30 Days Hath September 2016 | Day 33 | Editorial Letter by Patricia Spears Jones with afterword by Michael McDermott
October 5, 2016
Words matter said the Democrat Party’s candidate at the first television debate. She said that because her opponent seems to think words only matter when can think of them. Well yes words matter and the people who make words matter the most are poets and it has been a thrill to bring 30 new poems from 30 poets as a way to intervene with language in this terribly contentious election campaign.
Poets bring intimacy, faith, rage, beauty, mirth and power –the kind of power that energizes and illuminates us and I thank Ann, Soul, Soraya, Veronica, Patricia, Guillermo, Laurie, Nikia, Maureen, Thomas, Scott, Joanna, Shelley, Luviette, Melissa, Anna, Robin, Marilyn, John, Michael, Cait, Todd, Lauren, Purvi, Seamus, Lydia, Elizabeth, Fay, Amanda and Tammy for their poems.
I thank Terrius Harris, a wonderful student at Ole Miss who happens to be an intern for Black Earth Institute who had to post each of the poems and Michael McDermott, co-founder of Black Earth Institute for asking me to do this project again and he brought a great poem from Patricia Monaghan, the late co-founder of Black Earth Institute, who was a great advocate of connecting poetry, political activism and advocacy. BEI truly supports poets and poetry.
Patricia Spears Jones
Afterword by Michael McDermott
Patricia Spears Jones curated another 30 Days. This time she gathered wonderful poets inspired, frightened or angry about the events in the country and beyond. We had 2400 views on poems with 1001 visitors. This is the second 30 Days with the first preceding the 2012 election with thousands of views there. Patricia took this on and gathered the poets keeping to the daily schedule demands. Her efforts keep poetry timely and pointed. Her work is important and is one way the Black Earth Institute fulfills its mission of addressing spirit, earth and social justice. Thanks Patricia.
October 4, 2016
The stress of wild peace
First it was the broken down weapons
Each piece tag and de-sensitized.
Then the furnace’s high heat as what was
The plastic blaster toys were replaced
With garden shovels. Indeed, there were
Many gardens and many boys and girls
Digging and seeding and chatting and dreaming.
Then the news that treaties were being honored
Except the Russians who just could not sign—illerates?
But elsewhere, the hospitals were re-staffed.
The schools repopulated—children healthy, their teachers
Looked for different books with new stories, peace stories.
While the weather evolved, measures were taken to sustain nurture
Keeping the food stocks in decent supply.
There were people who could not carry this
Tenderness. Their fingers reached for the gun
Not there. Their minds roamed about in search
Of targets—see that boy, that girl, the one with an
Accent? But the guns were not there.
And so they entered the dark caves of libation
Where the song list played many a murderous ballad
Narcocorridas; old style blues numbers—see that Stagger Lee
And country tunes where someone was left behind bleeding.
Their drinks were always generous and expensive.
There was nothing more to do.
Look at the moon. The stars. Think of global circumnavigation
Those men who brought animals and fabrics and new diseases
In exchange for gold and bodies and spices and rum.
We have come far from the bowels of those tightly made
Ships. We have come to a place where peace is in abundance
And those who would carry us back are mad with grief
For the days when a hand could smash the face of another
A hand could pull a trigger and destroy children in minutes
A hand could tie a noose around one’s on neck,
A foot could kick the stool.
30 Days Hath September 2016 | Day 31 | After Weather: A Formal Fearfulness Forms by Richard Cambridge
October 4, 2016
After Weather: A Formal Fearfulness Forms
Cumulonimbus clouds are a type of cumulus cloud associated
Cumulonimbus louds are a type of vernacular associated
with thunderstorms and heavy precipitation. They are also a
with thunderous pronouncements of heavy recitation. They are also a
variation of nimbus or precipitation bearing clouds. They are
variation of nimble pre-dictates bearing calumnies. They are
formed beneath 20,000 ft. and are relatively close to the ground.
formed beneath twenty thousand feet trampling souls to ground.
This is why they have so much moisture. Cumulonimbus clouds are
This is why they have so much hatred. Cumulonimbus Louds are
also known as thunderheads due to their unique mushroom shape.
also known as Thunder Heads due to their unquiet mushroom shape.
These clouds often produce lightning in their heart.
These Louds often produce lightning that strikes and kills the heart.
An interlinear reimagining of “Cumulonimbus Clouds,” an article by Tega Jessa, which appeared in Universe Today, updated 24 December 2015.
Richard Cambridge is a Fellow Emeritus of the Black Earth Institute. He curates the Poets’ Theatre at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville, Massachusetts. A poet, novelist, and performance artist, his one man show, The Cigarette Papers—A Journey from Addiction, was hailed by the Boston Globe as a “tour de force.”
The day lays down
first summer heat
as we drive
past cotton silos
little swamps with
maybe an egret
or alfalfa fields
and a yellow
to spray poison
My husband tells me
Dylan’s 75 today
first time I heard him
Baez pulled his
scrawny ass on stage
to sing Blowin’ in
the Wind maybe
at the Berkeley
Folk Music Festival
to a single mike
and in that summer
of snarling dogs
on the end of chains
and fire hoses that I’d
watch every night
on TV and vow
never never never
to live in the South
I’m gonna walk with
the Prince of Peace
down by the riverside
down by the riverside
Ann Fisher-Wirth’s fourth book of poems is Dream Cabinet (Wings Press 2012). Her other books of poems are Carta Marina, Blue Window, and Five Terraces. With Laura-Gray Street, she coedited the groundbreaking Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP, 2013, 2014). She has been awarded residencies at The Mesa Refuge; Djerassi Resident Artists Program; Hedgebrook; and CAMAC/Centre d’Art, Marnay, France. Her current project is a collaborative poetry/photography manuscript called Mississippi with the acclaimed photographer Maude Schuyler Clay, which Wings Press will publish in 2017. Photographs and letterpress poems from this project are currently on exhibit throughout Mississippi. Ann is a Fellow 2015-2018 of the Black Earth Institute and the recipient of two senior Fulbrights (Switzerland, Sweden). She teaches and directs the Environmental Studies program at the University of Mississippi.
September 30, 2016
How did you squeeze yourself
through the bathroom window,
to escape from him?
You must be a shapeshifter.
That’s what I told her.
She shrugged and said, I didn’t think about it.
Physics is not my subject. I just jumped
from the bathtub up onto the window sill,
shoving the window open with my shoulder.
Look how it scraped my skin.
Do you think that he wants you
to be small, all the time?
I think he wants me to shape shift, he
is the one who tries to make me
whatever he needs at the moment.
Be a cook: cook. Be a maid: clean.
Be a puta: suck or fuck.
You are the one to decide
when you want to shape shift,
I insist. Why don’t you
become something huge
that can’t be defeated?
A big bad-ass Statue of Liberty,
by Tammy Melody Gomez
Tammy Gomez is an activist, performance artist, and writer whose work is published in collections including Women in Nature (2014), and Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art (UT Press, 2016). She is profiled in Las Tejanas: 300 Years of History (UT Press, 2003), and was honored by Goucher College (Maryland) with the “Alumnae/i Award for Excellence in Public Service” in 2010. She is a fellow of the Black Earth Institute
Night in Coney Island
Change, I wanted to say. Turn, I wanted to say. Twist
of fate, I wanted to say. Edge of history, I wanted to say. I said: ‘news.’
I said: ‘flash.’ I said: ‘extra’. . . extra . . . extra . . . extra . . .
Held in a window. Assigned to descend to the street. Take what
you want from here. There are thousands of voices
vouching for revolutions.There are waves
beyond this rhythm. Know this. There are tides
with different times. Slowly the sky unfolds
in ripples canopies waves. Take the sky cold soda &
water for a dollar one dollar one dollar water a chorus. You
as compared with the week before looking for
yourself through old streets—
A woman on the boardwalk glides by
with two roosters—one tucked under each arm—
dances to the rhythms of the Coney Island night sky and
first city stars: Polaris, Cassiopeia. This New York City vertebrae.
Memory. Nebulous Insomnia. Guy clicking gum chewing gum
boys drinking a bottle of screw top red from a plastic bag.
Night begins. A man with a t-shirt
that reads: Please Baby Please
Please Baby Please Please Please
Note: Epigraph from Vito Acconci’s The Red Tapes (1977)
Amanda Deutch’s poems have been published widely in journals online and in print. Recent publications include: The Rumpus, 92Y Words We Live In, Revolver, Denver Quarterly, Manhattanville Review, and Barrow Street. Deutch is the author of six chapbooks, including Pull Yourself Together (dancing girl press, 2016) and Fit to Print (Harsimus Press, 2015) a chapbook anthology of 3 artists (Barbara Henry, Rosaire Appel, Amanda Deutch) who use The New York Times as inspiration. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and she has been awarded grants, fellowships and residencies from Footpaths to Creativity (Flores, Azores), Then Betsy Writer’s Room (Miami, Florida), Poets & Writers and NYFA. Deutch lives in Brooklyn, where she curates Parachute Literary Arts site-specific events and libraries. For more information about her curatorial & community arts work, check out www.ParachuteArts.org.
September 28, 2016