WHEAT

Oriana Ivy 

              for the people of the village of Ponikła 

 

Tassels flow through my hand,
beads of grain roll against
the husk of my palm.
I lean to the lost

 

fire of the weeds:
the blue flame
of cornflowers,
papery mouths of poppies.

 

A rooster’s few
drawn-out notes
journey in the echo.
I stand shoulder-deep

 

in blond light.
Wind holds me,
then lets me go.

 

A farmer halts his horse,
points at me with his whip:
Black hair, strong head.
You will never go crazy.

 

*

 

I am the harvest now.
Sheaf by sheaf,
sky holds me,
then lets me go.

 

 

Oriana Ivy was born in Poland and came to the United States when she was 17. Her poems, essays, book reviews, and translations from modern Polish poetry have been published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry 1992, Nimrod, New Letters, The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Black Warrior, Wisconsin Review, Prairie Schooner, Spoon River Review, Southern Poetry Review, and many other journals and anthologies. A former journalist and community college instructor, she teaches poetry workshops. She lives in San Diego.

 

 

The Wishes of Sand are Simple

R.T. Sedgwick

 

to be smoothed out
on a wide stretch of beach
 

to become the mold
of a million footprints

 

to be whisked into whirlwinds
by Simoom or Sirocco

 

to sift into rippled dunes
like a blizzard’s morning after

 

to merge with a shape-shifting landscape
content beneath out-of-reach sky

 

or be scuffed by camel hoofs
traipsing after elusive oases

 

grab onto pointed Bedouin tent-poles
bask in the blaze of their tall torches

 

but never to be
the lone-wolf grain

 

who burrows into someone’s shoe
and bites their heel

                                   

 

R. T. Sedgwick is a poet living in Del Mar, CA.  He has attended Harry Griswold’s Pleasures of Poetry workshop for the last nine years, Idyllwild Summer Arts Poetry in 2005 through 2010 and has participated in a Master Poetry Workshop lead by Dr. Sam Hamod in 2007 and 2009. He spent one week in 2006 at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA studying under poets Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux and Joe Millar. He is currently enrolled in a monthly critique group that meets in Rancho Bernardo, CA. He has four books of poetry, “Forgotten Woods”, “Harmony of a Storm”, “Sand Castles”, and “Circles and Lines” published by sedgwickARTcards, Del Mar, CA, as well as numerous poems published in various anthologies and periodicals.

Commands of the Wind

R.T. Sedgwick

 

Come down from your pine-covered hill

through clumps of wild daisies

step along the rocky path,

chill of morning deep inside you,

your own walking keeping you warm

and let the sun as it climbs its own hill

reflect a brightness on the lagoon below,

giving depth to the sea-birds—cormorants

egrets, ducks and herons—look around,

reeds bending in the breeze, soil

giving beneath your feet and remember,

as though you had picked some daisies

and are holding a bouquet of them

over the water’s edge and you see their

reflection along with your own smiling face

and the willingness of your ruffled hair

to obey the commands of the wind

 

 

R. T. Sedgwick is a poet living in Del Mar, CA.  He has attended Harry Griswold’s Pleasures of Poetry workshop for the last nine years, Idyllwild Summer Arts Poetry in 2005 through 2010 and has participated in a Master Poetry Workshop lead by Dr. Sam Hamod in 2007 and 2009. He spent one week in 2006 at the Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA studying under poets Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux and Joe Millar. He is currently enrolled in a monthly critique group that meets in Rancho Bernardo, CA. He has four books of poetry, “Forgotten Woods”, “Harmony of a Storm”, “Sand Castles”, and “Circles and Lines” published by sedgwickARTcards, Del Mar, CA, as well as numerous poems published in various anthologies and periodicals.

The Ronald Reagan Memorial Poem

Brandon Cesmat

 

Mr. President, given you medical history
the “Reagan Memorial” anything seemed in poor taste to me.
But after seeing your spirit float proudly along your freeways,
through so many schools and over your own aircraft carrier,
the jets taking off and disappearing like many facts,
I now bow to peer pressure and offer this memorial poem.
 
I saw your funeral inside the National Cathedral,
          the camera at a bird’s-eye angle
          the same as God must’ve had:
          ring of mourners around your casket,
          mise-en-scène as if by Busby Berkeley,
          the way you would’ve wanted it.
Your coffin sat to the bottom of the encircling crowd, so
your funeral looked like The Smiley Face gone serious and blind.
 
How appropriate, I thought, not the blindness,
but the respectful space around your coffin,
for it was there the ghosts began to drift:
the Iranians whom Iraq gassed with military aid
you initiated over Amnesty International’s cries. Listen,
we can still hear them weeping for Kurds, Kuwaitis and,
of course, our own.
How good of you to sit up in the casket and salute.
 
Then came the Nicaraguenses, some carrying
their diaphanous limbs lopped off by your contras.
In grace, they piled eyes, ears, breasts,
genitalia and tongues into your coffin.
 
The Salvadoreños wearing neutralized expressions
followed the Afghanis whom your freedom fighters liberated
from life and any happy pursuit not
allowed by a literal reading of the Koran.
 
Finally, the Guatamaltecos crowded
comfortably around your coffin;
they’d been practicing in mass graves at least
since you restored military aid in ‘81.
                                                         
Did you recognize the ghost of Bishop Juan Gerardi?
You were deep in the delusions of Alzheimer’s in ‘98 when
a graduate of Fort Benning’s School of the Americas
bludgeoned Bishop Gerardi for counting Guatemala’s dead.
Genocide plus one.
 
How big of you not to make a fuss when
Gerardi helped you from your coffin and absolved you,
you not repenting and all that.
 
Your coffin loaded with broken bodies, the ghosts
glided beside you riding behind the caisson,
the nation honoring you in death as in life:
remembering nothing but good things:
how you held the picket line at the Warsaw shipyards,
how you stared down the Kremlin guards who took you hostage,
how you freed Tibet and
personally piloted the Dali Lama home on Air Force One.
 
It must have been at that moment of the procession,
you riding backwards yet comfortable in your old boots,
all of us suffering Sympathy Alzheimer’s,
that your mind was healed and
you understood you were on your way to heaven,
to spend eternity with the ghosts flowing beside you,
and that was when you began to cue the horse back
along the trail, so the bullets would revert to dollars,
the ink on the executive order flowing into the pen in your hand.
God bless that horse,
even with you sitting backwards in the saddle like that,
it wanted to obey your cues and turn from the grave,
but, alas, the soldier leading it had other orders.

 

 

Brandon Cesmat has conducted readings throughout The Americas. His books include Driven into the Shade, Light in All Directions and When Pigs Fall in Love. His blog is http://brandoncesmat.blogspot.com/ 

Cesmat currently teaches creative writing at CSU San Marcos and for California Poets in the Schools. He blogs about writer residencies for CPITS at http://cpits.wordpress.com/ 
           

Cesmat’s interdisciplinary work includes performances with the arts ensemble Drought Buoy, collaborating with visual artists at the Escondido Municipal Gallery and California Center for the Arts Museum, a documentary on poetry from the San Diego-Tijuana region titled Cruzando Líneas. He is currently an artist in residence for the San Diego Arts Institute Page-to-Stage program.

 

Happy Godfather’s Day

Brandon Cesmat

 

Mexican vendors prepare me for home
with Tony Montana merchandise.
The way little girls wrap themselves in The Little Mermaid towels
or little boys dream in Transformer pajamas,
adolescent males cover dorm walls with Scarface bedspreads and posters.
Tony, the anti-communist drug lord,
overlooks more pyramids of empty beer cans in U.S. dorms
than all portraits of Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and Abe Lincoln combined.
 
“Mi padrino,” says the jallero in front of his curios.
Yes, I pray. Our godfather who art lining the way home to El Norte,
hallowed be thy merchandise.
Thy drugs that run, thy empire come,
in Omaha as in Bogata.
 
I look both ways on this street.
Federales stop traffic for pandillas on the way to playas.
Oh Tijuana, with gangland executions in vacant lots,
Oh Chula Vista, oblivious neighbor where Pontiac sells bullet proof Escalades
Oh the Americas, one continent, so many people.
from TJ to LA hear Don Corleone sing,
 
(To the tune of “God Bless America”)
 
Gangster America, land that I whack
from the Indians with casinos
who think they can buy their country back.
From the mountains, to the prairies, to the ocean front I own,
gangster America the land that takes,
gangster America, makes no mistakes.

 

 

Brandon Cesmat has conducted readings throughout The Americas. His books include Driven into the Shade, Light in All Directions and When Pigs Fall in Love. His blog is http://brandoncesmat.blogspot.com/

Cesmat currently teaches creative writing at CSU San Marcos and for California Poets in the Schools. He blogs about writer residencies for CPITS at http://cpits.wordpress.com/ 
           

Cesmat’s interdisciplinary work includes performances with the arts ensemble Drought Buoy, collaborating with visual artists at the Escondido Municipal Gallery and California Center for the Arts Museum, a documentary on poetry from the San Diego-Tijuana region titled Cruzando Líneas. He is currently an artist in residence for the San Diego Arts Institute Page-to-Stage program.

WMWSD (Weapons of Men Who Self-Destruct)for Sheikh al-Libi, his interrogators and all who believed them

Brandon Cesmat

 

“Are you horrific, Sheikh al Libi?”
“No!” the prisoner screams.
“Did you witness meetings between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein?”
“No!” he screams some more.
“Are you thirsty, Sheikh al Libi?”
and he screams deeply, like a harpooned whale.
 
During the waterboarding,
Sheikh al Libi asks his interrogators,
Are you really so wealthy
you want to wage another land war in Asia?
I mean, it’ll cost money you ain’t got.
I suppose you could borrow it from China.
I never knew you guys were that tight.
But don’t you love your citizens, more than that?
You’ve don’t have a problem killing us by the thousands,
I get that.
But thousands of your own, really?
Ya know, the lethal stress of the truth
is a slow trauma none of us survives.
 
The interrogator turned off the hose.
Years ago, he would’ve whipped al-Libi with it.
Now, it was like gardening.
What could he raise in this desert?
 
“Are you horrific, Sheikh al-Libi?”
“Yes!” Sheikh al-Libi screams.
“Do you want to kill Americans?”
“Yes!” he screams again.
“Do you know where the weapons of mass destruction are?”
They all listened hard. Al-Libi heard the hum of power
running through the prison walls of Bagrahm Air Base,
a hum left there by Soviet electricians,
a power running through thoughtful transformers.
“Of course, I know where the weapons of mass destruction are hidden,”
Sheikh al Libi said, sliding the words like blades
through gaps hypocrisy had blown through their Kevlar.
“I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
And everyone in the room got what he wanted.

 

 

 

Brandon Cesmat please see complete biographical information on the author’s additional works and on the Author’s Page.

 

 

At the Party (for Saad, In Memoriam)

Olga Garcia

 

 
no one knows the color of my panties
their blues a camouflaged secret

basmati with cardamon and saffron
–an erotic dance in my nostrils–

Arabic   English   Spanish  
mingle around the kebab.
mint   grape leaves   and   baklava  
thrash away my despair

an oasis of jasmine and orange blossoms
ravished by a golden cooked light
as we are introduced

his hand ignites the Lilith in me
his neck   an offering of psalms to kiss
his mouth   an act of honey and sweet almonds
the Song of Songs   a tunic on me as i hear his voice

fate——his sensual eyes on me!

 

 

Olga Garcia was born and raised in Torreón, México. A Physics and Mathematics major, she writes poetry in English and Spanish. Her work has been published in local and international anthologies.A member of the Advisory Board of San Diego Writers Ink, she lives seven minutes away from the Tijuana-San Diego border.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consecration

Olga Garcia

                      after a photo in a Tijuana  newspaper
 

 

in the wasteland, over a flattened plastic garbage bag as altar for their consecration, the two heads face each other.

someone puts invisible tape on their eyelids to hold open their eyes,
grooms their hair and in vain, closes their mouths.

All this Holy Coliseum for their debutant photo on Tijuana’s front page!
           
listen to their inner demons invoke their ruptured scrotums,
their severed necks and beer bellies.

listen to the hissing of Santa Muerte* in the strangled breath.

 

*Holy Death: the custom of worshipping death derived from the Aztecs and still practiced in Mexican culture. Recently, this custom has gained popularity with criminal gangs and drug cartels. 

 

 

Olga Garcia was born and raised in Torreón, México. A Physics and Mathematics major, she writes poetry in English and Spanish. Her work has been published in local and international anthologies.A member of the Advisory Board of San Diego Writers Ink, she lives seven minutes away from the Tijuana-San Diego border.