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Poem by Jennifer Jean


May 28th, 2014
                                      ~for my husband Sebastien

Maya Angelou died today.
Farzana Iqbal was stoned by 20 men with bricks today.
Boko Haram hides and holds 219
school girls today. It has been 44 days. Maya
Angelou died today. 137 pages of
Elliot’s Misogynist Manifesto have been
shredded—it’s 6 days since Santa Barbara, since
he ravaged 19. Not all men,
some say. Yes all women, others say. Maya Angelou died
today. She was happy to go, I hear. She slept through it,
sweetly. The writer of
the “Rape Joke” poem made the New York Times today. And, I cannot
love you. Would you say
what the song sings, when the song says, “You
are every women in the world
to me?” When I don’t know you? When I can’t
gift myself? I don’t
have words for you. I know
Maya Angelou died today. It’s all over
the news. I know there are tender men.
Some are famous. (I’m thinking—Gandhi.)
The others die unknown. Like women,
they have moon faces. Phases. Everything
depends. They can be war. And I’m not anti-war,
per se. I just look like I am, like I look
like a vegetarian. I love
men, I think. Digesting is the trouble. I love you. 869 men
earned their honor by killing 869 women
in Pakistan. That’s the number we know today.
But night is dark. We know Farzana died with the day-
light, on the steps of the highest court, in the 2nd
largest city, in front of 52 police, lawyers, kin,
men. What can I do? What
does loving you do? Should I write? I stood up today
at an open mic and someone said, Maya Angelou died
today. The poetry there was terrible.
But the 28 poets were happy. Ms. Angelou
was happy too. Poetry makes
people sappy. And why should I care? What do I know? I get up
after 15 readers to read some righteous page poem and
I’ve no power. I’m not happy. Farzana was
3 months pregnant. What good
are we? I’m not right. Maybe I’m not people. You are
every man. You are ugly. You’ve done nothing wrong.
We have a son. He’s 11. Can I forgive him
for being a man? Not yet.
But you///Beautiful, did I tell you? Maya weeps
at 86, telling Oprah,
“God loves me!” She says it over and
over and over. And I’m not thinking, Oh yeah, Oprah. It’s more,
My God, where are you? And,
He’s all,
Where the hell are you?


Artwork © Ira Joel Haber
Artwork © Ira Joel Haber


Jennifer Jean’s latest collection, The Fool, can be purchased via her website. Jennifer blogs for Amirah, a non-profit advocacy group for sex-trafficking survivors; she is a key organizer of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival; and, she teaches writing and literature at Salem State University.

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 & 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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The Oddball Hour With PB n’ J, Episode 4: Tripping Out on Poetry

National Poetry Month Burnout is upon us. And it feels soooooo good! Join us for another episode of our podcast as Chad Parenteau, Toni Bee and Jason Wright return exhausted to the table mic with late night pizza and enough caffeine to share everything they’ve experienced so far this April. They also start gearing up for the Massachusetts Poetry Month next week! All that plus music sharing, unedited bloopers, free styling , and waaay too many shout outs to keep track of. If it sounds like we’re too exhausted and don’t care at some points, it’s because we care too much!!!

We are currently in the middle moving our podcast archive to a new online home. Until then, enjoy our podcast via YouTube! Thanks for listening.



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Save The Date! Oddball Magazine Is Going to The 2014 Massachusetts Poetry Festival

Designed by TJ Edson
Designed by TJ Edson

Come to Our Panel at The 2014 Massachusetts Poetry Festival
Stone Soup Presents Oddball Magazine
Friday, May 2, 2014, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Hawthorne Hotel, Sophia Room
Salem Massachusetts

In 2013, the long-running Stone Soup poetry series joined forces with an eclectic poetry journal to provide voices to various uncollected voices and gather them under one supportive banner. The journal has since expanded to include regular columns and features that help to support and promote Stone Soup and other artistic efforts in the Boston area and beyond. Please join us for a reading from Oddball’s most noted and regular contributors, including former Cambridge Poet Populist Toni Bee, Stone Soup host and organizer Chad Parenteau, and Oddball Magazine founder Jason Wright.

Keep visiting the Massachusetts Poetry Festival website for more information on this event and others.

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Salem Poetry Trials by Jason Wright

Witches are stupid
Poets kind of are like witches
We all stick to our covens
Our cauldrons
Our magic wand
But I couldn’t get down with witches
Back in Salem
When I was falling asleep in a crawlspace
PBR left out to warm
Ready to drink in the morning
Where I talked to the TV and
Branded myself blood brothers with Andrew
Where I left one morning
Nights and nights without sleeping
And decided to walk myself right into
A hospital
Salem rock city
That day after where we would walk to the park
With our guitars
and showcased new songs
At yellow dogged cafes
Where I would meet my friends and share songs
Oh how I loved them
I was sick then
And didn’t realize it
I’m sick now
But I deal with it
A lovely illness
Where unchecked you become
Solitarily confined to your own madness
I thought I would feel something up here
With all these wonderful poets
But I am not one of them
I write for life
Even in the mix of their cauldron
I still didn’t fit the mix
I always feel that my words are my life
And if I don’t share them with you
We will remain strangers
And within all these poetic parlor tricks
I am writing alone
On a park bench not a
Friend to share this with
I am alone
In my own ugliness.
On a beautiful day
I still feel sadness
It’s a lovely world
I’d rather be in this lonely
Wolf pack
Then a shadow beneath your feet
I’d rather be alone with my thoughts
Then the stars.