undocumented immigrant

a wave good-bye a hug, a kiss parentless a thirsty Hispanic teen travels north on blazing train-car roofs and searing dirt roads away from king-pin violence and cold fear towards warm streets paved of gold caught crossing the border an embarrassed patrol worker whispers aquí está su casa billete de autobús   by John Sweeder John Sweeder is a retired …

Hope

My hope is a blue fluffy pillow. A mirror of the sky, there to cushion my falls. It glows; sunlight through a window.   My hope is the city. The smell of cigarettes mingling with bus exhaust. Empty sky with stars on the ground in orderly lines.   My hope is the ocean. Giving and taking. Advancing and receding. Salty …

The Ways of Peace

–dedicated to Gandhi and King   wage a war of peace a war of peaceful ways a war of peaceful means   let violence be validation of violent let murder be mandate of murderers let bloodstains stain bloody, blood soaked hands   but let conquerors conquer by means of peace.   wage a war of peace a war of peaceful …

Dark Odyssey

(Inspired by Patrick Leigh Fermor) In dark latitudes beyond the mountains clouds gather fluorescent and frosted in a disturbing array shivering with summer lighting Unknown figures in the wilderness bode ill with spells and charms keep close to spreading spokes of campfire light In unreported river islands lies an atmosphere of pre-historic survival where children look like the adults the …

Josef Krebs

Conquests illuminate weaknesses   Conquests illuminate weaknesses As pastels set off primaries We are all relative to primates and colors Tripping strapped to the desk Eclipsed by ourselves Hidden beneath the surface Unknown unborn Irrational suppositions on existence Keep us occupied While we wait for the real moments Of transcendence and transformation Into something worthwhile Opinioned to be The next …

A Quarter Century of Consequence

Because the window in my heart was left open wide The cold crept in quietly to chastise vein miracles.   Because the cold crept in quietly to chastise vein miracles The breath frosted over in wisps of ether demons.   Because the breath frosted over in wisps of ether demons The downy innocent flesh tingled untouched in restless slumber.   …

The Medal

We were dug in beside the intersection of two roads under the stars when we saw three guys running up to the intersection with packs on their backs. They started planting roadside bombs. We killed two and took the other prisoner. The prisoner screamed all the way into base in Arabic, “fuck you” the only thing clear in all that …

La Nación

Tonight, I read like John Coltrane played, unfurl my jazz voice, make scotch-and-soda eyes to the crowd, syncopate my way into the snap-finger backroom, into the dark corner where the slick-haired man with the paint brush mustache, thick-lensed eyeglasses, and loose lower lip presses his nose into the pages of La Nación, and when I open fire from my throat, …

Glory Bound: Children’s Home Thanks Donor for Station Wagon

Photo printed with Funding Appeal, 1965   That behemoth Bel-Air, its tail stopped by a tree, lurches outside the photo frame hiding its eyes, but most of all stilling its mouth – metal teeth in a tight grill tensed to spill the truth. It knows too much of the four posed along its flank, its silver trim and steel doors …

Postcards from the Knife Thrower

June 27 Deadwood, SD   God has more surprises. The sun is not hot. Stars are not light. Grass appears to bend, is rigid. I send away grief. I want change. Want it good; the back forth of seesawing guilt, the black-white of yearning. The earth is mud-scarred red and green. This is what desire feels like, it’s our slow-wicked …

A Way

put to light what you like you need let out of the deep gnawing in you go all the way down then a little more each time down and you will eventually take Holden and Phoebe Caulfield by the hand bringing them up out of the basement into the great room where the three of you play naked bingo with …

Rain

It rained all day that Saturday. In the evening Dad saw frogs in the garden and wondered where they had come from. Mom said that she had heard tell of frogs that fell from the sky. I said that frogs were the second plague of Egypt and that they invaded the bedrooms of the Egyptians. That worried Dad. I went …