News and Events

Announcing two upcoming readings for October:

October 11th @ Noon – Wednesdays at Westminster 

Westminster Presbyterian Church | 724 Delaware Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14209

Wednesdays at WPC

 

October 21st @ 6:00PM – Slipstream Magazine Anthology Launch and Annual Reading

The Book Corner | 1801 Main Street | Niagara Falls, NY 14305

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What I’m Reading

Post election slump hit hard.  All November and December I carried its heavy slam to the gut, the back of the head.  Forehead ached.  I needed to read something, a poem, to right myself and the country again.  Wired on November 22 posted “Don’t Look Now, But 2016 is Resurrecting Poetry.”  They reported:

In the 48 hours following the election, Poets.org also saw its biggest surge of shares in four years. Over a two-day span, the site typically sees 80-100 people tweeting links to its poems, and about 70-100 retweeting those links. On November 8 and 9, more than 550 people tweeted out poems with 720 people retweeting those links. The top poems on the site since then have been Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise,” a declaration of selfhood about blacks rising against white oppression (read more than 50,000 times); Langston Hughes’s poem on the American dream, “Let America Be America Again” (35,000 times); and W.H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939” about the beginning of WWII (close to 25,000 times).

I clicked on each link.  Rereading these poems, my head still felt foggy.  A few weeks later, though, I read John Paul O’connor’s “The Fall.”  O’connor nailed it for me.  Its final lines, that straight to the point, “of course they’re not all right,” finally provided me with the clarity to feel, to speak.

THE FALL

My old friend and I walk down the sidewalk after drinking beer
and whiskey at the pub and despairing over the election of the new
president. Walk is the wrong word, at least for my friend,
who is in a wheelchair he’s occupied since he fell from a roof
thirty-five years ago. We haven’t gone half a block when his front
casters hit the edge of a section of sidewalk heaved up half an inch
and his chair halts with a jolt and he pitches forward and lands
spread-eagle on the concrete. At exactly the same time the toes
of my shoes stumble on the same edge of pavement and I arrive
next to my friend as if we are bunk mates flopping belly first onto
our mattresses. I pick myself up and look at the atrophied legs
crumpled beneath him as he lifts his torso upright and wonders
aloud in a panicked tone whether one of them might be broken.
He wouldn’t know. The pain that comes with crushed limbs
hasn’t lived in his legs for decades. He can’t get himself up
and I don’t have the strength to lift him properly back into the seat
of his chair. Help arrives; stragglers from the nearby bar. He’s back
in his chair and I’m on my feet, humbled that we are two drunks
who have been face down near the gutter. And we are old drunks,
who would appear to most of the world as pathetic and beyond
empathy. Our jeans are torn and dirty and the country of our birth
has just elected a fascist to lead a drunken nation down a road
of frost heaves and potholes toward a cliff. I walk with my friend
to his car, help him make his transfer in front of the steering wheel
and place his chair wheels in the back seat. Then he is gone and
I walk the other way, over the Fremont Bridge, below the misted street
lamps wondering if his legs are all right before I hear my own voice
speaking to the darkened sky, “Well, of course they’re not all right.”
John Paul O’Connor

News & Events

Announcing two new poems published in Muddy River Review … click on titles below to read.

Coal                                     Last Call is Wafer Thin

coal                         ambrogio_lorenzetti_002-detail-temperance

Also, announcing upcoming Fall readings:  please join us for poems, stories, refreshments, and a generally lively time.

19 November – 3pm at Rust Belt Books in Buffalo with Lockport poet, Marc Pietrzykowski.

01 December – 12:30pm at Niagara County Community College (Room C161) along with fiction writer, Elizabeth Sachs.

 

News and Events

Four New Poems:

Look for new poems being published this fall and winter in Muddy River Review and The Bookends Review.  Check out their current issues in the meantime.

Two Upcoming Readings:

I will be reading at Niagara County Community College along with fiction writer, Elizabeth Sachs on December 1st at 12:30, C161.

I will also be reading November 19th at 3:00pm at Rust Belt Books in Buffalo with Lockport poet, Marc Pietrzykowski