Further thoughts on the cultural labor of poetry and art. Not merely "is it good?," but "what has it accomplished?"...reviews of recent poetry collections; selected poems and art dealing with war/peace/social change; reviews of poetry readings; links to political commentary (particularly on conflicts in the Middle East); youtubed performances of music, demos, and other audio-video nuggets dealing with peaceful change, dissent and resistance.
Friday, March 29, 2013
"Hilt's Law" by Jacob Rakovan
Poem of the Week:
The bones cast in the field like seed corn grow nothing,
grow briars in the boarded gas stations brown stalks ready for the fire. You do not hear our song, earth thick in our throats, benzene, chromium cadmium and arsenic
hosts of dead in cold-mill towns the day that does not come though prayed for.
The trains of coal and corpses, the price of power though wires are stretched like a mandolin on our backs though the saints bob above us like car-lot balloons You do not hear our singing. In electric light the bubble gum machine is full of teeth the babies' bottles with a slow sweet poison the air thick with cancer, the rain with teeth, without flowers, without cease.
This dream of sleep, in hunter's orange over oil-black in cups, in the hollows under eyes. The unborn sun in the darkest river, the hollow hills unsong of un-place, Bloody Harlan, Centralia the blessed fly over in air conditioned comfort.
Let the bone-fire of your city burn 'till your shadow stains.....the bricks
Let the dark come spilling from the mine thick as molasses Let the end come if it is coming, Let the rich hang from their ankles, a washtub full of black blood. You do not hear.
Let the hills and stones fall on us and cover us Let those curse us who curse the day, who are skillful the smelters of iron, and armaments, the hilltop removers.
Though we are dying, though we breath black dust and blue powder, spit liquor and blood the black drink, the earth's secret breath. Though we are toothless, though we are blind we hear this:
Steady trundle of the train under storm clouds loaded down with malediction, the radio tower's Babel-bleat to heaven with the black stone, with the dead for burning
song of electric light, and sleeplessness.
Weariest river at the end of all things
We follow you into the earth.
Used by permission.
Jacob Rakovan is an Appalachian writer in diaspora. He is a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry and recipient of a 2013 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His work has appeared in numerous journals including The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The James Dickey Review, Anon, Thrush and Phantom Drift: A Journal of New Fabulism as well as anthologies by Salmon Poetry Press, MTV Books and The Arsenic Lobster. His manuscript The Devil's Radio was a finalist for the 2012 Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature and the Gell poetry prize and is forthcoming on Small Doggies Press. He is co-curator of the Poetry & Pie Night reading series in Rochester, New York.
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Poem of the Week Open Call
Split This Rock began the Poem of the Week program in October 2009 as a way of publicizing the poets who were to be featured in the 2010 festival. We have since continued the series by featuring the work of participants of our festivals.
We are pleased to open the call up to any poet writing in the socially engaged vein -- festival participant or not.