Friday, February 26, 2010


How Does One Reconcile Loss?

Perhaps there is no perfect way to commemorate a tragic event, but to forget it is certainly not a good choice. Of course, there are numerous accidents almost everyday and people are affected by the loss they create, but when a plane crashes it rekindles the tragic event of 9/11, and such is the case with the Flight 3407 which ended the lives of those on the airplane on Feb. 12, 2009.

Needing to heal from the tragedy, poets, writers, family members and friends from the Buffalo area put together the collection The Empty Chair: Love and Loss in the Wake of Flight 3407 edited by Gunilla Theander Kester and Gary Earl Ross.

Sympathetic Grounding
by Jane Sadowsky

The birds didn't fly on Friday.
I know; I looked for them.
I wanted to see wings that stayed aloft,
that ferried their passengers safely
from tree to tree.

The birds didn't sing on Friday.
In vain, I listening for them.
I wanted to hear sweet warbling,
to drown out the sirens in my head.

The flowers didn't bloom on Friday.
Though February, I searched for them.
The rose that opened to the night air,
had petals of flame.
Its scent lingers.

The empty spaces grow large and larger,
empty seats, empty hands,
empty hearts.

The earth, charred beneath our feet,
swallows our hopes.

The embroidery threads have broken;
the hoop spills.

Long, it will be, and long,
before we can talk of this
without tears.

The birds didn't fly on Friday.
Like our hearts, stilled.

Copyright (c) 2010 by Jane Sadowsky.

With loss, one needs time, for time allows the healing to take place. And the process of grieving calls forth our need for explanation but at times there is no explanation; things just are, yet, we continue to ask as does Kester in the following poem:

Conjugating Grief (for Susan)
by Gunilla Theander Kester

Promised Land. Should I ever find
you on my own, turn me to salt
if you wish, but I will step
over your threshold backward.

When you meet your Moses, taking you
through the desert to the promised land,
do you always know it? Do you know
you must arrive along?

Past tense: Hallelujah, I get it. I am fluent in
Egypt, slavery, hard labor and bitter herbs.

Future tense--@ present scrambled, Can't de-
cipher its hieroglyphics, useless text.

Yet that conditional tense, effort of
every moment, my constant companion:

What if?
What if?

If only?

Copyright (c) 2010 by Gunilla Theander Kester.

To purchase this collection of poetry, fiction, and essays, click on the link below:
The Empty Chair

Friday, February 12, 2010


Make that Full Sun on K Street

The Washington, DC area is the subject of the recently released anthology of poetry Full Moon on K Street edited by fellow poet and friend Kim Roberts.

Now given that we are literally thawing out of over 2 feet of snow--3 feet in some areas--I say, make that: Full Sun on K Street.

The anthology has numerous well known poets from the area but the works that caught my attention on this snow-thawing day were the following.

The Cervantes Prize-winning Mexican poet José Emilio Pacheco, who teaches at the University of Maryland at College Park, gives us a poem Dos Poemas de Sligo Creek (translation Two Poems from Sligo Creek by Cynthia Steele) that speaks to the transformations that take place in this area (not unlike others, of course, but it's about our area):

No hay belleza
como la de una hoja a punto de secarse
y caer al suelo,
para que la tierra en donde sus restos
van a ser vida
sea fecundada por la nieve.

--No beauty can match
the leaf as it withers
and falls to the earth,
so the soil, where its carcass
turns to life,
is made fertile by the snows.

Yes, with so much snow upon us at the present time, let the soil become fertile so spring will burst with its blossoms, its daffodils and tulips.

And how best to melt some of that snow? I hear the area received tons of salt from Latin America to help us melt the snow. But Richard Peabody's poem I'm in Love with the Morton Salt Girl is just the treatment we need:

I want to pour salt in her hair and watch
her dance. I want to walk with her through the
salt rain and pretend that it is water. I want to
get lost in the Washington Cathedral and follow her
salt trail to freedom.

Boy, do we need salt to help us melt this snow, just don't allow it to cause too much flooding.

With the desire for the spreading of salt, add the desire for a rain to wash it all clean as Belle Waring describes in Storm Crossing Key Bridge:

Seventy-five feet over the water, what stops you
still as the rivets in the bridge's arch is
thunderheads bellowing on the horizon,
under the bridge the swallows darting home, winds
riffing you with their pregnant
smell of rain coming, scent of a storm...

In the middle of the week's blizzard, I looked up at the sky and only saw white. Now we need a wash so that we can hope for the sun to come.

Rebecca Villarreal calls the sun forth in After the Rains:

oh the celebration of sun
preparation for Folklife Festival...

so that we can join the tourists and laugh again instead of watch out the window in a state of panic.

So that we can do what Venus Thrash reminds us of in Thicker Than Water:

We have been here before,
our brown bodies laid bare,
embraced in the warmth

of this ancient sun.

So, yes, let's make that Full Sun on K Street, but let us not overlook the history, culture, politics, and the poetics that Full Moon on K Street has laid out for us to enjoy, albeit in snowy days, knowing that sunny days are coming our way.

For more information about the anthology, click on the link below:
Full Moon on K Street

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Literal: Latin American Voices Reviews Poetic Voices Without Borders 2

From Literal: Latin American Voices, Vol. 19/Winter 2009/2010

"'The fence behind your house / is the zero border,' writes Martha Collins, but it's 'Hasta luego and over you go,' thus encapsulating the experience of the reader and many of the poets defining, challenging, and redefining the idea of borders in the multicultural, multilingual anthology Poetic Voices Without Borders 2 by Gival Press....

These poets, among 150 others in this collection encompassing nearly 300 poems, erect and dismantle borders in lingual, cultural, national, and personal terms....

[The] desire to cross boundaries, to transform and eradicate them—'as if to say that within literature there isn't a border for the human spirit'—is the commonality narrowing this wide arc to its flexible focus, and the stated goal of editor Robert L. Giron in his introduction....

Poetic Voices Without Borders 2 is a tool to affect passage through these arbitrary boundaries. It is a literary passport for traveling beyond imposed limits, and one to keep close for handy reference, for as Collins assures us, 'You crossed the border hours ago.'"—Chip Livingston

For information about Literal, a bilingual magazine, email:
or write:
Literal: Latin American Voices
770 South Post Oak Lane, Suite 530
Houston, TX 77056

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Is America Afraid of Gays?

Hurrah for Kevin Huffman for his Washington Post article "A Super Bowl ad too far? Straights can take it" (2/6/2010) for calling CBS on the carpet for rejecting the ManCrunch ad and for telling it like it is.

To quote Huffman: "The vast majority of Americans now say they have a close friend or relative who is gay or lesbian. This may be a radical proposition, but maybe it's time for our cultural institutions to go ahead and let people out of the closet. Somehow, I suspect the heterosexual community will survive."

For those of you who haven't yet seen the rejected ad from ManCrunch, click on the link from below and see for yourself:

It also seems more than one political spokesman has a taste for hypocrisy. McCain has done a I take back my words on the position of letting gays serve openly in the military, even though in the past he said he would listen to the Military speak. For the record, the military has spoken, and so McCain now doesn't like what they have to say about repealing the policy.

Why are Americans so afraid of gays? After seeing District 9 (the film up for a Best Picture Academy Award), gays can't be any more powerful or dangerous than aliens from outerspace yet one would think so by the way Americans seem to behave.

Never mind that numerous countries, including Israel, have gays and lesbians serving opening in the military, all with efficiency.

Is the USA that weak? that afraid?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010 Featuring Poetry by Catee Baugh & Essay by Holly Berardi is currently featuring poetry by Catee Baugh, a native of Washington, DC, and an award-winning essay by Holly Berardi from suburban Maryland.


Touch is a pleasure
Making me yelp-
After pushing all my caustic emotions
Up to the pores of my skin and
Watching them leak out,
I realize now I am a burn victim
And to touch me is to touch
The skin of an atomic survivor.

But pain is both poison and antidote,
A vaccine against the ordinary.
So for you,
I will expose myself
And all my defenses and pretensions,
Though not pretending
Their removal is easy or safe.
They are duct-tape band-aids
Tearing away the hair
And meager portions of singed skin
When I yank them off
To the tune of my
Screaming laughter
So that you might see thin ribbons
Of muscle and vein under my superficial layers
While I laugh at the infection seeping in.

Yes, there is something
Masochistic in my sullen art.
And I remember all those muttered words
From the mouths of teachers about
“Narrator as imagined construct in poem.”
But I would rather be
Slit open and displayed
On iron tables in museum hallways
With my very intestines hanging off,
Dripping onto the feet of passerby,
And they pulling off my skin like burnt offerings
Than be a masked and painted actor on a stage,
Only there to forget my made-up lines.

Copyright © 2010 by Catee Baugh.

To read more poems click on

To read Holly Berardi's essay A Deeper Look into Negative Campaigning, click on the link below:

A Deeper Look into Negative Campaigning

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