Poetry Drawer: Four Poems by Ken Pobo

PUERTO RICO, 2017

No food or drinking water–
we prayed. Jesus tripped
over the generator.
The hospital ship
Holds supplies and beds,
no way to get them
to those who right

                               this very minute
are dying.

We hung compassion
for a quarter. Took a stick,
beat the corpse.

A COMPLAINT AND A WARNING

Hey you there, Sky, I’ve had enough dull grey,
I’m going to kick your ass out of state.
My blue crayon will colour you away.

I used to like you in a tepid way,
yet you refuse to leave. We wait and wait.
Hey you there, Sky, I’ve had enough dull grey

serving tomorrow a dead yesterday.
Your mist dots our paint-scraped-off swinging gate.
My blue crayon will colour you away

or what if I use turquoise to turn day
into morning glories? Tendrils create.
Hey you there, Sky, I’ve had enough dull grey–

my dad called it dismal seepage. OK,
you’re on notice. It’s time to celebrate.
My blue crayon will colour you away

make you a painting by Jean Dubuffet,
a kaleidoscope yard. It’s not too late.
Hey you there, Sky, I’ve had enough dull grey—
my blue crayon will colour you away.

EVIDENCE

A black eye?
Not enough.
The Bishop said to return
to your husband–
we all wrestle with temper.

It wasn’t temper. Maybe
you could have asked
a friend to film it. No,
evidence is wind.
It blows away
so everything looks the same.

You did marry him,
didn’t you?
It’s your fault.
Yes, it is
disturbing.

How can we know?
Why should we
believe you?

EVIDENCE 2

We score entry essays—
students must disclose how
they use evidence in school
and in life. I saw evidence
sit alone while partiers rhumbaed,
thought I should ask evidence

for one quick cha cha,
but I can’t cha cha—
or even samba, am pretty
much of a wallflower too.

When I fell in love for keeps
I had scant evidence that,
25 years later, I’d be peeling
potatoes in the kitchen while you
watch You Tube upstairs.
The evidence I had said Run,
run, get out now, don’t look back!

I ignored it and lived,
happily enough ever after,
at least that’s what the most
recent evidence suggests.

Inky Interview Special: Poet Ken Pobo From Pennsylvania

Poetry Drawer: And Again by Kenneth Pobo

Poetry Drawer: Let Me Be Weak by Stephen Mead

A half hour, an hour.
No one has to know.
You can fold your hands
about my wrists
as though they were stems.
You can hold your arm
about my back,
the shoulders,
the hips/
and lean me right over.
I’ll be malleable satin.
I’ll be soft water showering.
I’ll surrender, submit,
passive but for passion
and a will that,
for awhile, just
needs to yield.

Feel.
These are my edges,
and with them I’ve buffed days.
I’ve reflected the hard facts.
Yet I trust you will not snap
what time itself
has yet to.

Inky Interview Special: Stephen Mead, Poet and Multi-Media Artist from Albany NY

Poetry Drawer: Lowering The Lights by Stephen Mead

Poetry Drawer: A Lesson in Composition by Robert Beveridge

As I slipped into sleep, I wrote
a poem in my head with an expensive
fountain pen on silk.

                           When I awoke
I discovered it had been a dream,
the writing done with a leaky
inconsistent ballpoint on toilet
tissue, and I was left to reconstruct
what I could, a project
too often abandoned.

Inky Interview Special: Poet (& Noise Maker) Robert Beveridge, from Akron, Ohio

Poetry Drawer: The Drowned City by Robert Beveridge

Poetry Drawer: Three Human Traits by Professor John J. Brugaletta

THREE HUMAN TRAITS?

“Love, faithfulness, and compassion…. These are attributes

modern studies of the human mind do not attribute to us,

at least without converting them first into forms of self-

interest.” Marilynne Robinson

1. LOVE

We use the word to mean our feelings about
lust and the act of it, someone’s restored car
or living room, our dog, our freedom
(whether we have it or not), days off work,
being at a rollicking party, or alone in silence.

So it’s meaningless, that overused cliché,
without specifying devotion, friendship, or
intimacy. With field filled with
pretty young women, men often assume
the ever-ready default: coitus.

But the father who pushes his son out of
the way of a speeding car and being hit
himself damages that skeptical assumption.
We have platonic love—or some of us do.

2. FAITHFULNESS

And yet how strong the urge to intimacy
the straight man has when faced with
a woman whom most would call beautiful.
But some resist the urge because they thought
it loathsome to betray their wives’ trust.

Or what of the captive soldier, tortured
to reveal his country’s military secrets,
but who stands fast for years? You see
that there can be a trait called faithfulness.

3. COMPASSION

The word gives rise today
to a perverse type of faith in
the selfishness of humankind.

We automatically roll our eyes
at the briefest mention of
altruism; and then we are
treated to a secular sermon on
the hard nose versus the soft heart.

It’s true that a long caravan
is safer than a lone traveler,
but it’s also true that the man
who falls on a hand grenade
dies to save his compatriots.

So the perverse argument fails
to prove compassion a ghost.
We are left then with explaining
the inexplicable, the man
who died to save his friends.

Inky Interview Exclusive: Professor John J. Brugaletta from California State University, Fullerton

Inky Articles: Professor John J. Brugaletta: Two Hypothetical Poles Of Thinking While Writing Poetry

Poetry Drawer: Sonic Threshold of the Sacred: To William Carlos Williams: by Rus Khomutoff

What waxes wanes
the enforced reincarnation hour
and green quartz veins
over the mind of pride
nonentities
Nowhere you!
Everywhere the electric!
the golden one
living in a poetic world, devouring words
these are the thoughts that run rampant
love paves the way to our existence

Inky Interview Exclusive: Rus Khomutoff, a Neo-Surrealist Poet From Brooklyn

Poetry Drawer: Prisoner of Infinity: To Felino A. Soriano by Rus Khomutoff

Poetry Drawer: And All Of Them: To A.S.J. by Gabriella Garofalo

And all of them you’ll see dead, still dead,
All of them, cities, towns, hamlets
Dead still, life forever runaway –
So, please don’t fret, my grass, my trees, my friends,
I know what you’re looking for:
Death getting them as soon as the streets stop
Hugging homeless, beggars and cripples,
Death getting them as soon as the streets lock their walls,
Let’s throw away those who can’t afford the front-row seats
Aren’t all streets heartless gods or nasty stepmothers? –
No names, please, those blue twilights fighting like thugs,
Nor do you deserve the lost items the thugs gave you
To eject lost souls to a maze of harvests, pomegranates,
And who cares, souls are such foul fighters,
The choicest food for harvest celebrations –
Oh, God, you here? How nice! And whom is your cyder for?
Maybe for the renegade days,
Maybe for the minds shacking up with a rotten silence,
Or that tricky equation we call life,
Only it’s just a wild loss, so drop it quick, c’mon,
All his life the sky’s been stalking women, he know best,
The limbs deep in the water, the words junked from traps and blows –
Look, God, give your cyder to demise, as she never yields
To green briberies, or the white of clouds, you know?
No charm, no shape, no playing by deception,
Only hunger, the evil bite to our flesh –
I know, I know, green is bloody hungry, oh, and before I forget
Any use for his scraps of lives?
What a daft gift, a waste of colours while death
Runs fast to gather falling souls,
Look, don’t you worry for there is room
Where they shake like scared poems –
Trust me, the lovely porticoes rife with rain and flowers
Will get their gift, who knows, maybe an unchained river,
Maybe the earth dancing berserk in a game of one-upmanship –
Clashing like cicadas’ songs or, if you wish,
The wicked subtlety of mornings,
The witches trilling sweet lullabies while making
Gingerbread houses for the kids.

Inky Interview Special: Italian Poet Gabriella Garofalo

Poetry Drawer: Asymmetry At Full Blast by Gabriella Garofalo

Poetry Drawer: Who She is Not by Karen Wolf

Like drool down a teething
baby’s chin, pleasantries roll
off her tongue. Her flattery soothes
the broken-hearted, encourages
the frustrated, comforts
the lonely—
part of who she is or who
she’s taught herself to be, not always
truthful, but expected.

She longs to strip
away her façade, level
the playing field with cruelties,
lies, baiting comments
drenched in satisfaction. Her
rebirth—
only moments away.

Poetry Drawer: The Drowned City by Robert Beveridge

When the water began
to fill the coalfields
I, the last inhabitant
of this city
had tied myself
to the basement post
looking for—what?—
a revelation?

Possible.

The water, coated
with coal dust,
swirled around my feet.
The rope tightened
around my neck.
The darkness
in my basement was pure.
I had to feel
the water
the coal dust

and I could feel
the great manuscripts of Florence

covered with coal
illuminated
with potential combustion
even as the water
permeated pages so thick
to be almost cloth.

As we drown
we have the potential
to burn.

What?
A revelation?
Possible.

Water around my waist now
cold as coal
cold as the mine in winter

and still the rope grows tighter
around my neck.

Water mains broke
in a thousand earthquakes
around the world last year
and flooded the streets.
Now certain third world countries
find it suitable
to sacrifice whatever
first comes to hand
on the anniversary of the flood

chickens, cows, in one
case a firstborn.

Water sustains us
but at times is our adversary.

A revelation?
Possible.

The rope soaked
and dusted.
I taste coal on my lips.
The last inhabitant
of this city,
I give myself
to whatever powers guide
these waters.

A revelation?

I wake up,
afloat,
clean.

Poetry Drawer: Lowering The Lights by Stephen Mead

Grey eyes, wolf’s, cold steel
in the glint with fire behind, steel
of a new street grid, a warmth
in that whiteness
glowing gold through the black
of its own holocaust….

Tender yet, it is animal fragrant,
mortal through the mist where
in absence, presence, absence,
we, hunted, touch through
tenements, the graffiti of city woods.

I draw close my curtains
as though inside the vestments
of your flesh robes, the fur & grey
gazes you pierce the lowered lamp
lights with,

& also my beating heart.

Check out Stephen Mead’s Inky Interview

Poetry Drawer: To Be or Not to Be by Robert Beveridge

And it’s always been so simple, hasn’t it?

The poets
stifled by their governments
their countries
some of them scream
and whine
and cry
that they are being
repressed—
shut up!

You have governments
that notice you
enough to stifle
your pitiful syllables—

look at Artaud
locked up and starved
for nine years
Artaud who was crazy
and locked up
and still wrote
the burning lines of France

look at Holan
crushed for fifteen years
under socialist censorship
all the time he wrote
all-night dialogues
with a paedophilic Hamlet
with Orpheus
and Eurydice
all he did
for fifteen years
was write
write lines stifled
by silly socialists
and Holan never whined once!

Writing bedridden
Holan’s hand
guided by Hamlet
and Orpheus
wine and music
something rotten
in the state of Czechoslovakia
repressed and asexual
yearning for a Eurydice
not in Hell
but maybe in Philadelphia

they took Shakespeare
by the tongue
and pulled him inside out
stretching glands and breaking bones
the bard’s words warped
and torn

leatherbound volumes
self-produced
given to friends
and never seeing
the light of day
transcriptions
of A Night with Hamlet

To be
or not to be?
And it’s always been so simple, hasn’t it?

Cleaving together
to be a writer
repressed by the government
not to be a writer
not to be a poet
in the eyes of your peers
an underground poet
in the truest sense
a poet
a poet!

Shun everything and write for fifteen years.

Take a pension
form the government
which represses you

twist all those fainting words
from seventeenth century
musical fools
and publish again
publish again
when the government sets you free

look the fire of Hamlet
straight in his one yellow eye
and burn
burn
cut your arms
and bleed
bleed
play your lyre
and sing
sing

rescue with your blood and fire and voice
your tarnished Eurydice
from the hell of Philadelphia
let your voice
spit blood
spew sweat
sing poetry
scream every syllable
of Beowulf
or A Night
with Hamlet,
till some underworld Pluto
takes pity on your plight,
releases your muse
from the burning brimstone
of Center City buildings,
take her away
and don’t look back,

maybe you’ll lose your muse
baby, but you never know—

let her follow you
to South Street,
meet your one-eyed Hamlet
on a street corner
then maybe,
just maybe,
your Eurydice
will catch up with you