Friday, April 17, 2020

Poem During the Plague: Poem 13

Marc Goldfinger has been published by the Ibbetson Street Press, the Aurorean,, Pegasus, The Boston Poet, the Crooked River Press, Earth First! Journal, The New Renaissance, User’s News, Poiesis, The Porter Gulch Review, Rubber-Side-Down and many others. Goldfinger is also a member of the Liberation Poetry Collective and is included in the Liberation Anthology put out by the Trilingual Press. His latest collection of poetry is "Herion's Harbour" ( Ibbetson Street Press) 2019.

Plague Days 2020 
By Marc D. Goldfinger 

I never was a fucking hero; when I was young 
my English Bulldog was run down in the street; 

I cried like a baby but I was ten years old and my father 
said “men don’t cry,” but I wasn’t yet a man; just a 

boy who lost the love of my life.  I aged a bit and 
joined a gang of tough guys.  My best friend 

beat me so bad that both my eyes were black 
and my face looked as if it had two noses. 

I loved him anyway because it was the Seconals that 
caused the fight; we were twisted by barbiturates;  

knew no better.  Still running from life I fell 
in love with heroin and she was good to 

me for years; but she broke my heart over 
and over; I didn’t want any help and got none 

for years.  Things have changed now; death is  
around every corner and we have to wear masks 

when we go out.  I wear a death mask because it 
is fitting for me.  I’m still no hero but COVID-19  

doesn’t really scare me; I’m afraid of dying 
alone surrounded by strangers in gowns and 

masks; my wife won’t be allowed to hold my 
hand as I die but what can a freak like me 

expect from a world that haunted me like 
a ghost all through life and beat my face 

until I didn’t know who I was  
even when I looked in the mirror darkly 

and no one looked back, looked back. 

The 73 Waverly Bus to McLean Hospital: The Blood of San Gennaro

From the introduction by Megan Marshall:
"Scott kept writing. In the early 80's, encouraged by the Somerville poet Doug Holder, a co-worker at McLean, he published three poems in the Somerville Community News, including "Somerville, Again," and "Somerville and Farther North," reprinted here. Denise Levertov, then living in Somerville, sent Scott a postcard saying she "really liked" the second of these; he saved the postcard. His only other publications were two music reviews of Suzanne Vega and Leonard Cohen for the Boston Phoenix"

 There is an interesting story around this. I knew Scott Harney back in the early to mid 80's. We were both mental health workers at McLean Hospital ( a psychiatric hospital outside of Boston, a literary landmark as it housed the likes of Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell ,to name a few), interested in poetry, both of us were at the same program at Boston University for paralegal certification, and took the same advertising copy-writing class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. I remember the many conversations we had while taking the 73 bus to and from Harvard Square.  Harney was passionate about writing and poetry.  It seems that Harney was one of the last students of Robert Lowell, and I happened to have written a small intro to Lowell's poem " Waking in the Blue" for Robert Pinsky's America's Favorite Poem Project. A few years back he attended a reading series at the Newton Free Library that I curate. A relatively short time later I heard he died of a heart attack at 63.

Marc Goldfinger, a well-known poet in the Boston area wrote me and said in the introduction to the book by Megan Marshall,( the Pulitzer-Prize winning historian and Harney's wife)-- she mentioned that I encouraged him to publish his work. He did in the Somerville Community News--and it seems that the late poet Denise Levertoff ( who lived in Somerville at the time)--read the column-- and sent Scott a postcard praising his poems. Scott kept that postcard...

I am glad that this collection of poetry has finally seen the light of day.It took over 40 years. I am glad that I encouraged him in some small way.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Poem During the Plague: Poem 12

Phillip Temples resides in Watertown, Massachusetts and works as a systems administrator at a local university. He’s had over 140 short stories and a novella published in various print and online publications, along with two mystery-thriller novels and a short story anthology. Phil’s third novel is slated for publication in April, 2020. In addition to his writing, Phil is an amateur radio operator and sings in a garage band.

"Keep Walking"

Empty park beckons
Keep walking this tired carcass
Virus chasing me

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Poem During the Plague: Poem 11

Yuyutsu Sharma

 The recipient of fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Ireland Literature exchange, Trubar Foundation, Slovenia, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch LiteratureYuyutsu Ram Dass Sharma is a world--
renowned translator and poet.

The Supermarket

“Do you sell any wines here,”
I asked and  waited there for an eternity
as he struggled unpacking his box
of 99 cent merchandise in the aisle,
then rose to face me,
“I speak no Englis.”
I walked the superstore,
stench of the dead and the dying
stinging my nostrils...
A stone crab menacing moving
its smashed pincers atop
a pile of soft shelled turtles
frozen and defaced from
uncouth handling and numerous inspections--
Tilapia, carp and caby fish,
Dungeness crab and special lobsters,
jelly fish, yellow eel, the snake of the sea,
all live and squirming
in the murky waters of my brain...
The striped bass whose face
has been scrubbed along
endless tracks of transportations,
buffalo carp moving in
a murky glass case,
or live frogs in a tin box,
inert, not croaking to bring
Dionysus to these golden
Superstores in the Queens.
Great China crab frozen
beneath layers of an affluence,
conch shells hushed before the snail
could wriggle out of the shell
and name million cosmic metaphors
of self, salvation and sacrifice.
Or leave the empty body
of the Lord to utter a prayer
or a war cry of justice...
I guess it was a revolution
of sparrows as he lifted his step
to stop in the middle
of the jungle on his way out
of the castle Kapilvastu
and carefully step aside
so as not to crush
a line of Industrious ants
or stop a summer song
of ecstatic cicadas
along the raging rivers...

I haste I rushed out
of the slaughter house,
feeling the dragon’s hook
in my throat and bowed to
million little lives on the earth
singing and swaying in an erratic energy
to the music of His long
lustrous earlobes of wisdom...

©Yuyutsu Sharma