Category Archives: Poetry

Y2K

by Esteban Rodríguez

Because every computer would die,
and software would become a relic
overnight, your father packed a survival kit,
bought extra water, canned food,
cartridges for a shotgun he feared
he’d have to use, warning of asesinos,
ladrones, of a desperation that would lead us
to do things we thought we’d never do.
And so we waited, and instead of going outside,
starting a barbecue, watching the fireworks
light up the neighborhood, we huddled
in the living room, pretended it was a basement,
pretended what we were seeing on TV
wasn’t real, that the crowd in Times Square –
never mind Australia or New Zealand –
was, according to your father, prerecorded,
propaganda, paid for by the government
to hide the truth, which, as the night carried on,
you were unsure about, confused as to what
was really true. And maybe you made all this up,
maybe there was no kit, no sense of anxiety,
paranoia, that that evening your father
was just tired, and so was your mother,
and because they’d been on their feet all day,
they wanted, even as the century was about to end,
to sit, rest, to believe that as they watched
the celebrations, they were still a part of them,
that they were there to witness the world
stay exactly the same.

 

Esteban Rodríguez is the author of Dusk & Dust, forthcoming from Hub City Press (September 2019). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Puerto del Sol, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He lives with his family and teaches in Austin, Texas.

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Golden Station

by Joe Balaz

Incurious
and numb to it all

da emotional atmospherics
dat stay emanating from da brain

is kinnah different
den da locomotive pulling da train.

 

Let me apply some scrutiny
and put wun x-ray on da situation.

 

I can see lately

dat it’s very complicated
and sometimes frustrating

cause da scope
of wat it’s really about

no boil down
to wun perceptible sound bite.

 

Sliding into doubt
or second guessing

can derail anyting
and send you into wun ditch.

 

In da face of dat

no come all bent
and trow your hands up in da air

cause da golden station
is always deah

waiting at da end of da destination.

 

Dere’s too much power
available in da engine

to not get back on track
and race down dat dream.

 

Joe Balaz has created works in American English and Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai`i Creole English). He is the editor of Ho`omanoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature and is the author of Pidgin Eye

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For What It’s Worth

by Kathleen Hellen

“Find Your Fearless,” said the piggy
on the desk in separate offices
of banks of America, Continue reading

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State of the Union

by Karen Kovacik

after Elizabeth Acevedo

Although I am his wife, I’m no longer his lover.
I am not the washcloth that fondles

his penis and balls, nor the spoon
of sorbet on his tongue. I am not oxygen

tubing that swishes behind him like a skirt,
rival imagined from literal air, Continue reading

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Illustrating Emily

by Bryce Berkowitz

after Kim Addonizio

She hangs around, bestowing new doubt to your friends
or else she disappears over the long weekend.
She shows up again mid-week, when you’re finally sober,

like someone passing through town who just invited you to dinner.
She allows you to search, then provides variant meanings.
When you lie in bed Continue reading

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