Jazz Suite, Waltz Number 2 by Shostakovich
by Rusica Bedewel
“The most powerful, quirky music ever written.”
—Ewald E. Eisbruc
Waltz Number 2 by Shostakovich is both gorgeous and
touched by grotesquerie. Its sweep is beautiful and grand,
though its long, suave, melodic lines, sweet and continuous,
have dark, absurd buffoons, ridiculous and ominous,
the pizzicati strings, the snare drum’s tapping tac-tac-tac.
It seems like it is ever trying to get off its track.
His work of 1938, C-minor and E-flat,
leaves one expecting carousels or swinging acrobats.
Still, it’s quite mem’rable from intro by the clarinet
to booming sounds contrasting with discrete, neat disconnects.
Rusica Bedewel is a poet fond of Russian music. Among the composers he admires are Rubenstein, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsly-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Tiomkin, Khachaturian, and Shostakovich.
Jan Ingenhauz (1730-1799)
by Sir Bac de Leeuw
Jan Ingenhauz was a Dutch biophysiologist,
best known for his discovery of photosynthesis,
by demonstrating light was needed for the process of
green plants converting oxygen from CO2 above.
He also aided in the fight against the smallpox plague,
inoculating even Hapsburgs on his learned way,
by pricking them with needles coated with the smallpox germs,
successfully developing immunity for them.
He once described the movement of coal dust on alcohol,
and thus presaged pedesis later seen by Robert Brown.
Sir Bac de Leeuw is a poet fond of the Dutch scientists, like van Leeuwenhoek, Huygens, Lorentz, Snell, Stevin, and Ingenhauz.
Along Route 66
by Cal Wes Ubideer
for Lorna Davis
Along Route 66, in southern California, in
Mohave Desert National Preserve, the rocks and wind
are nearly all that’s left of all those towns I-40 passed:
like Amboy, Bristol, Cadiz, Danby, Essex, Fenner, Goffs…
Off of I-40 one discovers ghost-town sites galore;
between Barstow and Needles places sit that are no more.
So many names, so many stops, that time has swept away…
it’s hard…to think…it happens now…within the passing day.
And yet, this is the fate of even Earth’s most modern sights,
no matter what the moment shows us at our present heights.
Cal Wes Ubideer is a poet of California.
Clive James Is Holding Court
by Walibee Scrude
“This is the cactus land.”
—T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men
He left Australia, oh, so, very many years ago,
it hardly seems he ever was Australian, even though
there’s something in Clive James that makes him seem Australian yet,
his self-dramatic attitude and striving after wit.
And now I hear he is retreating from the World because
of emphysema and leukaemia. O, what once was—
the fires in his mind—are dying fast. His phrases drift.
This is the dead calm, his watch-band, too loose about his wrist.
Tonight he leaves his audience content. He was the ghost
they wanted at the banquet, Banquo. Macbeth was the host.
Walibee Scrude is a poet of Australia who very much admires the poetry and prose of Clive James.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at Wallace Stevens
by Lew Icarus Bede
He’s dead. He eschewed rhyme. He was vice president once of
the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company.
His wife’s profile was used for the Mercury dime design.
None of his family came to his wedding, and that caused a breach.
He, born in Reading, ended up in Writing, poesy.
The year he died, he won the Pullizer. He liked Key West.
With Robert Frost he argued, but hit Ernest Hemingway,
who then knocked Wallace Stevens to the street repeatedly.
He was inspired by inventiveness, Klee and Cézanne.
He was of three minds, like a tree with three blackbirds in it.
He loved each line. He blessed the day. He ran no sprint—won one.
Lew Icarus Bede is a poet and critic.
by Waseel Budecir
He rode in to Manhattan on a New York subway train,
the Bangladeshi Muslim, filled with hatred and disdain.
Enroute from Brooklyn, in the morning, he was going to
the city center just to kill as many as he could.
The immigrant had hoped to murder hundreds with his bomb,
inspired by Islamic State—he wanted Christmas gone.
His pipe bomb was a combination, Velco and zip ties,
and it was also partially made out of Christmas lights.
He filled his bomb with shrapnel, nails, in hopes he could blow up
the maximum grand total in the crowded transport hub.
Waseel Budecir is a poet of Pakistan.
The Golden Temple
by Sri Wele Cebuda
The Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib,
sits on the Sarovar, a holy tank
fed by the Ravi River, built to be
a place of worship for all to come thank
God equally, and there participate
in langar, its communal meal, free.
It draws one-hundred-thousand every day,
who seek this shrine that’s holy to the Sikh.
To reach it, one must cross the causeway first.
To enter any one of its four doors,
one must go down. In day, or night, golds burst
from off its sides, its gleaming amber pours.
Despite pollution and the daily haze,
its brilliance is Amritsar’s greatest praise.
Sri Wele Cebuda is a poet of India.