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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
By Matt Sedillo
1994 Guanajuato Mexico
Go forth woman
Carry your child
One day to be a man
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
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
An imploding economy
One thing or another
In this new country
This land of opportunity
There is always a new pain
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 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
A gang banger
Turned general issue soldier
Turned cannon fodder
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
Were the only two options
Turned piece of meat
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
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
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 poor kid
Who never had a chance
His cousin’s low rider
Of Aztec Pyramids
By Helen Vitoria
he hid orchids in his hirsute
that pleased the architecture of a
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—
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)
never called round,
so he strung
his friend up
over a bucket.
appearing slightly less
of what he remembered
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
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.