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The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon

 

© Geoffrey Fallon
© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

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Poem by A. Pen

 

On MLK’s Birthday

On the 86th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King,
activists, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter,
shut down I-93 with their arms locked together.

On a day when the world asks, Where are we now?
How far from the dream?
I am at work reading through angry comments

about people not getting to work on time
or people missing important meetings.
One comment exclaims, “I saw an ambulance get stuck!”

What about getting stuck in endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and how Dr. King wouldn’t want anger to stop on
anonymous internet threads?

I hear the complaints:
“But everyday people have to get to work.”
“How is it revolutionary to cost them pay or even a job?”

“How is it revolutionary to keep a father from a custody meeting?
To keep an ill patient from getting immediate care?
To keep an immigrant from commuting because she is priced out of Boston?”

How do you attack the ruling class that wages endless war in our name?
How do you shut the system down?
How do you stop the violence of the capitalist system?

Maybe the pessimists are right. It’s useless.
But does the heart stare so coldly at the dead and dying?
How can we forgive ourselves if we are only a nation of onlookers?

That’s what haunts me. Becoming only the watching.
Silent disagreement. Giving up my principles
for the sake of having money to take care of myself.

How can I say that my detachment from my body and experiences
has nothing to do with the war against people of color?
The war against women? The war against “terror” abroad?

How can I go on writing poems about my confused mind
and never be willing to step outside the door
to report the weather and the state of affairs

that leave us all dead in different ways
with fist fulls of seeds to plant
for the bounty it will take to fight for civil rights again and again.

 

Artwork © Ira Joel Haber
Artwork © Ira Joel Haber

 

A. Pen is a Boston-area feminist activist who has been involved in organizing against sexism, racism, heterosexism, and economic inequality. She combines lessons from activism with writing a poem everyday, and she wishes to thank the brave activists of the Black Lives Matter Movement for such inspiration.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum and The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Since 2007 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 160 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn.

 

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Poem by Susan Deer Cloud

Martin Luther King, Jr. Night

Especially silent night on city South Side
Could be any northern city in any anonymous dark

Unless they must trudge out
City dwellers burrowed far inside walls

Weather calls for snow and ice
Breeze jangles glass wind chimes

Behind lace curtains blinds shut
On lap Persian cat she and Korean lover got

Purrs  slant of half-closed eyes
Glow of Silk Road Dreamtime

Remembering tales of women who lost
Their one true love

Wandering by midnight seas
Turning to stone and gorse on cliffs and heaths

Despite trailing skirt   tangled hair
She doesn’t ramble except in heather heart

No train whistle keens up from river valley
Invisibly its old city shimmers   lost galaxy

Along ice-jammed river
Snow shrouded earth  buried memories

She and lover winging snow angels
Beneath violet sky   astral snowfall

She thinks of storm approaching
Outside the blinds   of outsiders like her

And January-born King   skin deep night
Voice     whirlwind of crystals

Dream   blaze on hope’s mountaintop
All Earth’s snow angels rising up

 

Photography © Susan Deer Cloud
Photography © Susan Deer Cloud

 

Susan Deer Cloud is a Catskill Mountain Indian. An alumna of Binghamton University and Goddard College, she has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, New York State Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, and an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. Her most recent book is Fox Mountain from FootHills Publishing. Her new collection, Hunger Moon, is forthcoming. The photos of the truck with the confederate flag were taken by Susan during Christmastime. “I would like to see every hater of those with darker skins,” she writes, “be required to do DNA testing so they could see who their first mother was and where she lived.”