Poetry Issue # 152

Words have a way of staying put even after they have escaped the mouth of someone, even after the speaker or writer has long-since passed away.

In this way, words are a sort of magic or sorcery (as a friend describes them: that they posses the power to evoke things from within people, similar to summoning entities). And it holds true, still, that words don’t need to wait for their creator (or conveyor) to die.

Some of us who have the privilege to speak or write for others that cannot, or that do write but their work is withheld from us. Or they themselves are withheld from us, like detainees. Or “not like” but actual detainees, prisoners, like the ones that are on hunger strike in Pelican Bay and Guantanamo Bay.

I agree with this.

Imagine what the world would’ve been like if we were taught to read poems instead of the alphabet or the pledge of (imperialist) allegiance in grammar school. I say it purposefully in the past-tense since it’s safe to say we are past the point of no return, buckle your safety-belts, hug your loved ones – or the closest ones to you, for any matter – the Earth is getting ready to wake up and shake off all its capitalistic parasites like the bothersome fleas upon the ass of a sleeping dog.

In this issue I am proud to say that although some of the poets and their characters featured here have altered their physical being, their crystallized thoughts live on – like a friendly haunting. In that, honor that, bare through this rambling intro and read the poems below.

Once last thing:

Better late than never, right? I apologize for the lack of consistency in publishing Gloom Cupboard poetry issues. I should be able to publish regularly now, once a month.

For the poets that want to get publish, and I know it’s somewhat misleading because of the name of the website, but please stay away from gloomy poetry – unless, like, you’re Silvia Plath or your entire family was misplaced due to an ongoing war in your motherland.

For the poets who think they’re famous, truncate that bio of yours dramatically. Unless you’re Lyn Lifshin or Jack Hirschman.

Yours truly,

The Last Remaining Poetry Editor to Stand Up and Walk through the Apocalyptic Burning Streets of Los Angeles

Luis Rivas

NO THANKS, JESUS
By Judith Mensch

Actually, Jesus

You didn’t do us any favors

By being the perfect human

Couldn’t you have shown some imperfection—

Flaw to catch

Limitation to hail

Vulnerability to warm our hearts

as if there could ever be a perfect human

whose idea is this anyway?

To hold us to the torture

Of impossible standards and

Encourage our hearts not to faint

When we grow weary of never being

What we can never be

Bio: Rev. Judith Mensch served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church.  She began writing poetry in the last years of her life, as a way of responding to and coping with breast cancer.  She passed away in 2003.

THE MERMAID OF KURLA
By Aftab Yusuf Shaikh

In her town, Kurla of Bombay,

She was rushed to the

Hospital,

A life squeezing pain, the

Final one after months of hurt.

As a result of which she gives birth.

Boy or girl, it was asked.

Its mermaid, said the hospital

Worker, even so her own mother,

Sirenomelia, the doctor in

His language said.

Legs joined as one, the baby

Born of prayers and hopes.

Destined to breathe maybe two more

Days. Not human to live

But in many ways, shall

Stay fresh in the memory

Of a distraught mother.

What Makes Sense and Doesn’t Make Sense
By Jon Bennett

 

On the third day sober

there’s nothing to do but go fishing.

I buy frozen grass shrimp

at a liquor store that sells bait.

The perch used to take shrimp

but either there appetites have changed

or there aren’t any fish

under the cigarette butts and styrofoam cups at the pier.

There’s a seagull watching me.

It’s perfect, statuesque, vigorous.

I start feeding it the shrimp.

“All you want,” I say to it,

“is to eat and fuck.”

It makes sense I’m bored and cold

and the fish are gone from the pollution

but it doesn’t make sense

I would want anything more

than that seagull.

My Stepfather

By Dane Karnick

He played Solitaire

like eating breakfast

consuming time

through retirement

mandated by MS

that deep-fried

his motor control

unable to match

the shift of weight for

consecutive motion

to comply with his

antiquated limbs

at forty years

so many body parts

unsynchronized

against rugged terrain

intersecting the clock

his legs opposed

to cooperation

during lift-off from

the Lazy-Boy to

pursue the bathroom

how exasperating

the toilet could be

easily measured

by his return trip

grasping the rails

in the hallway

to the living room

its sanctuary

blessing him with rest.

Bio: Dane Karnick grew up by the Colorado “Rockies” and lives in Seattle.  His poetry has recently appeared in madswirl, Otoliths, Emerge and Gloom Cupboard.  Visit him at www.danekarnick.com.

 

bottom shelf whiskey
By Marie Nunalee

you are over the
age of twenty-one.
you enjoy bottom shelf whiskey for some unfathomable reason.
you enjoy bottom shelf whiskey best when it is free so much
that you drink the unattended bottom shelf hundred proof whiskey someone else left sitting
on the kitchen counter though you are
well-acquainted with the concept of property being the citizen
of a capitalist nation; to
prevent the owner of the bottom shelf hundred proof
whiskey from deducing your red-handed thievery
you make a note of the approximate
fire water level before you pour any,
perhaps it drips seductive, ocher into
your half-empty lukewarm can of Co-Cola,
perhaps you take a sip and cannot taste it,
pour s’more. when
you are done you release the lever
of the kitchen sink faucet your landlord installed in 1975,
hold the ersatz half-gallon carafe under its flow until you are satisfied that it looks about right,
just as you did when you were high school age
living under the same roof as Mother,
who assumed she must
have drunk
more than she had realized.

 

TONIGHT THE N TRAIN
By Mary Murphy

should i have raised my hand

when the man on the train searched for sinners

to save like shells on a beach

shoved in deep pockets

to recover as souvenirs when he can’t remember

how to save himself

never mind the ocean

or how it can be blue

yet gray

we prefer to think in simple terms

jesus, yes

but even the bible ends

even he walked past

when my lungs dragged air

like a tidal pull

and i wanted to know love

everlasting

Writer
By Saleem Patterson

I have all the makings of a bad writer.
Grammar, punctuation, spell and talent
I have little to none in each of these categories
but
the one thing I do have is vision
I can see
the world I’d like to live in
I can see the world I’d like to create
I see the world around me
I don’t know what makes a “good” writer
but
without vision all you are left with is the ability
to win a spelling B, use a semi-colin, make a sentence,
Write a correct essay and have an abundance words
to pick from.

without vision…
Hindsight, foresight, insight, perspective…
vision

you leave the readers world
Bland
Mundane
Without texture
colorless
lifeless

Because
If you can’t truly see what you
want to portray how can you
truly explain it?

I don’t know what makes a “good” writer
and
I know I have all the makings of a “bad” writer
but
at least I have the
Hindsight
foresight
insight
perspective…
vision

to see that

Bio: Saleem Patterson is a San Fernando Valley scumbag who makes his living selling alcohol to other scumbags at local bars. When he’s not writing poetry, he’s in jail. When he’s not in jail, he’s painting, smoking, drinking, fighting and capturing the beauty of a pornographic world.

Of Some Man
By Jessica M. Wilson

criminal – someone. Making crime committed against social expectation.

Crime of action:

necessity,

deliberate… when a hand reaches to take bread,

pick fruit,

stretch farther than comfortable,

there is silence that recognizes action of hands,

mind made to reach harder decisions.

Imbalance to society…

But when a hand lashes down to punish a criminal,

there is no tolerance, or redemption to be found.

Enforcers carry gloves, so their hands will not bloody,

so they won’t spoil their appetite

to dine with their families,

shake the fragile palm of a plump baby girl,

weigh down into another person’s face – watching the water

drip from their eyes; tolerance removed.

Tyler calls them “The Keepers”, earning a living to watch and mitigate the torment of

bastardized sons and daughters of the “system”.

There is nothing left to assure ourselves – atrocities of the night –

So glad police took them away – purged the streets,

but how far does it go: detainee, parolee, criminal and incriminated…

How long does punishment last? How much time makes it fair?

For 10 years you are punished.

For 25 to 50 years you are taken through a labyrinth carved out in cement and jagged razors, tainted blood spills over the sheets

Made sterile

life sterile,

until more time passes the ageing faces of judgment.

No purgatory could sit still enough to outlast this prison system

ridiculed “just deserves”.

How so…  when the hoses turn on,

and the nozzles are broken

so the stream aims wrecked in the face of incarceration ——— and these

are the nationals. Citizens of America.

In the land of Guantanamo the heads are hoisted on top of “Old Glory”,

as lady loves fly over to witness the deaths of their many men –

boxed up by pedigree,

held only by their bones, in spindles

of mummified cloth,

varnished strands of hair, to blink in the air,

or whatever’s left of the tapping body of National distrust.

 

Published by peace is illegal

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

4 thoughts on “Poetry Issue # 152

  1. Reblogged this on Inklings and devlings and commented:
    There are so many exciting examples of Ezines on the web. Here is one published on WordPress, Gloom Cupboard, which despite what the name suggests is not at all gloomy.

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