Lenore Weiss & Leslie Weissman

 

 

(USA)

 

 

 

Extras From a Movie:

Ludlow Massacre, 1914

 

1.
The ghost girl was Little Lucy,
no connection to Lucille Ball,

flashed her dimples, red hair on the Capitol Mall,
wore smoke-soaked clothes, no shoes for her,

a black hoodie so she wouldn’t catch cold,
her own joke. It didn’t matter. Bullets had shredded

her family’s tent in Ludlow, Colorado,
when everything she knew had exploded.

Today would’ve been her tenth birthday,
she counted eight more siblings, spoke their names,

whispered to visitors, a game she played
to make people look up from their guidebooks.

2.
Why they came. To testify at hearings.
Drifted past lobbyists with American flags
pinned to black lapels, took a number,

sat down, and waited to be called.
Betty’s boy, because that’s what people
always had called him when he was alive

with Lucy at Ludlow.
He took a seat in the second row,
found a place to rest his hand.

3.
The chairman
for the President’s Commission on Violence
had never seen anything like these kids,
if they could see them at all—
the way they took to the podium
like they were in a bowling alley,
and they, the ten Senators, pins.

« Must’ve taken a school bus
to get you here, »
joked one of the members,

Trying to head off trouble,
he bent into the microphone,
and smiled.

They stared back
as if anything with four wheels
could’ve transported them.

4.
The next day the court reporter
tried to make a case for automatic writing

terrorists, tampering, some malcontent,
a hacker who had skewed the record:

We are not the sons and daughters
of doctors and lawyers who go to summer camp,

our parents hid inside mine shafts,
and warned us to be quiet.

On our last day here we waited for night.
Night dragged on like an unwanted child.

Give us a souvenir, a chunk of sky
to bury beneath the coal pit of our graves.

You think we are children.
We never wanted to be brave.

 

 

 

Invocation of the Dead

 

If the living cannot save the planet,

let the dead confabulate in coffee klatches and tea rooms,

remain polite for a short while

before spinning on bar stools

with the ferocity of a million drunks

spiraling out of control on a cushion

of Portobello mushroom caps

and Frisbees covering their collective ass,

let them scream on a Ferris Wheel of light

so loud, so loud—someone will hear;

 

pray they release their gangs of children

from the ditches of Rwanda,

Bosnia, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Sudan

or unhinge those stuck between two tectonic plates,

let them dig up AIDS orphans

still young enough to hope for parents,

coax them back for one moment

while we pay an entrance fee

of a punched red ticket,

but forget everything once we’re inside.

 

If the living cannot save the planet

let the dead chant for salvation,

the first indigenous people,

even as a voice announces,

the park will be closing in five minutes;

 

oops, we realize there’s no home

for us to go back home to —

kick a few pizza crusts to the side of the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oslo According to Nina

 

I was the one who brought water to the table,

water poured from a blue pitcher

with lemons and ice cubes,

not because it was hot in Oslo,

but because they came from the Middle East.

 

Every hour I entered the room, windows covered

in white silk banners trimmed with a gold braid,

banners, the gift of a clothing manufacturer

who wanted his name on more than a dress label.

My job was to walk up to each crystal glass

and see that the levels remained equal.

 

The men read their negotiations by the clock,

“Only one more hour to lunch, boys,”

or, “No one pours water for me like you, Nina,”

which yes, is a Russian name.

 

They were not being flirtatious so much as familiar.

We were locked up in a room together

trying not to be prisoners.

 

Others brought them food: garbanzos,

falafel, hummus.

We made sure the lamb was kosher.

They ate the same thing, anyway,

men whose suits had been pressed

in the desert together,

sitting around a table from the old library,

which had been rebuilt during the War

where I first learned to pour water,

water that arches

from the lip of a pitcher to the glass

without frightening the dove beating her wings

bloody against the window.

 

 

 

Glenda the Good Witch at the Craps Table

 

There are no more brooms to burn.

No more truncated truces.

Tin men play chicken with cowardly lions,

a hostile force has taken control of our casino

floating in the Mediterranean on a raft of bodies.

 

Flowers grow in tear gas canisters,

bees drink sweat from our brains

huddled in a square-foot garden

goatskin bags filled with dust,

overcast clouds and rain.

 

But hold on, Dorothy.

We’ll get you home.

There’s this thing called compromise,

the way lovers scoot

to make room for each other.

 

After all, women are life insiders,

know how everything begins and ends.

So click your heels. Shake your bootie —

Play an all out rainbow defense —

Roll one for the Lollypop Guild!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

Lenore Weiss grew up in New York City, raised a family in the Bay Area, and currently resides in Louisiana where she freelances for Bayou Life magazine. Lenore’s collections include « Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail » (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Sh’ma Yis’rael (Pudding House Publications, 2007), and « Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island » (West End Press, 2012). Her most recent poetry collection is « Two Places » (Kelsay Books, 2014). Her writing has won recognition from Poets & Writers, Nimrod International Journal, and the Society for Technical Communication. She serves as the copy editor of Blue Lyra Review. Her blog resides at www.lenoreweiss.com.

 

 

 

 

Leslie Weissman is an experimental New York-based artist whose interest lies in the exploration of the figure, facial expression, and emotional boundaries. Her work has beenon display at The Katonah Museum of Art and the Westchester Center for the Arts. She recently was awarded Special Recognition by Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery for her work Study 53. Her monotype series takes a critical view of social and cultural issues based upon suburban life.You may view her collection atwww.leslieweissman.com.

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