Contro Verse 2

Aum Ah Loka Ah Hung

Jah Sirocco Loam Shekinah Sirrah Sung

Slippers and Tea

Flippers and Thee

Hi Dee Ho / Hi Dee Hee

Tee Hee Tee Hee

Bless me Holy Father for I have pinned

thy priests’ performance to a document of sins:

from raping little children to enslaving Indians,

from enflaming witches, to left freezing street denizens;

a bejewelled hierarchy,

women blamed and excluded;

the task overdue: Ask forgiveness — please the dead —

for doctrine of discovery, terra nullius, indebted payments

for lands and autonomy stolen, coloured citizens

fallen to a cross on one hand, larcenous sword of Jesus in t’other.

 

pray for the wind      for the curtains that bulge at windows

breeze to cool the fevers of memory

 

More, you say, more…. Economy’s profit, the crop tall and green;

but mono-, not poly-, lone farmer on empty plain,

without bison or predaceous partners:  no wolves, no bears —

no gophers, no hawks; fields of one plant, ahh Christ,

how’d I get stuck here, no neighbours,  no helpers,

just me ‘n’ this bleedin’ time-delimited scheme?

 

pleasant little creek      from the glacier’s tongue

meanders even froths      through high meadow

tasting the soil      its knowable limits

 

Pipe wrench and wires, screw threads and welds,

mechanico-industrial pumps roaring out dulled life, pitting

worker ‘gainst worker, race against race,

cis- against genders of any other;

theft      division and greed engrained industry’s

employment, wage slaves the norm, boss above workers;

owners on holiday, counting their harm.

 

oh lord won’t you grant me…

a seat round the fire

 

In the systems of robbery blue notes drone, counterpoint

to a march of military gore — the ordinary scheme of things.

Jazz rocks through agonies of approved comportment,

belies the instructive stance, upsetting the conditioned woes;

unseating the ministers to the dance floor of doom, the generals,

the hireling politicians chanting choruses after chorus

where the blood red river flows.

 

sing the silk road      sing the desert and mountains

horses and camels      elephants and yaks

sings with the animals       sings to the distant sea

oh hear the answers

 

Bludgeoned laughter

not so funny;

all that piss pot

full of money.

Sort out the good ‘uns,

kill all the bad;

lever up the leavings

for the little buggered lad;

lever up the leavings

that the women never had;

lost it on the shore,

lost it in the war,

tore up the deed

to the burning store.

 

 

by Philip Kienholz

Philip Kienholz studied creative writing at North Dakota State University and received a B. Arch from the University of Manitoba. Publishing credits include a 2016 book, Display: Poems; two chapbooks, The Third Rib Knife, and Born to Rant, Coerced to Smile, as well as poems in journals: Whirlwind, Windsor Review, Greenzine, River Dhamma, Links, Poetry Halifax, Global Tapestry Journal, NeWest Review, Cutting Edge, Quarry, Atticus Review, Whetstone, Prairie Fire, Ecospeak, and Crazy Horse.

Kummerspeck

I.

In German, Kummer means grief.

 

My grandmother died twice: the first time was a lie.

My mom asked a friend to call her at work with a fake family emergency. Afterwards, we drove to Paducah and ate Arby’s french fries.

My mother talked about how awful my grandmother was and told me I should be grateful I had a great mother.

 

The second time was the truth.

My grandmother passed out drunk outside her trailer in rural Oklahoma in the middle of winter. They found her on the first of January, her bones frozen and her fingers cold.

 

My mother laid in bed and wept for hours. She cried until she threw up, until words could no longer escape her mouth. She cried until she found it difficult to breathe, her chest concaving in rapid and hectic spurts.

 

II.

There are words in German that can’t be translated into English.

 

These words travel down linguistical rivers and get lost in the current.

Words that dangle from broken driftwood.

 

III.

Kummerspeck is the German word for the rolls of fat that have accumulated around my mother’s waistline.

 

Kummerspeck cannot be translated into English.  When all emotions are abandoned, it translates to grief bacon.

 

VI.

My mother used to starve herself

She would only nibble her food

This was back when daddy would hit her every time she said something he didn’t like

She thought the faster she wasted away,

The faster her bones protruded from bruised and beaten skin

The faster she could escape

 

V.

After my grandmother died, my mother became fat.

Her stomach bubbled over her jeans.

Her bones became lost under pounds of adipose tissue

She taught me food was a substitute for therapy

And warmth

And words that were too hard to say out loud.

 

by Brittny Meredith

Brittny Meredith was voted “most opinionated” in high school and has since considered it a challenge to remain the loudest, most obnoxious woman in the room. She co-hosts the podcast, Mansplaining, where she analyzes hyper-masculine culture within action films. Her work has been published in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Graceless.

Indiana Dunes State Park

Grievance is impatient;

Grief is patient.

 

On the sidewalk outside the Millgate Inn,

in a baseball cap, with a catcher’s mit,

it waits at 4:15 P.M. Father had promised

the dunes sculpted by wind and water

last summer and all autumn then

Persona of the displaced roots,

the tiding stem that broke ground

in winter before one last freeze,

Only a slip of a feral bud speaks

but the scent of its voice drowns

in the evening bustle of bawdymen

roughhousing toward homekept ladies.

On the pavement so many once like itself

spread from the factory gate like Jews

rushing from Cossacks; the furnace

of the mill is the eye and the heart

of the Czar. The feral bud

waits for the thick hand

of its planter to pluck it up

into the swirl of homerush,

the scent of its voice on the ear

of the old man whose grace

levels the pavement. Today,

it will say, will we go Dunes–

to the dunes and write in the sand.

 

A strange rough cloth stands behind

the bud; it is the messenger

who carries the charred boot.

Dew on the first petal of the flower;

winter comes again. The street

empties while the petals unfold.

The tiding stem woodens;

it is a line pointing, a ray outward

toward the center, pistil and stamen.

Like a lump of slag, the seed planter

in a steel vase is lowered, is planted.

The sapling headstone erect without word.

He had wanted no words on him.

Give me a tree on my chest; it is best,

for I have made roots where there were

once none.

So I shall stand forever in the tree,

in one place.

Sea-oats imported, planted on dunes

that had long squirmed like a worm’s

belly on hot pavement, going nowhere.

The sea-oats’ dying blackened dunes

with their dust; they have reddened

sunsets with pollen, done the work of ages.

The dunes are a place or remnant of place

before the sea-oats worked it, drained

the tidal pools, and flattened the world

as it was. The sea-oats shaded the grass,

nurtured the feral buds,

became food for trees.

 

Be no flower on another man’s lapel,

he had said; be a wild rose

thorny and elegant and wild

like the grass at the dunes

The trees became houses then homes.

History began in these homes,

repeated the world as it was,

and that world as it was then

became the world as it is now

The Dunes. Sculpted by wind.

The furnace fires.

My father’s tree,

my tree, its roots in place.

 

 

by John Horvath Jr

Mississippian John Horváth Jr publishes internationally since the 1960s (recently in Munyori Review (Zimbabwe); Broad River Review (print). Pink Litter, and Olentangy Review). After Vanderbilt and Florida State universities, “Doc” Horváth taught at historically Black colleges. Since 1997, to promote contemporary international poetry, Horváth edits www.poetryrepairs.com.