Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Wyatt Underwood's poem "To Computers and Oz"

I discovered you in 1965
you were eighteen and I was twenty-three
I felt like I had stumbled into a Norse doom
doom was what the Norse called fate
so it didn't have the grisly connotations doom has in English
but computer languages were like riddles, like puzzles
and I was asked to learn them, make them mine
then tease computers into solving problems we'd invented
how fast would a rocket climb?
how fast would fuel boil away?
how much fuel would a rocket need to...
oh!  I felt like a wizard solving those
and thrilled to take on the next ones
how does the spacecraft aim its camera?
and keep it from pointing at the sun?
and later how to use what we knew of gravity
to turn nothing more than doppler sounds
into probable locations of the spacecraft
it wasn't magic but it felt that way
and, better than magic, it worked
ah, computers, that was the trick of you
whatever we programmed you to do, you did
and that let us map the surface of the moon
and plan the trip to Mars and later Jupiter
the world was good then
I could and did forget Vietnam
Central and South America
it was just that one day when I looked up
the magic failed
I was a little tool in a big box of tools
and we were busy fooling people that we were doing good
we were the curtain the man used to disguise his tricks
and once the curtain began to tatter for some of us
soon it tattered for too many
and people no longer wanted to pay for the curtain
or for the man behind it
but by then he'd made himself indispensable
he and his minions swept away the shreds and bought a new curtain
velvet instead of linen
and it still works today
when Vietnam has become Afghanistan, Iraq, and whoever else we add
the man behind the curtain is busier than ever before
and I have lost the ability to see how he spreads good works
as well as so much misery
come on, Oz-makers!
weave us your spells again!

© 2019 Wyatt Underwood

Wyatt Underwood has been participating in the Los Angeles poetic communities since late January 2010.  He has published six books of poems and has had a collection of his poems published by World Stage Press.  He co-hosts or hosts at three sequences of open mics - at the Encino - Tarzana Branch Library, at the Westwood Branch Library, and at Beyond Baroque in Venice.  He participates at maybe a dozen other sequences of open mics scattered around Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Jack Henry's poem "and all for naught"

the ringing in my ears
never fades
day or night,
a constant screaming,
high pitched death wail,
it brings the madness,
it is the key that unlocks
my mind –

i sit in traffic,
ears ringing,
madness cresting through my skin,
an itch incurable,
a woman on a phone
talks loudly,
i hear her,
every word,
she is not hands free,
just talking & talking & talking -

& next to me
a man in a flash car
shiny bright
texts his mother,
or his brother,
or his mistress
as he

& my hands grip
the ringing & ringing
people slowing
& passing &
take it
anymore –

I pull off
the freeway,
return to
my hiding,
bury myself
deep beneath
the covers of
my bed,
& breath
as the
ringing rises
& i being
twitch again -

© 2019 Jack Henry

Jack Henry is a poet living south and east from Los Angeles. After a self imposed hibernation Jack reemerged and started writing again. Recent publications include Red Fez, Winamop, and dope fiend daily. In August 2019, Heroin Love Songs, a poetry journal Jack publishes, will see the light of day once more.

photo © 2019 marie c lecrivain

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Joshua Corwin's "12:01 AM"

I can hear the shine in your eyes
on the other end of the telephone.

When I speak like this,
I feel authentic
and not heavy.

I don’t have to tattoo meaning in the air
to know what you mean.

I remember when you first told me…
apropos of nothing…
about the different levels of charitable donation.

I was sitting right across from you — over there.
(You in that armchair, me in this one: our eyes.)

You said there’s the donor who gives large sums
and puts a placard on the wall, signifying
who it’s from;

and then there’s the other one who gives…
but remains anonymous.

Your words hanging like a phantom,
I didn’t have to be who I thought I was;

you were once me,
once where I was…

In that moment, I knew. 

(c) 2019 Joshua Corwin 

LA native, Joshua Corwin is an emerging poet and a recent graduate from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Philosophy. His poem 'SALT' is forthcoming (August 31) in Spectrum Publishing, vol. 20, ‘Who's Your Honey?’ Currently, he is working on his first, full-length book, Becoming Vulnerable. Joshua writes to honor his grandpa, Mert, whose last words to him were “Don’t ever stop writing.”