It takes a train to see America by Debasis Mukhopadhyay

What a kooky ride

The fire-roasted red peppers yellow squash & carrots are still lapping the edge of your rack

Served with loaded mashed potatoes

You said you always enjoy baby back ribs

The tender lean pork loin meat glazed in bold dark sauce humbly falls off the bones

Yesterday it was seafood jambalaya with rice pilaf & salad

And the day before pan roasted wild sockeye salmon with fries

It has been a whale of a time

I can see how easily you could coast into the scenic dreams

For these three days and three nights

Your train is soon going to pull into your last stop

But before you sign the guest book

Jonas liked it here

Take a look at yourself from behind the window

Upon which an eclipse of moths are dissipating

Since the train left the foggy Bay

Your knife looks remembering rust

Your fork looks shining into blood

Maybe you are taking too much time to bring yourself to them

Huddled between your hands they look so displaced

They do not know you know when your heart beats

Unwinding the sweet America without stopping to wind the bones

The soda can is left undrunk and perspiring

Since the time the train crossed

From Nevada into Utah

And then rolled through the canyons of Colorado

The ice cubes keep waning in your hyper dreamy glass

When treated to the view of a setting sun

That stretches down from the desert cliffs

And tumbles directly into

What you ordered for lunch

With yellowed teeth a couple of hours ago

And a couple of hours ago the clock was reset

To isolate the runoff moments of yearns you might think they had ever been

During the time the steelhead train traveled from coast to coast

Leaving you with nothing to do but

Admire the view of your hollowed out dreams in free fall

And take a glimpse into the soul of remains and moorings

The train is now pulling into New York Penn station

Time to cut loose from America

America is not the world on earth

You can now remain tight in life

Dreams will not come again

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Jan ’64 by Dominic Albanese

particular bad patrol
tight ass fire fight
bugs…really bad bugs
bit to shit
Maddy is welts n itchy
on commo…out of his ear
I call
back base camp
ice up some San Miguel Dark
n
get me a Thracian swab
two cans of Dole Pineapple juice
n
I don’t care how
but some flowers
so
drag ass I mean slug ass
back
Mad Dog is patrol leader so
he gotta check in
head count n supervise
stack arms n visual
all cowboys check in
I run
hooch side
Honley (God rest him)
had all I asked for

 

My main Man Mr Terrific
just about
done
really…..drops his gear
I call out….come to pappa big boy
he
sees a bucket with ice n beer
these scraggle ass weeds
n a big can of Dole
HAPPY NEW YEAR MOTHER FUCKER
I tell him
he busts out
shouts out
you meddle dick sad excuse for a paratrooper
I love you too much

 

war….frolic n fun
o yea….the bug juice balm
really was a big deal
some guys get it really bad
me I eat way too much garlic
they hate me

Living History by Dominic Albanese

pages pages all fall down
static electric movements
howling back reaching forward
why I
wrote THEN N NOW
today
a photo…some 40 years old
or so
captures encapsulate time events days
laughter n pain
all assembled like a Greek chorus
wags nags busted knuckles bloody noses
we all had lot o hair
girl friends …sidekicks home boys
dealers squealers stand up lie down
alley way exchanges of
so much money it is funny
now
sitting trying to make
a check book not bounce like
we bounced bopped hopped
n gave not a fuck
bout tomorrow
joy n sorrow….bindles full of
marching powder ….smokin Js foggy haze
of
yes static electric play grounds….grind beans.tight jeans
fast bikes;;;;soft leather seats
swearing we could not be beat
old now…..living history on
books of faces
remembering those places
ashes ashes all fall down……narco bunko jail cells
self abusing hells…bells….paint it write it
call it what you will
life fill….sitting here
now
magazine subscription or water bill

The Trees by Monika Kostera

(Zaton, 2013)

What shall I do?
The smooth walnut tree,
cut down in her prime.
She that cradled me,
consoled,
told me stories
unmatched since.

When the leaves fall
where shall I go?
When hurt,
when I’ve done wrong,
when no tears can wash
my eyes clear?

The oak tree upon the hill
that taught me that courage
hangs his hat in the mind,
in whose branches
I reached beyond structures,
to think the unthought.

 

He, the same who
taught me to grow,
was struck by lightning.
His roots died slowly and
the light is stark,
undappled by his leaves.

Alone,
none tread before me now,
no canopy above.

So take this, my song,
black swallow.
Weave it with
the dead twigs
of fallen trees
and make a nest
in the bows of the living.

 

 

Monika Kostera, a professor at the University of Krakow from her debut collection Oneiropeia. I include here a trio that have abuse & manipulation deep in their roots but perhaps still an optimistic aftertaste.