Observations or Home In Order of Nostalgia

[i] The gum popping hairdresser would braid my hair so tight
my edges looked like a bribe hiding from the public.
She always reminded me she gave me a discount
in this tough economic climate for being the daughter,
of the Aunty, of the uncle, of the mother.

[ii] My mother and I would spend weekends at the market,
negotiating the prices of food before buying them.
I used my skills to negotiate the cost of digesting
my father’s mistakes into my body.
His mistakes drag like Ogbono soup,
accompanies new trauma to make a tasty meal.

[iii] When home smiles at me I see the gap tooth
between the rich and the poor,
politicians swallowed the money meant for braces,
their stomachs look like swollen gums.

[iv] My grandfather was a simple man,
the flashiest thing he flaunted were his teeth.
We tucked away his belongings
when the chewing sticks he used to brush his teeth
reminded us of what dementia did to his brain.

[v] The devil is a business man
it’s no surprise a false preacher once charged
the pepper seller down my street her life savings
in exchange for a mansion in heaven. The preacher
warned me I was behind on my payments to heaven,
I told him I need God to extend my overdraft first.

[vi] Fela Kuti’s mother was thrown off a balcony
by soldiers angered by her sons activism.
Fela’s mother’s spine was a flagpole broken into half,
leaving my country’s flag to drape on the floor
trying to clean the blood stains
of those who died by the hands of the country.

-theresa lola

Since I’ve decided to revolutionize my life

Since I’ve decided to revolutionize my life

                       since

                                  ”

                       decided

                                           ”

                       revolutionize

                                           ”

                       life       

                                           ”

How early it is! It is eight o’clock in the morning.

Well, the pigeons were up earlier

Did you eat all your egg?

Now we shall go for a long walk.

Now? There is too much winter.

I am going to admire the snow on your coat.

Time for hot soup, already?

You have worked for three solid hours.

I have written forty-eight, no forty-nine,

no fifty-one poems.

How many states are there?

I cannot remember what is uniting America.

It is then time for your nap.

What a lovely, pleasant dream I just had.

But I like waking up better.

I do admire reality like snow on my coat.

Would you take cream or lemon in your tea?

No sugar?

And no cigarettes.

Daytime is good, but evening is better.

I do like our evening discussions.

Yesterday we talked about Kant.

Today let’s think about Hegel.

In another week we shall have reached Marx.

Goody.

Life is a joy if one has industrious hands.

Supper? Stew and well-cooked. Delicious.

Well, perhaps just one more glass of milk.

Nine o’clock! Bath time!

Soap and a clean rough towel.

Bedtime!

The Red Army is marching tonight.

They shall march through my dreams

in their new shiny leather boots,

their freshly laundered shirts.

All those ugly stains of caviar and champagne

and kisses

have been rubbed away.

They are going to the barracks.

They are answering hundreds of pink

and yellow and blue and white telephones.

How happy and contented and well-fed they look

lounging on their fur divans,

chanting, “Russia how kind you are to us.

How kind you are to everybody.

We want to live forever.”

Before I wake up they will throw away

their pistols, and magically

factories will spring up where once

there was rifle fire, a roulette factory,

where once a body fell from an open window.

Hurry dear dream

I am waiting for you

under the eiderdown.

And tomorrow will be more real, perhaps,

than yesterday.

Barbara Guest, Eating Chocolate Ice Cream: Reading Mayakovsky

[We wonder at our shifting capacities . . .]

We wonder at our shifting capacities, keep

adding and striking skills

from the bottoms of our résumés

under constant revision

like the inscriptions on tombs

shared for generations

unnervingly up

to date

Made nervous by our shift in capabilities, we write:

                                            I visited a country where kittens lay  dying

                                            under every bench, in every gutter, next to

                                            every  cigarette butt. One  made  me  weep.

                                            Two   made   me  worry.  Three   made   me

                                            look  away.  I  visited  a  city  with  very  few

                                            strays.  The   first   one   I   saw   I   adopted.

                                            What  could  it  mean?

                                                                          —posted by Sarah. 6.18.06

Hit “publish” and look away

The New Violence: I visited a country where

everything looked like home

Anna Moschovakis

Moon out and no snow yet, November first

Moon out and no snow yet, November first
The first anniversary of our wedding and
The day before election day, 1976, yesterday
Was Halloween, next Friday I have an appointment
With the dentist and the following Tuesday is
Lewis’s thirty-second birthday, exactly one week
After that Marie will be eleven months old.
The day before yesterday we turned the clocks back
One hour which made it seem like every day
Will have an extra hour in it, not only of darkness
But of just plain time, the time I used to spend
Skipping lunch is longer, the time for dinner
Is too early now, the time for sunset comes too soon
The time between dinner and Marie’s bedtime is too long
When it’s time to go to bed there’s still a few hours left
To read, I’m dreaming twice as much as before
I spend all my new time lying in bed thinking.
Last night I saw “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”
And tonight when I came into my room to go to work
I found an old seedpod on the floor by my desk.
In the movie if you see one of these it’s time to die.
It’s time to write some letters, good cold air
Comes in my window, it wakes me up, we had a bottle
Of champagne and Marie went to sleep without crying
It’s time to read Fielding’s Guide to European Travel
And the Alice Toklas Cookbook again, a few books by
      John McPhee
Our new American Heritage anniversary dictionary,
The Adventures of a Mathematician by Stanislas Ulam
And The Wild Boy of Aveyron by a behaviorist psychologist
About a boy brought up by wolves

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Bernadette Mayer

Clear the forests to see your enemies

I have come to realize the body is its own pyre, that degree

rises from within, the fatty acids a kind of kindling.

Like a scientist in a lab, this much I have established, blood jelled

like gasoline, the years spread before me like a map

pinned with targets, where I’m raging even now.

It works both ways. Clear the forests to see your enemies

and your enemies see you clearly. Like all effective incendiaries,

I won’t only bloom where I’m planted.

napalm by quan barry