For this past January’s inauguration, after so much stress beforehand including armed insurrection, Dorothy Friedman gathered some poet friends together the day after the official celebration for a Zoom poetry reading. This reading is captured below on the Vimeo and some of the poets turned seers have shared the poems they read, and those follow as well. Enjoy this enjoyable reading of good will and hope for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Wishing them well, may we all, here and abroad, be healthy, happy and prosper working for the common good looking forward to a better future in the next four years to come.
POEM IN CELEBRATION OF BIDEN / HARRIS INAUGURATION (JANUARY 20, 2021) by Dorothy Friedman
To locate the exact moment we achieve community
look in the center of any woman and man and you will find it,
in every plant and animal and everything the sky and sea give back.
When women and men are born on the wings of birds.
And everything is infinite. Infinite joy. Infinite love. Infinite poems
Women and men healing each other’s sounds
Men and women bringing the wounded to heal.
Then nothing will be impossible. Love will be unceasing.
Younger women. Older women. All springing from the womb.
Then women and men came by twos and twos:
perfect and imperfect women.
lawful and lawless women
The mother in every child.
The child in every woman.
So come women and men, hand in hand,
carry light to the world so it can see itself more clearly.
Come men and women endlessly arriving,
the normal and abnormal, all come and no one
will be able to separate us: giant women, tiny women,
giant men, tiny men–
and when you look in the mirror you see
you are all of them, none higher or lower,
all sisters and brothers, their souls awakening in us.
Then we arrive on the wings of a giant bird.
What kind I do not know, but it is white and black,
yellow and blue. Other colors too.
And our blood flows throughout the world,
out of the universal bloodstream:
Blood of Chippewa. Blood of Pawnee,
Of Sioux and African, Of Asian and Puerto Rican
from the mountain waters to the deserts and glaciers
This is what we celebrate today, when our blood flows
into one another and everyone is our sister and everyone our brother.
When the legs of women spread open and they give birth to women
who are women, and men who are women.
Women women coming. Men women coming into the world
bringing the promise of all the beauty that is possible.
Quote Repair by Flash Rosenberg
William Hazlet said, Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.
But I say, Food causes witless conversation about salt.
Benjamin Franklin said, Sloth makes all things difficult.
But I say, It is difficult to make a sloth.
English Proverb: All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.
But I say, Dull work and no boys makes one jack off.
Lord Chesterfield said, Idleness is the holiday of fools.
But I say, Holidays fool us into idleness.
Thomas Fuller said, He that asketh faintly beggeth a denial.
But I say, He that speaketh with so much “eth”
is beggeth by everyone to shut up.
Gustave Flaubert said, Happy are those who have no doubt of themselves.
But I say, Stupid are those who have no doubt of themselves.
Never can say farewell…by Joanie HF Zosike
…to 2020. I think I got a tattoo of it
smack dab in the middle of my tuches
The toxic ink will never bleed out
the way passion bleeds from my feet,
bypassing normal sphincters—NORMAL!
There’s that word again, damn it
NORMAL will never
BE again…like, will it always be 2020?
Don’t will it! No redo’s despite Phase Two
I want to dream that mindless viruses
and evil heartlessness can pass like gas
into the exosphere, so high up, in a region
where religion strays and nothing stays
but transcendental goop confined to a
menstrual cup with half a sandwich
A Bushtit hides behind April blossoms,
embarrassed pink by its x-rated name:
Tit-bushtit, Tit-bushtit, Tit-bushtit
Oh sing me not of luculent flowers, neither
embattle me with bodily functions or alien
language, I mean alien out of this biosphere
If we’re going to speak beyond normal,
Let’s speak BEYOND NORMAL
In 2021 and in 2120, too, there will still be
Sno-caps and Raisinettes. Never doubt
something sweet will replenish this
tortured globe and its sweet wimpy
inhabitants. Maybe a second chance
at the whirligig dance! Just might be…
All quiet on the Twitter front
Before the Inauguration by Ron Kolm
Dressed in riot gear
To keep the peace
The Statue of Freedom
In the Capitol building.
In the White House
Not all that far away
A furious President dreams
He’s on his private jet
Clearly labelled ‘Trump’
Flying to Russia.
Barbara Rosenthal read the first three minutes of:
Section 2 Chapter 23:
Jack’s Speech: Homo Futurus in the Trans-Millennial Century
from her novel Wish for Amnesia, Deadly Chaps Press, 2017
“Dear friends,” Jack said, “dear friends, dear friends….”
Immediately, the voices set upon him, taunting, challenging, yelling in his ears.
You Are The Most Important Man On Earth!
What Are You Going To Do!
It’s Up To You To Fix The World!
“…energies synchronize in harmony…” Jack said,
“…that workers in our colony…individual pursuit of sustenance….”
It’s Up To You To Fix Everything!
“…bring into reality…planet in fit balance…habitat… hominids…dominant species set for continuation and preparedness…endurance…population….”
You Are The New Messiah!
It’s You The Comet Rode In This Time!
“…plagues, pestilence, famine, drought….”
What Are You Going To Do About It!
“…set to fit in perfected state to engage other cosmic
species, or do we engage them unprepared, and at the point of desperation, having failed to make a go of our own species within our own habitat? Do we launch out defeated by ourselves only to be defeated elsewhere, on another’s home territory?…”
Rambling! You Are Rambling! “…particles…ourselves…others….”
Ha Ha! You Can’t Do It!
“…How can peoples…can every individual…can we
each take responsibility…can we recognize each other as ourselves….”
August 21, 1985, Jewel took her notebook out of her pocket and wrote. My father is a radical idealist. And Caroline pulled the inlaid fountain pen from her bag, and grabbed a nearby napkin to jot a blotty furtherance: More than “each other” — better if “all variations.”
A wave of uneasiness washed over Jack from the sea of faces adrift in misgivings.
RED by Susan Sherman
Red means STOP
It is the color of fire
of passion revolution
of the sun rising and setting
It is the color of the heart
Flowers are red & the devil
It is the color of contradiction
of motion As a child
my chosen favorite was blue
It still is But I turn to red
as one turns to the future
As one is pulled by the future
to be acknowledged & met
THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED LONGING by Susan Sherman
so fragile it must never be spoken
The wind leaves its mark with invisible palms
The face of the wind is silence
But all this is a facade for something
so simple it defies definition
The world is terrible huge beyond
our control As babies we knew it
As adults we had to pretend to
forget Longing is part of remembering
and so we declare independence
think we have got it beat think it
no longer matters
Yet we must fight the distance
with what sustenance but each other
I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman read by Bertha Rogers
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
The Gift Outright by Robert Frost read by Bertha Rogers
The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
Journal Entry by Robert Anthony Gibbons
Re: Celebration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
This past week, we celebrated a man by the name of Martin Luther King. I want to elevate in 2021. It reminded me I had to catch up with breathing like I had to catch up with my reading. As I laid there in my own internal ecosystem; after January 15th, after resurrection and the
advent of a New Year; I want to elevate in 2021. The way I can do this is to rise above my circumstances when my body felt like a prickly pear. It was too easy to sleep all day. It was too easy to say I am tired and angry. I am too sleepy, but Rumi said, “ do not go to sleep.”
And Martin fought in the 60’s in the pack of the revolution, but he knew he went to sleep; if you become too comfortable with your art, we are living in impending time. So, Martin appreciated the infinite atmosphere. Martin said, “I’ve been to the mountaintop.”
Martin wanted to elevate into the upper atmosphere. He wanted to witness the God of smoke. He wanted to witness the God of fog. He wanted to choke off the haze of the universe. He wanted the purse of the river. He wanted to see the salmon snake up river; the realm of evergreen.
I want to elevate in 2021. My body became a big mass of nothing. I could not sleep. I wanted to become the illumination of William Blake although my body aches. This is the agony of the poet. The story has to flower. It has to create minute by minute that in 2020 has no consequence on the present. I had to leave it. I made a mess of myself with cough syrup and tissue, but Martin had this kind of magic.
A Capitol Offense by Patricia Carragon
a quid pro quo threw knives
into the government’s heart
a coup to reinstate an orange plague
fueled by messianic idiocy
used privilege to smash windows
& attempt abduction of evidence for a nation’s choice
but threats will not cease
shutting down a malevolent man’s Facebook
or Twitter accounts will not end a war used as landfill
to hide the truth for more than four years
a new messiah will rise carry the mob’s banner
that fell on the Capitol’s steps
we forget that this stolen nation
was born from unrest greed & phobias
we are not safe
when Black Lives don’t matter
when ICE puts shackles on brown wrists
when one person’s God is the only God
when women’s uteruses are no longer theirs
when people can’t express their love for another
when age becomes a negative number
when the list for injustice keeps getting longer
the earth is dying as we speak
shit happened in Europe
it can also happen here