RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – August 26, 2015

August 27, 2015

Claudia Serea

One October Morning

Maria, God said to my grandmother,
let the kids pick the grapes.

Leave the boiling pot
and your daughter-in-law
to chop onion for soup.

Leave the men waiting
for the first shot of tuica
at 10 a.m.

When you hear your name,
leave everything.

Don’t try speaking
to your granddaughter,
for I’ll clench your jaw
and numb your tongue.

Don’t fight
the cold wave
lapping at your feet.

Don’t try standing by the stove,
for I’ll make your knees melt
and your ankles give.

I’m sending for you
my trusted eagle.

She’ll tap at the window,
fly inside without a sound,
reach down your throat
with her beak

and pick your breath.

Maria, I’m calling you by name.

The eagle is here,
in the room.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – August 19, 2015

August 20, 2015

Janet Kolstein


She wanted to be
the woman behind the man
and dye her hair green;
then there was the near-rape
in Mexico,
the dash into the street,
better dead, she said, than defiled.

Nothing was taboo.
No word forbidden,
a liquid world of speech
swelling our senses,
dampening arguments and eyes —
waves of recognition,
a bath of accord.

I bought all her illusions —
her flicker in stainless steel.

The expanse of our talks
made our tongues dry,
and we slaked them with coffee,
with wine, with Coke on ice.
We made ourselves laugh
to hear what happy could sound like.

Reputations turned on spit.
Each was the caretaker
of the other’s secrets,
a confidence unbroken,
no names.


WCW – Mark Fogarty

August 14, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

Plus the words of William Carlos Williams
and open readings from the floor

Contact: John Barrale – john.barrale@gmail.com

MARK FOGARTY believes, like Shelley, that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. He is a poet, musician, and journalist from Rutherford, NJ. He is the managing editor of The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow and emcees the monthly poetry/music reading at GainVille Café, also in Rutherford. He has read his poetry extensively in New York and New Jersey and has had poetry in more than 20 publications. He is the author of five books of poetry from White Chickens Press: Myshkin’s Blues, Peninsula, Phantom Engineer, Sun Nets, and Continuum: The Jaco Poems.

from In Memory of Thomas Ortiz

This high pueblo is isinglass,
the water in the cistern freezes near the sky.
In the clouded ice you can see down a thousand years,
the padres, conquistadores, spirits of the dead.
The dead stay close, the wind tugs them,
they funnel down through rings
and collect in the kiva
on Catholic holy days.
St. Stephen winces but lets them through.
The bishop won’t like it but he’s not here.
Down a thousand years he remembers
how rain washed out the trail
and the stranded ones on top leapt to their death.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – August 12, 2015

August 13, 2015

Wayne L. Miller

Somewhere Else

I pick up a stick and dig a hole.
If I stand the stick straight up,

where on Earth does the bottom point to?
Google labels my fidget map tunneling.

An app calculates that I’m pointing
into the Indian Ocean, not far from Perth.

I learn that Tangier is opposite Christ Church,
and Hawaii is opposite a park in Botswana.

I swivel the stick, crossing cities and towns,
beaming Hey, I’m here, on the other side.

When my hand stills— where am I pointing?
What is the latest news? Who sings the popular songs?

Tracing a precise ellipse would sweep the equator,
but the app doesn’t have that feature.

Which circle’s diameter would intersect where the planet’s
mantle rests on the iron core, or the crust on soft mantle?

I think about pointing into the 32 Southern constellations,
starting with the Southern Ecliptic Pole in Dorado.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 29, 2015

August 1, 2015

Mark Fogarty


When you’re your authentic self every single day, without shame — life sort of falls into place.
— Seimone Augustus

“She wanted to taste my deliciousness,” said Seimone
After the game, but there was more to it than that.
Taurasi’s team was going down, there’s nothing
In this world she hates more than to lose,
And this was the finals, for all the bright rings.
So instead of grabbing Seimone to foul, she kissed her.
On the cheek. Sweet, and not so sweet.
A kiss for the victor, Seimone wins this time.
But also a foul, maybe even a technical foul,
And a Judas kiss as well, marking Seimone
To go down the next time they met.

The following year, Diana made sure her team won.

I should dislike Diana Taurasi, but I can’t.
She went to UConn, and I went to Rutgers,
Enough said. But Diana is the fiercest competitor
On the entire planet, the one you pick first
When choosing teams. She’s the best
Female hooper to date. This year she’s sitting out,
Wooed away by Russian billionaries
Who pay her $1.5 million, a free apartment,
Rides to away games on the oligarch’s jet.
I never rooted for her team, but I kind of miss
The way she cuts my team up with her fiendish passes,
Her moves to the hole, her pullup and score.
I miss the bun of hair she pulls back so tightly
My head hurts. I want to taste her deliciousness again.

Seimone Augustus was engaged for a full five years.
No, she wasn’t dithering about it.
She couldn’t marry her wife until now.
I teared when I read her essay on marriage.
She loves her spouse like I loved my spouse,
Like you love your spouse. No different.
Sweet as the move to the hoop, the circle
All the energy flows through. I too
Want to kiss Seimone Augustus, chastely,
On her tender and triumphant cheek,
Now that the veil has been lifted,
Now that there is no gay marriage, just marriage.


RWB Poets at NYC Poetry Festival, July 26, 2015

July 28, 2015

Claudia Serea hosted. The readers were John Barrale, Wayne L. Miller, Zorida Mohammed, Mark Fogarty, and Anton Yakovlev.

Pictures on Facebook.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 22, 2015

July 24, 2015

Janet Kolstein


There were two ways to go,
and he stood to let me pass,
cigarette smoke swirling around
and above our heads
back in the days when it was so.

Should I face him?
Brush up against him missionary-style,
chest and loin,
swish, swish.

Should I politely turn my back on him?
My rear to his fly,
carefully trying not to topple
the glasses of wine and beer
making wet rings on wood
in the darkly-lit bar.

The controlled cacophony was a smile,
late night music
of new beginnings.

What songs were played,
and what I heard,
lay chilled as chardonnay.


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