Poetry # 137

In this issue we have poems. And how.

But seriously folks. Here in the United States of America there is a lot of news coverage on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which is necessary journalism, for sure. But, unfortunately, it has overshadowed another Sept. 11 event, which most of you might not have been aware of, or–worst still–forgotten about. Thirty-eight years ago on Sept. 11, 1973, there was a bloody U.S./CIA-backed Coup in Chile against President Salvador Allende and his democratically elected socialist government. The attack was carried out by General Augusto Pinochet in compliance and with the full collaboration of the CIA and other covert U.S. agencies.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey buddy, what does this have to do with Gloom Cupboard, or poetry for that matter? This smells of politics.” Well, after Pinochet took over Chile, he began rounding up and killing dissidents, Allende-loyalists, students, intellectuals, communists, socialists, writers, singers, musicians and poets, most notably Pablo Neruda (although it has been accepted that Neruda died of cancer on a hospital bed, a recent investigation has been launched into allegations that Neruda was deliberately poisoned by Pinochet’s forces).

From one of Pablo Neruda’s last poems, titled, “Right Comrade, It’s the Hour of the Garden:”

[…] That’s why this is the last call,
the tenth clear
ringing of my bell:
to the garden, comrade, to the pale lily;
to the apple tree, to the intransigent carnation,
to the fragrance of lemon blossoms,
and then to the ultimatums of war.

Ours is a lank country
and on the naked edge of her knife
our frail flag burns.

Yours truly,

Amber Bromer
Luis Rivas
Henry Ajumeze

Poetry Editors, Gloom Cupboard

By Sheri L Wright

She says she likes the dead

better than the living –

they don’t lie,

ask for her phone number and

never call,

smuggle their intentions in words and wine,

discard the wrappings in a tangle of sheets,

leaving her to wash the scent,

the color of their eyes,

the spice of memories,

iced in moonlight

dripping through the blinds,

2am frictioned between her

and another,

the weight of a body

spent, lingering upon her,

the sudden chasm

when they rolled over

for a cigarette

and never came back.

Bio: Sheri L. Wright is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent, The Slow Talk of Stones, released in 2011 by Finishing Line Press. Her work appears in numerous journal including Chiron Review, Earth’s Daughters and Pigeon Bike. Currently, she hosts the literary radio show, From The Inkwell at www.crescenthillradio.com.

you, me, and clarence
By larry jones

clarence works over

at the texaco.

he’s sixty nine years old.

same as me.

had double bypass surgery

three years ago.

working on marriage number eight.

hold the light, he says

as he struggles with the tire,

tries to line up the holes,

gets it on the third attempt.

says, now where did

i put that lug nut?

his sight, strength, memory

shot to hell.

same as me.

two hours later

the job is done.

one hundred and seventy dollars

for two used tires.

he ripped you off

says my wife.

maybe so,

but i’m simply curious.

who will croak first?

clarence, me, or you

my young friend.

the writer with bad teeth
By Aine Herlihy

might have been an actor with poor diction,

made even more unemployable.

instead, unfortunately, she is just a writer.

squirreling away cold cups of tea.

hiding behind a different lens-

cursing the immensity of the ‘internet’

and her absence in it.

By Cassandra Dallett

the daughter was a prostitute

when she could get work

a crack head mostly

with hair extensions

hanging all the way to her ravaged ass

eyes buck skin black teeth missing

a grinning lipsticked clown

who sang along the train tracks

she often flew into rages at her mother

when the door was locked

She’d break out all the windows

from the triangle in the house’s peak

which flooded our little cribs with light

each house had it’s own little triangle of natural blue

some people covered them with foil

kept shades drawn whileI invited every inch inside

they didn’t want sunshine to interfere with their Television

to the picture window below

which still didn’t gain her entry

our windows were barred from the inside

a weird aesthetic that with cute curtains

and time you could get used to

on the outside it was meant to look less like a fortress

we lived in Housing but we had it good

compared to the people across the tracks

She’d break the kitchen window

above our little triangle sinks

screaming all the while cussing at her mother the bitch

who I guessed from my exhausted bed

must have dope or money in there she didn’t want to share

lying awake I imagined the glass of my sleeping son’s window

shattering on his bed the possibilities of gunshots

following the words piercinghis walls

I’d get up tiptoe into his room slide his heavy body

out of bed across the hall to mine

the family next door was large eclectic

some days I came home to see a handful of retarded people smilingbig moon faces at nothing from a blanket on the lawn some of them were white

the only other whites I’d  seen

out here where PG&E might not fix your lights for days

where getting a package left on your doorstep could be a dauntingtask

there was an auntie-lady so super-crazy

she’d shaved her whole head except for one long braidhanging from the top

as if waiting to pull her up out of there

she sat in a plastic chair by the door

clapping her hands loudly

shouting profanities threats and rants at us

once she rang my doorbell asking for a knife

I politely told her that I didn’t own any

a grandson stayed there for a spell

he’d wave enthusiastically when I walked to the mailbox

from a window that could only have been in the bathtub

I felt a little sorry for him

ghettoized stunted and slow

I tookhim to the park with us

he told me he’d never been across the water to SanFrancisco

this kid lived in a dimension

where he’d never even imaginedgoing a few blocks to the train

getting a couple dollars together

seeing one ofthe most beautiful cities in the world

I drove to everyday

after the park I brushed him off

scared he’d try to follow me in

I heard him once through the wall

say something worse than fuck you Grand Ma

the ugliest words I ever heard

eventually the family was evicted

and another moved in

the guy was a junk man

a real Fred Sanford with an old truck full

anything I put on the lawn he carted off

his women was a troll

short and round

with bug eyes that looked in different directions

she rang my bell at all hours

called me a name that wasn’t mine

asked me for ice and steal wool

I heard him beating her sometimes

the hollering and breaking sounds

the shuffling of someone living in the shed

attached to the back of my house

and once I looked out my back window

at a trailor home he’d dragged home

right there in Housing Authority

under the pine trees between the train’s

iron triangle.

Bio: Cassandra Dallett lives inOakland, CA. She is Mama Cass to four kids and two Pit bulls. When not cookingfor her army she writes poetry and short memoir. Cassandra has published in HipMama, The Chiron Review, Bleed Me A River; a domestic Violence Anthology,Ascent Aspirations, Criminal Class Review, Breadcrumb Scabs, Nibble, The MilviaStreet Journal, and The Berkeley Daily Planet among others.

Conquistadors II
By Matt Sedillo

1994 Guanajuato Mexico


Go forth woman

Carry your child

One day to be a man

Into uncertainty

Flee the certain wreckage

Of promises broken

Of better tomorrows


That to be hated

To be hunted

Is still better

Than to starve

2006East Los Angeles California

Johnny Ramirez

An immigrant kid

Who crossed over

With his mother

When he was six

Abandoned by his

Father when he was three

Always had it rough

Lived by the motto

If I don’t see the cops

Then I don’t see why not

Lived in a system

That offered him nothing

That taught him

He was unwanted


Without a record

But a criminal by birth

So, why not earn the title

Things are tough in

Migrant America

Poverty wages

An imploding economy

ICE raids

It’s always

One thing or another

In this new country

This land of opportunity

There is always a new pain

To discover

A new way to slowly

Kill yourself and your mother

In the land of milk and honey

He had caused her so much pain

He who took refuge in gangs

In drugs, in liquor

Belief that he was

An Aztec warrior

Fighting the Blacks

Fighting Salvadorans

Fighting other Mexican kids

From other corners

Crossing them out

Like so many toy soldiers

Things were rough all over

For the children of the poor

When there aint no jobs

There aint no opportunity

So you join a gang

Like the US military

Leave your mother crying

As you promise her

A path to citizenship

A road to scholarships

A real future in this country

Johnny Ramirez remembered

That conversation well

As he lay wounded fatally

In Fallujah

A gang banger

Turned general issue soldier

Turned cannon fodder

Turned statistic

Turned propaganda

Turned bumper sticker

Support our troops

Or protect our borders

Either way one less hated Mexican wetback

Or one more honored brave American soldier

Who kill and die in wars

Who live and die by the sword

Because those

Were the only two options

Ever given

Turned piece of meat

Whose humanity

Is sacrificed

To the altar of profits

For distant interests

And the so-called

Ways of the world

Turned, turn the page

Turned the same old song

Johnny’s mind began to race

He thought of a little girl

He had seen years earlier

In the paper

Shot on the corner

Of Whittier Blvd

How the shooter claimed

It was an accident

Johnny thought

How the children of Iraq

Were called collateral damage

How he called them Hajis

How he convinced himself

Their deaths were necessary

How his squad leader

Convinced him

They were less than human

How he let himself be convinced

That maybe he deserved this

Maybe he had always

Wanted to deserve

Something like this

That life from birth

Had never been worth

The effort of his mother

To push him through

Was this finally it

Was this what it meant

To be an American

To kill and die

In this now Godforsaken nation

Once the cradle of civilization

As a reckless child

In ancient temple

Like the hands of a broken stop watch

As history repeated itself

As an immigrant

A soldier

A poor kid

Who never had a chance

A Conquistador



Of home


His cousin’s low rider

And murals

Of Aztec Pyramids

feigned complexity
By Helen Vitoria

he hid orchids in his hirsute

painted (b)ridges


small factories

that pleased the architecture of a

burnt penny

I dreamt in torture−

I was the last poetry

Bio: Helen Vitoria lives and writes in Effort, PA. Her work can be found andis forthcoming in over sixty online and print journals, including: PANK, FRIGG Magazine, The Offending Adam, Used Furniture Review,  >kill author, elimae, Metazen, Dark Sky Magazine, MudLuscious Press, and many others. Her chapbooks – The Sights and Sounds of Arctic Birds and RandomCartography Notes from Gold Wake Press, 2011 are both available as e-chaps.BLACKWATER: A PNEUMATIC DISTURBANCE is her forthcoming e-chap from RedOchre Press, 2011. Her first full length collection: Corn Exchange, willbe released in Fall 2011 from Scrambler Books. She is working on her second collection a novel(la) in verse: Amsterdam.
Find her here:  http://helenvitoria-lexis.blogspot.com/

Blue Light Special
By Kevin Heaton

I observe them every night in twilight,

always at outer fringes in the parking lot

of everyday low prices.

There are two vehicles parked side-by-side:

one loitering idled, the other aiding

and abetting collaborators—

motors running.

They rendezvous covertly, swapping lust,

while those with whom they’ve exchanged

vows wait at home unaware; victims

of fabrications concocted by frisky hormones.

One hour, then two pass. Each time I circle

the lot in my security car, more evidence

collects on mobile motel windows, my yellow

overhead pulsing in rotation at the same rate

as unfaithful heartbeats.

Once again I circle, but now they are gone;

the illicit consummation complete.

All that remains are: two beer bottles,

a kleenex, and one impenitent condom;
baptized in seeds of deceit.

Bio: Kevin Heaton’s fourth chapbook, “Chronicles,” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in early 2012. His work has appeared in 125 journals and anthologies.

Jude, Arabella and the Pig
By Liam Duffy

(From Thomas Hardys: Jude the Obscure)

The butcher

never called round,

so he strung

his friend up

over a bucket.

His wife,

appearing slightly less

of what he remembered

every minute,

standing behind him.

arms definitely folded.

One sleek swipe

with the knife

should, in theory,

end it all.

After too much squealing

and not enough bleeding

he began whipping

the beast with the blade

in vain:

cursing expectations,

First the pig,

then the wife.

Bio: Liam Duffy grew up and studied in Galway where he is now compiling an Artistic Atlas of Galway and working towards his first collection of poetry. He has recently been published in The Irish Left Review, Wordlegs.com and the anthology Emergency verse- poetry in defence of the welfare state and has also read at the West Cork Literary Festival in Ireland as part of a reading dubbed: Irish Poets: A New Generation.

Published by peace is illegal

I am a writer of pornography, of politics and murder.

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