All posts tagged: poetry

Immigrants in Years 2070, 2081, and 2097 Must Furnish the Following Documents

Two poems by FISTON MWANZA MUJILA

Translated from the French by J. BRET MANEY

 

Translator’s Note

As xenophobic arguments about merit-based immigration and “migrant caravans” intensify in the US, and as desperate boatloads of refugees cross the Mediterranean, poetry of (im)migration and border-crossing plays a crucial role in bearing witness and resistance.

Immigrants in Years 2070, 2081, and 2097 Must Furnish the Following Documents
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November 2019 Poetry Feature: Ron Welburn

Poems by RON WELBURN

Please welcome back The Common contributor Ron Welburn.

Contents:

  • Marginal Note for Historical Revision
  • Pretty Memory
  • Analog to Ancestry

 

MARGINAL NOTE FOR HISTORICAL REVISION

“Neither Huguenot nor Timucuan gained much
from the other. The Huguenots tried to convert
the Timucuan to Protestantism. The Timucuans
taught the Huguenots to smoke tobacco.”

(Charles Hudson, The Southeastern Indians, 1976. p. 429)

November 2019 Poetry Feature: Ron Welburn
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LDR

By BERNARD FERGUSON

the great ramble of the roads toward the airport, the flight
up & down the flight of stairs inside the house in which
i work now, inside the city & its parks that sprawl long & point
toward the river, which points toward an ocean, the soft hush of the air
conditioning unit above my bed, the drop of rain against my window

LDR
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Pilgrimage to A Killing

By R. ZAMORA LINMARK

Dear friend, take me to where they dragged you.
Show me the plaza flanked by homes made
of hollow blocks, plywood, rusty tin sheets—
anything to keep rain and flies out.
Point to me the CCTV that followed you
across the basketball court with its torn nets
and kids scrambling home to screaming mothers.

Pilgrimage to A Killing
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Labor Day: Brighton Beach

By NATHAN MCCLAIN

How lovely, at last, to have nothing to do but sit, shirtless, in my collapsible chair, reading Gerald Stern’s American Sonnets, and lovely to sit, beer in my lap, just a little tipsy, lovely, too, to ignore beauty, or desire, or whatever, the young woman unfolding her nylon tent, smacking each stake into the sand with her sandal’s heel, slipping discreetly into her swim suit, though I could watch the plane zip past, tugging a banner for Wicked, which there was still time to see if you wanted, or the sailboat glide slowly by, and it was a good day for sailing, a good day, so I didn’t have to think about sorrow or loss, though, let’s face it, I did, how not to—the old man missing a left leg—not how it happened, or when—but if it gets easier, you know, living with it, crutch snug under each armpit, and Jill had been gone a long time to warm her goat curry, then further out, a jet ski, like a straight razor, slits the water’s surface, Carmen already asleep under a sun hat.

Labor Day: Brighton Beach
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The God Structure

By CHLOE MARTINEZ

 

“It has a god structure. I think it will resist a long time.”

—Customer review of the Uniqlo Beauty Light bra, $19.99

 

O keep me up, keep me going. Keep it together. Smooth me. Reduce
excess movement. There is a heaviness. There is around me a
God Structure. It helps me organize my thoughts. It has laid out
plans, I think, for various eventualities, and the existence of plans,

The God Structure
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Day-Trip with Missing Binky

By J.J. STARR

I knew I should have told her / we’d been traveling a few hours
she hated the interstates / back routes took us through weird

towns / she liked the fields this way and up close
they come up with tassels swaying gold-beamed wind-socks / in their way

their green so bright you’d think / the whole field a fruit ripe
enough to bite into / and the clouds so perfect and numerous and floating

like a fleet of wish and cool whip / something for the angels to rest on
she would say / and mean it as the towns came upon us like unwrapped

trinkets with a single grocer / and at least one saloon
no matter the dry Sunday / the kind of places men hung

around smoking with one / inevitable woman weathered
as a mailbox / leaning into the side of the building

Day-Trip with Missing Binky
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