(Patient endurance of hardship, injury, forbearance)
Dedicated to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock
by Brenda Berry
The abject audacity of
White Man’s capacity
for perpetual rapacity
through blatant mendacity
the depravity of the noble warrior …………. sickens me.
Those whose innate ability
a natural proclivity
to stand with dignity
testament of magnanimity ………………… Save the water.
destruction of humanity
disfunction or insanity?
An act of profanity
born of greed and vanity ……………….. it’s all about money.
expressed with ferocity
grows the atrocity
feeds the monstrosity
so much pomposity
devoid of reciprocity ……………………. sitting in ivory towers
With mindful clarity
of the insincerity
they gathered in solidarity
a shift in polarity
to stand valiantly ………………………. and change the world
Bio: Brenda Berry, a professor of happiness & delight, celebrates love - in all its forms. A wedding celebrant, certified holistic health practitioner & Reiki Master teacher, she lives contentedly in Winchester with her beloved husband, John, and Yorkie companions, Lily & Molly.
Flight of Knowledge
They have no sea to swim in.—Marina Zalesski
by James B. Nicola
The things to know, they never knew, nor knew
they didn’t know. So what were they to do
when crisis came? They had no sea to swim
in. When they had us, things were growing grim,
but no one knew they were. We swam on sand,
indulged, adored, well-fed. And it was grand
not knowing all there was to know about,
nor how to go about finding out.
How good we feel about ourselves still, though,
not knowing, and not knowing we don’t know.
I have a dream, though, sometimes, of a sea
far from the sand’s self-styled democracy
where schools are fearless: even guppies, taught
to navigate the wetter world of thought.
There, fins turn, every now and then, to wings
(as in the Escher print) from knowing things
like how to look within and how to look
without; or how to find an honest book
to help us see, at night, the light of day;
the Way to Know, or how to know the Way;
and not just look and think, but that we should;
that with true thought, there’s nothing that we could
not do; and that no truly worthwhile thoughts
can be contained or cast in such dry dots+
as we’ve been filling in on data sheets
for The Machine That Doesn’t Read, but eats.
All makes sense in my dream!
And then I wake,
made blank once more, though with a plangent ache
all over, like a memory of yore
that Once Upon a Time we learned to soar.
Bio: James B. Nicola's poems have appeared in the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; and in Green Silk Journal. His four poetry collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page (2016), Wind in the Cave(2017), and Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018). James's nonfiction book Playing the Audiencewon a Choice award. His poetry has won two Willow Review awards and been nominated six times for a Pushcart. sites.google.com/site/ jamesbnicola.
What Else Is On
by Frederick Pollack
For a second, writing something
that pleased me, I wasn’t (as per usual)
reduced to pure will absorbed in an idea,
but saw my hand all but guided,
shoulders hugged by one or several
figures, warmly smiling, I
smiling. I think my mother was there,
and several women I’ve loved, but not
specifically they. The work
was good, they praised and shared
its goodness, it partook
of theirs. Normally, my stuff
reeks of testosterone, icy detachment
and all that (but keeping lines open
to pity, grief, etc.). I’m more
than willing to admit, however,
that women are more real
than men: that hunch
which drives right-wingers crazy. Being
comparatively ghostly has advantages
and doesn’t rule out hating other ghosts.
In any case, that moment
of creativity cradled by, merging with
warm breasts, though somewhat anomalous,
deserved thirty lines.
Bio: Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press), and two collections, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many other poems in print and online journals.