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Wise Words with Bruce Wise

 

An Earthquake on the Border of Iraq and Iran
by Abdul Serecewi

At least five hundred people died in Sunday’s earthquake jar,
upon the border of Iraq/Iran near Halabja.
The epicentre was southeast of Sulaymaniyah;
a 7.3 magnitude hit western Kermanshah.
In Baghdad, cars came to a standstill, as tall buildings swayed;
at first some thought that an explosion had just taken place.
In Tehran, state TV reported thousands injured, and
the aftershocks were felt nearby and all across Iran.
In Sarpol-e-Zahab, some blamed destruction on deathtraps
from government corruption; many newer blocks collapsed.
The earthquake’s strike was felt as far away as Turkey, plus
Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Abdul Serecewi is a poet who stands in awe of the Stans, and whose poems range geographically from Armenia to Kazakhstan, from Iraq to Afghanistan, from Pakistan to Turkmenistan, from Iraq to Uzbekistan, from Azerbaijan to Kyrgyzstan, and historically from the ancient Persian Empire to modern Iran.

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Astronomers Date Sappho Poem
by Esiad L. Werecub

Astronomers and physicists have used advanced software
to date the lyric poet Sappho’s undisturbed despair,
back in 570 BC on Lesbos rocky isle,
her sad and haunting, lonely lines: I wonder, would she smile?
The moon had set back then, as had the starry Pleiades;
they left her in the darkness, on her couch and ill at ease.
At midnight, time was passing by, and she lay all alone;
nobody there to sense or hear her uncomplaining moan.
Did these researchers, furthermore, detect, the residue
of quiet resignation in the metred lines construed?

 

Esiad L. Werecub is a poet fond of ancient Greece.

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Tim Berners-Lee
by Esca Webuilder

Tim Berners-Lee, on August 6th, twenty-six years ago,
created Earth’s first website, basic, linked, text page—Hello!
He launched it from his NeXT computer at Geneva’s CERN.
He wanted there to be a place where everyone could learn,
where people could share information all across the globe;
the World Wide Web was on its way to open, public probe.
Search engines, social networking, and on-line shopping sites
exploded in the interim, as if just overnight.
Now interactive screens appear, new codes and languages;
sometimes the best things can come in the smallest packages.
So unlike Bezos, Gates, or Brin, or Page, or Zuckerberg,
instead, like Jimmy Wales, he gave his best works to the World.

 

Esca Webuilder is a poet of computers and the Internet. He agrees with Jimmy Wales in not allowing Wikipedia to succumb to the Chinese Communist dictatorship, like suck-ups Google and Microsoft have. “Do no evil?” Hmm. Rather “Do some evil to make lots of money.”

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Bizet
by U. Carew Delibes

Bizet enrolled in the Conservatoire when he was nine;
inspired by Guonod, he worked on his melodic line;
Rossini thought he was like Mozart for his virtues; but
his early compositions were ignored, unloved and dumped;
Liszt was amazed to hear Bizet’s sight reading of his work;
his wife was Geneviève Halévy; they’d a son named Jacques;
his early operas were not successful at the time;
the critics panned L’Arlésienne; though some find it sublime.
He thought his op’ra Carmen was a failure at the end;
and then he died at thirty-six, when fame began t’ ascend.

 

U. Carew Delibes, a poet and critic of French music hears in Bizet adumbrations of Debussy.

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“Ladies and Gentlemen”
by Dic Asburee Wel
for Joseph Salemi
“dat ueniam coruis, uexat censura columbas”
—Juvenal, Satire II

“Ladies and gentlemen,” we will no longer use that phrase
on New York City’s subways, so reports the MTA.
This is a pressing issue of the day, as riders know,
not roaming gangs of street thugs who attack those on the go,
not homeless people urinating on the subway seats,
not rats that scuffle in the stations by the walking feet,
not subways breaking down or druggies looking for a hit,
not beggars playing music or the perverts when they spit.
“Ladies and gentlemen” must be excluded from these cars;
for such a phrase will clash with this environment of ours.

 

John Ashbury (1927-2017)
by Dic Asburee Wel
“the most celebrated unclothed emperor in US letters…an invention of academic critics…”
—Mary Karr

Not quite a Parmigianino, his head bigger than
his right hand, but more like a Popeye cartoon figurine,
Ashbury buried his obscurity in spinach leaves,
and won an a)wk(ward word or two from Auden for some trees.
More nebulous than Stevens and more verbose than Webern,
he isolated terms for estimated tax returns.
Experimenting in confusion, fleeing sense for fleece,
he klept a water clock] kleyudra [found in ancient Greece.
The tennis court oath that he took, in ambiguity,
dissolved into a new and witty -C-a-g-e-d- annuity.

 

Dic Asburee Wel is a poet of New York City.

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A Poem’s Language
in memory of Marianne Moore and Archibald MacLeish
by Wilbur Dee Case

Like Langur monkey footprints left on Poon Hill in Nepal,
a poem’s language should be subtle, hardly there at all.
Like letter b in subtle, or the letter e there too,
a poem’s language should be hidden in an airy view.
Like the arriving of a driving, thrusting, bursting force,
a poem’s language should be awesome as it takes its course.
Like lovely rings of beige and yellow barely entered in,
a poem’s language should be pressed forth, and when centered, spin.
Like lofty lifts that softly sift through taut tautologies,
a poem’s language should be dripping with mythology.

Influenced by Movement poets, like Larkin, Wilbur Dee Case is a poet and literary critic of the quiet and the modest, of the not-quite-negligible.

 

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It’s All One Thing #202: 9/11(Like Synchronicity) Strikes Again

 

As I flip channels to escape ads (or try to) I keep seeing the image
of the Falling Man who the History Channel claims has been identified
by his family and they are African American and they say he was one
of those whose love of life lifted everyone but cannot keep him crashing
to Earth to escape the flames that turned the towers to plumes of dust.

Interspersed with the image of this young man are shots of first the one
struck sky-scraper and then the second plane crashing again and again
into the second tower and then one and then the other tower collapsing
over and over as the spreading cloud of dust then rushes right at all of us.

Meanwhile 16 years later it is almost 16 years since the U.S. (that is us)
invaded Afghanistan and more than 14 years since the U.S. (that is us)
invaded Iraq and the U.S. just doubled down with a new Afghan surge
(as it did at the time of Obama’s first year) and still has thousands of troops
in Iraq after a series of battles in cities taken in the original invasion 2003-04
in Fallujah, Tikrit, Mosul where tens of thousands more Iraqis were killed
caught between U.S. bombs and artillery and (ISIS) Islamic State snipers.

Civilian casualties increased in Afghanistan every year since Obama’s surge
there (which, of course, really began under the Bush regime in ’08) so the “U.S.
bombed Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia in 2016”.*

So over and over I see the upside down fleeting image of the falling man hurtling
to Earth head first as we all went to endless war as the bipartisan war parties
signed off on the Patriot Act, and total surveillance, and the funding for the wars
actually a giant, indeed unbounded slush fund for the privatized occupations
created specifically so corporations like Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) and Blackwater
could operate outside accountability, beyond any rule of law, outsourcing torture,
outsourcing assassination, paying bribes to and arming the very forces we were fighting
and created the Islamic State in Syria in Iraq in the Iraqi detention camps set up by the U.S.
from those who rose to power as the U.S. systematically assassinated the Al Qaeda leaders
above them. And the most horrible part of the whole bleeding ulcer mess thing is to see
that poor soul young African American beloved man still hurtling head first to Earth. Again.

*NBC News headline in Glenn Greenwald Intercept piece on how Hillary’s war-mongering effected the 2016 election.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

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It’s All One Thing #128: Vietnam and Iraq: Bookends of an Adult Life

 

rice paddies jungle, delta and highlands
desert twin rivers, palm grooves and marshes
punji sticks, booby traps, roadside bombs
bouncing betty bombs, grenade launchers
claymore mines, rocket propelled grenades
tunnel complexes, suicide bombers
satchel charges, martyr belts
Long Binh Stockade, Abu Ghraib
Tiger cages, stress positions, enhanced techniques
bringing smoke, Humvees , kits
Puff the Magic Dragon, lighting up the night
agent orange, only you can end forests
we had to destroy the village to save it
clear and hold, protective hamlets
counter-insurgency, search and destroy
recon by fire, check points, 18 foot blast walls
Phoenix program, death squads, special ops
the Cong, Charlie, bad guys, Haji ragheads
national liberation civil war sectarian strife
sectarian death squad ethnic cleansing genocide
genocide, genocide, genocide, genocide ….

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

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It’s All One Thing #94: Labyrinth as Relaxation Response

 

The Minotaur is everywhere.
At work it comes out of the nurse manager’s office
and sits glowering and growling about restraint procedures in milieu meeting.
There’s so much we must do about the dead patient now that he’s dead.
At home he must be hiding somewhere in that Labyrinth of books, magazines and tapes.
If we keep looking long enough we’ll discover the answer.

Over in Iraq the attack continues. Bombs blow up the U.N. and the great cleric
and then the Lone Ranger president goes to the Security Council for help.
Give him a chance he’ll tell you another one. Heh, heh, heh. He’s a hilarious monster.
He’ll laugh you to death. No wonder our heart is karate strike in the sternum
and we’re always hacking and coughing like rodents under the stairs.

Yet there are a few heroes and heroines who follow the arterial path to seek
the vein that is the antidote to anxiety. Flight fight can take us ever so far from
where we’re really going that there’s nothing left to do but hunker down
on the basement floor , stop all movement and in the silence that’s never really silent
we find that our own veins open like warm hoses and heart rate sinks
to hardly palpable pulse and our faces tingle with relaxation and our hands
sink into our thighs and we are finally in the one safe place.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

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It’s All One Thing #80: The Cosmic Spelunker Theater at the Revolving Museum April Fool’s Day ‘03

 

Will Barnum
looks at the title of the novel
across the train aisle,
“Total Control will never keep down Complete Chaos,”
he says with a wry smile.

The headlines glare back
with the War on Iraq,
as we discuss scenarios
on the way to Lowell
and the Revolving Museum:
a clown, a caricaturist, palm reader,
belly dancer and the swirling, hurtling steel balls
of an automatic, popular culture gizmo-naught
where all our plans will come to naught.

 

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

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Poem by Milind Padki

 

Iraq

A thick dark red pool of blood covers
The sky. The Sun strains through, pushed
By small dark figures.
With each creaking move, you hear
Screams of women and children.
The door of night closes. The train leaves
The city of pain. Screams recede.
A neat stack of white envelopes’ on the
table. Today’s mail.
There is chicken for dinner.
Red wine, apples.

 

“Dimensional” © TJ Edson

 

Milind Padki was born to a literary couple in Pune, India, and did not know, till age fifteen , anyone who was not writing a book. For his education in the pharmaceutical sciences he traveled to the great city of Mumbai (then Bombay), where life struggle was intense and history was advancing rapidly. He spent twelve years in Mumbai, watching the worker’s struggles up close and writing small articles and poetry. After his PhD he traveled to the US, and in recent years he has been living in Long Island, NY New Jersey, where he is part of the lively poetry scene. A sometimes featured poet and a regular participant on open mic, his work has been published in the Two Bridges Review, The Times of India and a couple of anthologies.

TJ Edson is the Art Director of Oddball Magazine and a volunteer at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery. He has also had work appear recently in Terrarium.