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Poetry 2 Fall 2021


Labor Day Storm, 2021 tanka

     by Gerard Sarnat


Now, listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the Texas
I'll tell you 'bout the Texas radio
I'll tell you 'bout the hopeless night
Wandering the Western dream
Tell you 'bout the maiden with wrought iron soul

 The Doors, Texas Radio and the Big Beat



Let’s use holiday

not just for leisure, but to 

dedicate energy so 

Court’s new abortion rules won’t 

force women into labor.


Bio: Gerard Sarnat won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest, the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for handfuls of 2021 and previous Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published including in Hong Kong Review, Tokyo Poetry Journal, Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Arkansas Review, Hamilton-Stone Review,Northampton Review, New Haven Poetry Institute, Texas Review, Vonnegut Journal, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, Monterey Poetry Review, The Los Angeles Review, and The New York Times as well as by Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Columbia, North Dakota and University of Chicago presses. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles, Disputes, 17s, Melting the Ice King. Gerry is a Harvard-trained physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently he is devoting energy/ resources to deal with climate justice, and serves on Climate Action Now’s board. Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to potential future granddaughters. 




Green Dreams

      by Joan Mazza


He struggles up the two shallow steps

to the lectern, excited to lead a discussion

at the library about possibilities of the future:

directed human evolution through genetic

modifications. We’ve already improved

our bodies with new knees and hips,

pacemakers and prosthetics. Next up—


nanotechnologies and uploading consciousness

to an immortal digital system while

freeing us from the entropy of fragile bodies.

The future will give us better memories,

more creativity, strength, endurance,

perhaps the wisdom to get along

and not be run by unconscious longings,


desire determined by hormones, family

myths, and religion. For a moment,

he loses his way in a mind gone cloudy

with pain and medication, but finds

again his footing his chosen path, tripping

but not falling. He’s eager for this future

where robots will do grunt work,


where everyone will have enough.

Pleasure might be virtual, but will feel

real. A world without malaria or anemia,

without hunger and bombs. We’re on

a trajectory toward peaceful lives

where we can develop our full potential,

conquer the resistance of pathogens


and those who don’t want to learn. Celebrate

the curious, the innovators. He emails

links to videos, recommends books,

says he doesn’t want a simple, dull

contentment. He wants to be on fire.

Outside the cool library, the sun is burning.

The planet’s heating up faster and faster.


Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist and psychotherapist, and has taught workshops nationally with a focus on dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), and her poetry has appeared in Poet Lore, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The MacGuffin, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia. www.JoanMazza.com




To Move a Whale

      by Haley Johannesen


Townspeople, a curse of a town, 

Watch the shadow of the whale on a house,

cast over playgrounds-

children, they dared each other, lean against it, 

heads toward the skies,

but none did.


He sat alone, the loneliness of islands

next to the shopping carts and peels of things

rotting and smelling, strong winds.


There had been others, 

but none who stayed so long. 

The biggest yet, men said, gold in their mouth. 


Everyone had agreed to wait for the hurricane.

Back into the salt and sea, 

to seal him under, as if he never was. 


He would have wanted it this way, they said. 

It will be better for the town, it is costly, I’ve heard,

to move a whale. 


Covered in birds, ocean vines like lace doilies 

A young couple might have carved initials in him, some say. 

The wind came, cold. 

Today is the day. Like a gull takes to the wind. 


Secure your roofs, buy water and cans of soup. 

He’s wavering in the sand. 

Hope it's right when you die old and bony. 


Bio:Haley Johannesen is a high school English teacher living in Iowa City, Iowa. She lives with her husband and two cats. She enjoys reading, writing, and baking. Her favorite book of 2021 is Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette.