to.
Bio: Diane Webster enjoys looking for poetry ideas in everyday life. Then her challenge is to optimize those opportunities by writing. Her work has appeared in “Jellyfish Whispers,” “Illya’s Honey,” “The Hurricane Review” and other literary magazines.
By Ross Leese
the sun wears on in the sky
as the coffin dodgers continue to coax and dodge
and those less fortunate scrape and scream
and earthworms are harmless
until they’re gnawing at
and soil is healthy until it’s
clogging up your
and the sweetest words
have not yet been
and the greatest lines
are not yet on
and the dead will remain dead
long after the mourning and the ceremonial
end of it is
and we all go back
to our homes
to start attempting
to make sense
The Lolita Complex
By Erren Geraud Kelly
at 5’2, everyone is taller than her, she’s 17
and she’s girly in her high heels
she tells me she either wants to go to
brown or wesleyan
and that she got a poem published recently
i give her poetry books to encourage her
like bill did when he gave monica a copy of
“leaves of grass”
but i show restraint in my encouragement
the world is full of dirty old men
and i want to be honorable
a high school teacher in florida
had an affair with one of her students
and went to jail for him
then married him when she got out
she had no shame
i always kept my crushes on female teachers
and profesors to myself
though they probably knew
when i lived in portland maine, in 1998
i met a half-turkish/ half white girl
doing security work at the
her dad was an u.s. army colonel
he compared her to a spice girl and warned her
she was at the age when guys wanted something
the girl and i exchanged emails and snail mails
but that was it; the jails are full of men
who have wrecked their lives over a woman
if you’re gonna ruin your life over a woman
make sure she’s worth it
the turkish girl would’ve been worth it
miley cyrus pimps her swimsuit photos
on the internet, satisfying the pedophiles’ appetite
the chemicals and growth hormones in foods can make girls looks
twenty-five when they’re really 15
and r. kelly and woody allen
thank heaven for little girls
i’ve given my nieces poetry books, too
i told one of them
if you have sex with a man, make sure
you protect yourself
but my niece told me
she’s not interested in men…
Bio: Erren is a poet based in Chicago, by way of Louisiana, by way of Maine, by way of California, by way of New york City and so on. He has been writing for 21 years and has over three dozen publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine(online) and other publications. His most recent publication was in “ In Our Own Words,” a Generation X poetry anthology; He was also published in other anthologies such as “ Fertile Ground,” Beyond The Frontier ” and other anthologies.
By Phillip A. Ellis
The heat and cicadas weary me
and the kitchen linoleum sticks,
so that the skin of my feet tug
with every footstep taken.
I take a tepid glass of water
back to the Formica benchtop:
it is cloudy and tastes metallic,
and I can barely swallow it.
I have long forgotten
the attractions of Christmas
in my solitary life
apart from my petty family.
And I do not consider
the looming decade with hope;
there is no joy contemplating
the eighties, another dead ten years.
Bio: Phillip A. Ellis is a freelance critic, poet and scholar. His chapbooks, The Flayed Man and Symptoms Positive and Negative, are available. He is working on a collection for Diminuendo Press. Another has been accepted by Hippocampus Press. He is the editor of Melaleuca.
Another year, Another erection
By Leeroy Berlin
the tumescent purple heart of democracy
withers like a raisin
in the california sun
while beverly hills housewives throw glasses of water in the faces
of republican door knockers in khaki pants and
at pico and san vicente a bubbling girl from the valley
explains ebulliently to a family in
how important it is that
they go to the polls on election day.
and seven thousand miles away
there’s a stretch of sunbeat coral where i go to
and watch the girls
across the waves
as their arms paddle goodbye
to colorful crabs scuttling
on floor of the silent sea.
Bio: Leeroy Berlin made the mistake of accepting a friendly offering of rice wine brewed in a plastic tub and sold in an old gas can in the mountains of Vietnam. He still writes poetry mainly because the ruou san lung left his brain unable to do much else. This has left him plenty of time to fill editors’ inboxes.
How to Understand Their Geography
By Rebecca Schumejda
In history today, we verbally paint
each continent, fill in massive wavy
bodies of water mixed with glitter,
we simulate raised reliefs, trace
longitudinal and latitudinal lines with
flexible rulers, but this won’t change the
fact that the girl in the front row’s father
won’t be released from prison until
three decades after her graduation,
that the boy in the back gets stoned
with his mother every night and makes
out with her forty-year-old friends
and then there is the quiet girl, who
writes exquisite poems, tucks them
into her folder for me to read, each with
the disclaimer: This isn’t about me.
Yes, there are seven continents!, Yes,
Yes, that is known as plate tectonics!
Then there are state and federal mandates
the tests, tests, tests, because of course
that will be what pulls us all back together.
Bio: Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Cadillac Men, forthcoming from New York Quarterly Press; Falling Forward, a full-length collection of poems (sunnyoutside, 2009); From Seed to Sin (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2011), The Map of Our Garden (verve bath, 2009); Dream Big Work Harder (sunnyoutside press 2006); The Tear Duct of the Storm(Green Bean Press, 2001); and the poem “Logic” on a postcard (sunnyoutside).