“Look Up” by Zain Wahid

March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

Look Up
After Major Jackson’s “Metaphor”

by Zain Wahid

Me and my cousin
would dance in the rain
in the courtyard,

in front of our
Grandfather’s house during
summer thunderstorms, in the ’90s.

The dark, rumbling
clouds would send
chest-trembling thunder

and lay sheets of
cold rain, flushing away
the heat, and reinvigorating Islamabad.

It was worth it.
It was so worth it.
Getting scolded by our moms,

That we may catch
a cold, in nothing
but our underwear.

We had to.
We just had to.
Storms were sparse.

And this rain dance,
in the absence of playing
cricket, or riding bikes

was well-welcomed.
We’d raise our arms
and look up.

Then look at each other.
Such happiness, such joy,
of our childhoods.

Never again did
I see him
as my cousin.

No, from then on,
he’s always been
my brother.

 

“The Wall” by Molly Glynn

March 13, 2017 § 1 Comment

The Wall

the day he was assassinated, a Prague citizen painted on one white wall an image of John Lennon, a pacifist icon and “hero to the youth of Prague” (Prague.net). The wall stood opposite the French Embassy, including a niche that is reminiscent of a tombstone. Prague’s secret police quickly painted over the illegal Western symbol, but it was too lateWhat had once been an ordinary wall became a message board for gripes, grievances, and symbols of hope. In true Czech fashion, it was a quiet but powerful symbol of protest, persisting through coats upon coats of white paint, as applied by those in power (Lonely Planet, Geiling, Wikipedia).

ones interested in keeping the wall clean. The wall belongs to the Knights of Malta, a Catholic order dedicated to the Maltese Cross. Initially, they also attempted to keep the wall clear. They made several attempts to repaint the wall, but it continued to flourish, and eventually they allowed the space to remain. They even protect against cases of vandalism, having claimed a sort of guardianship for the wall (Lonely Planet, Chandler).

The morning of November 17th, 2014, the wall was white once again. In the dead of night, a group of student artists known as Pražská služba had cleared the years of color and left a blank wall adorned with the words “Wall is Over,” a reference to Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s 1971 song Happy X-Mas (War Is Over). It was a cause of shock for the cityand many were outraged at the apparent censorship. The artists, or as some considered them, vandals, released a statement explaining they were attempting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution by “opening room for new messages of the current generation” (Chandler). The attention-grabbing attempt to ‘re-set’ the wall remained only hours before new drawings, messages, and names were penned and painted over the white (Geiling, Chandler).

Today, the Lennon wall continues to be a symbol of love and peace. Locals and tourists alike find themselves enraptured by the plethora of colors and messages, but the true beauty of the Lennon wall is its ability to stay “consistently new and current” (Looft). This is due in large part to its redecoration by wellwishers and activists. When the wall first began, it was for activists speaking out against Communism. In the years after, countless other groups and advocates have shown their support for the tragedies and revolutions around the world. In 2013, after the Boston Marathon bombings, messages of hope and support were added. In 2014, a Lennon-inspired wall composed of colorful sticky notes was created in Hong Kong, and supportive messages were added to the wall in Prague (Looft, Wikipedia, Chandler).

The Lennon wall is also important because it remains accessible to anyone and everyone. It does not sit in a museum, with security guards and a million-dollar price tag. Nor is it a temporary installation, created in chalk and wheeled away after six months. The wall is there to stay, and it is open to children’s drawings and professional poets’ words. It is a symbol of Prague as a whole- past and present. Beneath layers of paint, and so many attempts at destruction, it remains. Even after so many attempts to censor its message, still it grows back stronger each time. The Lennon Wall belongs wholly and inherently to the people, a gift from those who claimed it so many years ago (Looft).

 

*

Process Note: I looked back on an old paper I had written about the Lennon wall, and took some of the lines from that. For evidence that it is indeed, a real paper and not just a bunch of black lines with words I wanted thrown in, I’ve kept the original text just slightly visible. I also think that punctuation is really important in blackout poems, so I’ve found that blocking out where some prime periods and commas are can also be really, really helpful! –Molly Glynn

“with me” by Donna Kwon

February 25, 2017 § Leave a comment

with me (response to XV)

by Donna Kwon

I’ve dreamt a world of glass and swears and whispers of I will and always, beside your smiles of glass and flint, eyes of ashes and embers. Your breaths come in pairs—in fours, in eights—and more smoke than any fire has the right to exhume. Mouthed words are swallowed up in flickers of burning. I don’t understand any of it.

These stoked kindles are as much mine as they are your, wisps of want you to see and want to see and tomorrow will not evoke the remembrance of humanity, all yours with little to show but sluggish fantasy and desire. I am the same as you, and yet we cannot match, our mingled sighs igniting and tasting of dying. Brittle wings of bone and thimbles crackle, wrap around svelte contours of your ribcage and press too deeply. Breathe and repeat. Ferocity lent for a single minute, and air blisters down a throat, escapes through shivers and winter flakes. The last snow lingers over my head
with you. It might as well be buried.

And

this is not my signed confession

because I am not in love with you.

“nothing is Anything” by Melissa Mabasa

June 10, 2016 § 1 Comment

MelissaMabasaPhoto

nothing is Anything

by Melissa Mabasa

Bright lights, casting shadows
nothing is highlighted
The middle is empty
My focus goes there

nothing can be anything
Boundless opportunities
To be whatever I choose
In five minutes, I became a professor, chef, and a ballerina

I walk away from that corner
I am Me again
I step back into who I have been for the past 22 years

Except in those few minutes,
I could be Anything

*

(Poem and photograph by Melissa Mabasa.)

“I’m thinking there” by Michelle Baumval

June 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

From I’m thinking there

by Michelle Baumval

i

i’m thinking there and back again, weary eyed due to my lack of sleep
with the sweet taste of that mango juice i had for breakfast lingering in my mouth,
it’s so annoying i just want to get it out and i could really use more sleep because
what else is there to do if she’s not around oh god i think, and i think i think
too much and if only she was here she’d fill the silence then say you’re not even listening
is she still there you can make it on your own i think i held my breath for too long
you look like someone else please save my soul i don’t know what i’m doing anymore


ii.

in the cabinets of grandma’s kitchen sit firmly ceramic presidents
i think i’ll dig my silver into them
out she goes and that was the last i heard.
i remember when she gave me a handful
told me to bury them in the garden
that the gnome will watch them grow.
living on your own is not the same when you’re alone
bring my body home
and bury it in the ground.

 

v.

i was outside in her front yard and i waited for her call but i don’t think she’ll
ever come around it’s like that song “if you love someone let them go” you know,
i suck at letting her go i told her how i felt i should’ve kissed her when i had the chance
i’m her worst nightmare and i don’t sleep anymore i never want to sleep again
because i see her in my dreams

 *

I’m thinking there is a blended genre series based on photographs and found text.

“Regret” by Grace Osterdale

June 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Grace Osterdale used a black-out/cross-out style with “Every Day She Shrank in Size,” by Barbara Nishimoto, as her source text. Nishimoto’s story was originally published in Drexel’s Painted Bride Quarterly.

Regret

by Grace Osterdale 

I think that night
I was stupid
People talked
About how I was preoccupied
And drunk
My memory couldn’t participate
I was lucky
My wife
Was on the steps
Quiet
Just like I suspected
And I felt guilt
I complain a certain way
It’s not all I think about

*

Here are some more details and black-out pages from Grace’s project.
Black-out Poetry by Grace Osterdale (Excerpt)

“Goodbye to the Day” by Bonnie Athouriste

March 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

“Goodbye to the Day”

                   by Bonnie Athouriste

An impressive unveiled house
Six doors glassed-in
Tremendous light
Nice…bright.
Evening ribbon first flight before the switch

The old agreed to the new…more than new.
The transition…scattered art portraying resilience
Value the day’s last departure
Grab the gift!
Limited previously, now available to many.

 

[Note: This poem based on blackout/erasure writing using newspaper article]