Wednesday, October 9, 2019

One More Poetry Outlet Gone

The wonderful Tuck Magazine, a journal of social justice, poetry, fiction, essays and more, has closed its doors, closed them in fact, back in May. (Archives still up on their website.) Looking back, I see I have quite a few offerings in those pages. Here are just a few that seem pertinent today:


Diana says - I need some distraction
from the interaction

So what about the woman who sleeps on the floor
of the post office
Gentle Jim in the surf shed
The guy who can’t keep his pants up
or budget his dole?

Senator Mitchell, you have become beside
the point
            with your talking points
            Yes, this is happening right now
                        Right here
                                    Here                            Hear

                                    See something, say something

Diana of the naughty daughters

Sexual assault yeah it happens

But not on the floor
of the Senate
The floor of the cloakroom
or the Post office
The dark of the woods
The glare of the beach

They call it confirmation bias
See what you expect
Hear what you are predisposed to hear
            Speak the truth you want to believe

The fact is there are more than three monkeys – explains Diana
to her strangely quiet daughters 
                                                                           Tuck 2018

Time Lies Heavy on the Head of State

When you’re waiting for an indictment
and the next hot take from the White House

You need distraction from “Where are the children?”
and “I did not collude with those Russians!”

So you go for a long walk
with dogs who never think of time

And the sky is suddenly blue
devoid of contrails or conspiracies

The children are all accounted for
in the playground with moms and nannies

The Russians are all in books written
by guys with long unpronounceable names

Time stands still for a while
Water is clean and populated by ducks

Air is fresh and not a coal plant
in sight, nor tar sands nor asbestos

Walls are for holding in the earth
for lilies and roses and geraniums

No one is denied a plane
or told to go back where they came from

We are all where we belong
Dogs can tell you that

Every step, every joyous leap,
every play bite on the leash

equal opportunity for fun
and love of life on the one day they take

at a time.

                                                                                       Tuck, 1/22/19


If Cheryl wasn’t leaning, smoking, against the front bumper
of the VW in the Salisbury Beach parking lot,
that summer of 1966,
while Bobby Whittaker and I made out in the back seat,
his Beatle hair flopping into his eyes, charged –
and if the bright summer afternoon wasn’t crowded with moms,
dads, kids –
it might have happened then.

If Wendy and Steve had not tagged along, insistent,
to the party at Harvard’s Elliott House – Steve’s house too 
he reminded me —
and then followed us home, me and drunken Tad
that spring of 1967,
and tucked him into bed on the living room couch
covered by an Indian print bedspread,
and sat on the floor making small talk until he was sound asleep,
his snores full of beer and lost desire,
it might have happened then.

If I hadn’t learned enough self-defense to know
how to sound tough when I wasn’t feeling it,
and didn’t have that confidence born of being right –
if not in the right place –
when the dead-eyed man who stopped
for the girl hitchhiking on Mass. Ave at twilight
reached across the front seat and grabbed at my breast,
I wouldn’t have shouted “You fucking pig!”
loud enough for people in other cars to notice,
and if I hadn’t  grabbed for the door handle
when his eyes came alive with hate,
and tumbled right out onto the still-hot pavement,
it might have happened then.

And if I hadn’t grown wary and distant
and been lucky –
mostly that, dumb luck, kept bad things at bay,
most of the time –
it might have happened anyway.

But it didn’t.  I made it.
So far.

                                                               Tuck, 2/19/19


No comments:

Post a Comment