Sunday, May 05, 2013

Ibbetson Street poet Afaa Michael Weaver wins Pushcart (2014) for his work in Ibbetson Street magazine

Afaa Michael Weaver
  By Doug Holder

Ibbetson Street, a literary magazine founded by Doug Holder, Dianne Robitaille, and Richard Wilhelm in 1998 in Somerville, Mass. is proud to announce that poetry from Issue 32 has been selected for the Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in the prestigious Pushcart Anthology in 2014. Afaa Michael Weaver's poem, Blues in Five/ Four, The Violence in Chicago, that was  nominated by poetry editor Harris Gardner, is the winning poem.  Issue 32 was edited by Kim Triedman, and included work from Dennis Daly, X. J. Kennedy, Miriam Levine, Philip Burnham, Jr., Diana Der-Hovanessian, and many others. Ibbetson Street is now affiliated with Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.

Blues in Five/Four, the Violence in Chicago

In movies about the end of our civilization

toys fill the broken spaces of cities, flipping over

in streets where children are all hoodlums, big kids

painting themselves in neon colors, while the women

... laugh, following the men into a love of madness.

Still shots show emptiness tearing the eyes of the last

of us who grew to be old, the ones the hoodlums

prop up in shadows, throwing garbage at us,

taping open our eyes, forcing us to study the dead

in photos torn from books in burned down libraries.

Chicago used to be Sundays at Gladys' Luncheonette

where church folk came and ate collard greens and chicken

after the sermons that rolled out in black churches, sparkling

tapestries of words from preachers' mouths, prayer books,

tongues from Tell Me, Alabama, and Walk On, Mississippi.

Now light has left us, the sun blocked out by shreds

of what history becomes when apathy shreds it,

becoming a name the bad children give themselves

as they laugh and threaten each other while we starve

for the laughter we were used to before the end came.

---Afaa M. Weaver

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