Friday, April 17, 2015

America Asks About Justice - by Martin Willitts, Jr.

Martin Willitts, Jr.

My friend, Martin, sent me a link to his poem which follows. I decided to post it here as it is such a powerful message about America's place in the world.

I first met Martin when I was 18 years old. The way it happened was, I had read some of his work while on the editing team of a poetry magazine at Michigan State University called "The Circle Is A Perfect Line." He'd sent in several of his poems. Even then I could see his talent, and at that time he and I began to correspond by mail. I was then fortunate enough to have a mentor, Carolyn Forche, who helped me get accepted at Bread Loaf Writers Conference - a very prestigious thing for a young poet. So on my way to Bread Loaf, Vermont, I stopped off at Syracuse, New York to meet Martin in person. I remember that he took me to the Letchworth waterfalls which were magnificent. Together we bonded and shared a love of nature.

Martin Willitts, Jr. is one of the most underrated poets whose work I have had the privilege of reading. So I wanted to introduce you to his poetry in my modest blog.

America Asks About Justice

by Martin Willitts, Jr.

The world creeps along and we judged for 8 years
without moral authority,
like we were transporting bananas through fields of bones.
And we dare to ask about Justice.

Some church stating good intentions sends Bibles to cure AIDS.
Someone points out we must save the innocent
by bombing them for weapons they never had.
We stretch lazy across borders and ask about Justice.
The hypocrisy is packaged like corn flakes.

We made men stand naked on a small wavering box,
blindfolded as Lady Justice, a noose around their necks,
threatening to kick the box out from under them
like we were haggling over the price of gasoline.
This is the Justice we hand out like purple thumbs.

We justify our actions like we justify someone else's poverty.
We do not investigate the infected mold of FEMA trailers.
We do not investigate contaminated food given to the School Lunches.
But we allow fraud to exist in non-bid contracts to War contractors
who build things that fail the soldiers.
Justice is a smirking recruitment poster.

We would rather teach children about values
from a book written by a man who was arrested
after violating three of those values.
This is justice.
We bring justice like bombing raids.
When enough damage is done,
there will be final assessments
of the success or failure
although the end result does not matter.
Justice will be served on a platter like empty collection plates.

If you ask me about justice we have offered these eight years,
will I have an answer that matters?
Will justice come to take me away for speaking?

Martin Willitts Jr's recent poems appeared in Blue Fifth, Bent Pin, Glass, Flutter, Coal Hill Review, New Verse news, The Centrifugal Eye, Quiddity, Autumn Sky Poetry, and Sea Stories. His tenth chapbook is "Garden of French Horns" (Pudding House Publications, 2008) ad his second full-length book "Hummingbird" is forthcoming from March Street Press.

(author retains copyright)

"Herons Reflected In Water" - Poetic Origami by Martin Willitts, Jr.

Click here to see more of Martin's work and his poetic origami at 3 Lights Gallery

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Rodeo - A Poem by Patty Mooney

I feel like an imposter in my down-under hat
with kangaroos on it, I'm a downright hippy.
Would rather see a rattler sunning itself
in the outback than skinned for boots.
The cowboys have it figured, how to:
separate one bull from twenty,
rope a calf in five,
be a barnacle on the back of a bucking bronco.
The rodeo Bozo pops in and out
of an aluminum beer barrel
as inflamed bulls toss riders, snort
and stamp dirt. Those bulls
put on a show but in the end
they're roped and funneled back
into the holding pen, seething,
quelled. Tough meat.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Experiments with Peeps - A Poem by Patty Mooney

Pink Marshmallow PeepsImage via Wikipedia Pink peeps on Rice Krispie
baskets grouted in marshmallow.
Sweet peeps glisten
eyes wide, beaks mute.
Half-eaten peeps
headless and landfill-
bound after Easter.

The garbage truck strains
and grinds, shrieking
into the early morning
as though lending language
to those stiffened peep
corpses buried
under potato peelings,
congealed fat
and suburban stench.

Chirrup twitter chirp tweet !
Those tiny peep voices
rise in a sugary dirge.
Resiliency's an asset
as pink as a fresh
pack of peeps.
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Five Fingered Lily - A Poem by Patty Mooney

The Tiare Apetahi
perfumes the air,
a flower so rare it is mythical,
growing only on a Raitea cliff
that juts from the sea.
Three of us climb, slipping back,
then punching forward endlessly as
volcanic loam seeps into our boots.
Cloud underbellies murmur of rain.
Nutea disappears over a hill,
and behind him, my husband.
Alone, my frustration unleashes
its tropic downpour.

I shake the dirt from my shoes,
rub my complaining knees,
then continue the climb.
Nutea and Mark wait at the top
of a waterfall like eagles.
I’m nearly up when I slip
on polished rock, plunging
down a vertical river, a waterslide.
Mark descends to pluck me up,
and shoves me to the summit.
It's flat up here, the sky sapphire,
storm system gone. Nutea shouts,

"Tiare! Tiare!" pointing at glossy
green bushes
fisted with succulent five-fingers
named for the hand of a Princess
who died of a broken heart.

Nutea pulls a plastic container
from his pack,
and begins to fill it.
Suddenly, a heavy wind
conjures black clouds.
We look at the sky as the Tahitian
clamps his lid on fifty fingers.
The temperature plummets
ten degrees.

Thunder cracks the sky,
lightning fireworks.
Gusts of hail
sting flesh, plaster our clothing.
We race down the cliff,
weather chasing like Rottweilers.
I slip and slide on my ass
down marble-smooth boulder
with a rush of adrenaline
feeling lucky to be alive.

At the base of the waterfall,
the sun chews through the clouds,
the wind drops.
Those unruly dogs
jog back
to their master.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mourning Doves - Poem and Photograph by Patty Mooney

In the morning they stroll along the railing,
heads bobbing. He bends
to whisper to her, his speckled
feathers come to a sharp point,
her beige breast plumps.
By Spring they have built a nest
in the crook of the palm beside the deck.
She warms the eggs as he forages
for grubs at the feet of the fig trees.
After a week of cold storms
the nest is empty, no mother, no eggs
To the east the dagger wings of a raven,
its brazen "Caw!"
Two weeks nothing.
Then one day as sun butters the deck,
there they are, the tawny couple,
claiming their spot on the railing,
necking like teenagers.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Snake In A Pear Tree - A Poem by Patty Mooney

How strange to suck the sweet juice
of pears in their brief season,
as the snake mistakes these trees
for apple, attracted to the red blush.
Gnarled branches scratch its belly
as it winds along limbs
mottled by sun, blending in
with the hissing leaves.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Emergence of a Hummingbird - Photos and Story by Patty Mooney

It all started one Spring, when "Mom" decided to locate her nest outside our house by the garbage cans. The nest, about the size of a porcelain espresso cup, was positioned among the branches of our jasmine bush.

One day when Mom was out and about, capturing insects and stealing sips from the rose grenadine "cocktail" in the hummingbird feeder, I sneaked up and saw two perfect eggs in the nest. It's probably such a cliche to call them "perfect" but how else would you describe them?

Then one cool morning, when Mom was again off doing her own thing, I saw two balls of fuzz in the nest, their little bodies expanding and contracting quickly with their breaths. They seemed so exposed; we have a squadron of noisy crows that regularly patrols the area. But the leaves on the bush seemed a perfect foil.

A few days later, I noticed that one of the chicks was now dominating the nest, and the other one was either hidden or gone. Maybe it was best not to dwell on the fate of the one that was not destined to grow up to twitter in the nearby trees.

A few weeks after the appearance of the nest, you can see how this little fellow had grown big and fluffy, and almost too big for his teacup. His feathers are showing that incandescent hummingbird green. His eyes are open and he seems aware of me yet calm about it. Hummingbirds are so fascinating, aren't they!