Not Very Bright


Not very bright,
fairly not right,
they want to leave this world,
turn out the light.

Watch the sun dim;
dim the sun watch,
the koi-day sluggish
in timeless nightswim.

Wasting the time,
time running out,
they want to leave flatland
for the mild lapis clime.

Life unaware,
wary of life,
they quail mountain thunder:
quelled by the bugbear.

The end: depart,
they end parted
from the world of reason
into the dark.

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The Eyes of My Regret


A lways at dusk, the same tearless experience,
The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path
To the same well-worn rock;
The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun
The same tints—rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey
Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;
Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to a point;
Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,
Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,
Watching, watching—watching me;
The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will dusk after dusk;
The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the night, chin on knees
Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly miserable,
—The eyes of my Regret.

Angelina Weld Grimké

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A Paleness Then Thrown

A     paleness then thrown
spreads like manic wildfire avaricious, tinning cultures
OTHER—a windfall amassed by spacial underpinning,
a construct of religious license: a mask for murder
and ransacking ample stores from the indigenous.
Colonists dismiss their brothers and trample their brain-trusts;
Unholy! Monopoles rupture annals, sequence amiss
under tragedy skies, circles of vultures persistent,
odor of rot under the surface lasts for centuries.

No more: the golden tapestry of African custom
across the continent where hominids first stood upright.
No more: the floating gardens, the moon and sun pyramids,
and the pigmented, sacred stone of the Americas.
No more: the three-sister agriculture, wigwam lodges,
canoes, or powwows as nations sundanced near buffalo.
No more: vast numbers of brown collectives, some of them named,
some cut from the margins of archives in disavowal.

Ghosts of the lost and dead haunt the blood-soaked trails of tears.
Displaced. The list is long—the havoc unforgivable.
Lamentations for the fallen under the plow of progress,
from clans to cities organized over lifetimes before
a paleness then thrown.

*[ WSB ].



Nostalgia of L. M. Boyd,
crossword puzzles and The Phantom
comic from the childhood gazette;
the boy connected to the world at large,
the movie and book reviews unscrolled:
entropy corralled in columned sheets.
The aroma of newsprint and coffee
as the sun clears the shadows of night,
the experience of unfolding
folio like the golden mean,
the thickness reverses to crinkle
before the flattening snap of order.

Twelve points in a pica,
six picas in an inch:
every inch on the plate, Pulitzer —
all crash and no blossom.

Blueline the bleedthrough of headshot scandal
above the fold, a spotlight headline
from the fourth estate,
correspondents with ironclad sources,
an incendiary nut graph
for the hawkers and newsies
to bump up the circulation.
Stitch and trim the page proof;
pull out the polybags;
the wet morn waits for the bulldogs —
a broadsheet liftout pressed on the day:
may the presses never stop.

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After Striving


I     think of my father’s one-room woodshop,
how his business sign eventually blew over
beside apple trees and blueberry bushes.

At church, men would ask, Staying busy?
He hated that question, and kept adding logs
to the stove and sanding doors.

There was a time I’d stare at the grass in September
and not think about the push mower.

When work is over, I find his skin. His hips
metronome while rinsing plates like it’s joy
he’s practicing. We relearn simple math like dance,
because how long have we been striving
and what has work numbed?

Corrie Lynn White

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Journey: AfterLife


A     golden boy
with forty-nine amulets
and ochroid mask;

from nested coffins
travels to the afterlife,
the feet sandaled white;

steps from sarcophagus.
The way perilous,
the fronded body shielded

by cartonnage,
he begins to recite
the verses across auric

tongue, before the heart
silenced by a blond scarab
is judged ’gainst feather.

The knot of Isis
loosens, and the boy looks
into the eye of Horus.

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* : This Is America Armed to the Teeth.


Scenes of agony and horror all too familiar
—in ’merica.
Ten mass shootings a week.

Firearm injuries:
leading cause of death among people
< 24 in the United States.

2015 through 2020: at least 2,070 unintentional shootings
by children under 18 in the US:
765 deaths and 1,366 injuries.

Firearm deaths over the past three decades—
a total of more than 1 million lives lost since 1990.

A burden unequal.
Homicide rate among young Black men:
142 homicide deaths for every 100,000 Black men ages 20 to 24—
10 times higher than the overall rate.

There are about 393 million privately owned firearms in the US:
120 guns for every 100 Americans.
—No other nation has more civilian guns than people.

mass shooting —
at least four people are shot,
excluding the ƒ⋂Ͻkᴉɳ⅁ shooter.

Remember, we’re alone.
It does not have to be this way.
Laws to curb gun deaths in other countries achieved significant results.

Less than two weeks after Australia’s worst mass shooting,
the federal government banned rapid-fire rifles/shotguns, and unified gun licensing/registration.
Gun deaths in Australia fell by more than 50%.

The government’s 1997 buyback program—
led to an average drop in firearm suicide rates of 74%.

South Africa.
Gun-related deaths almost halved over a 10-year-period after
the Firearms Control Act of 2000.
Much more difficult to obtain a firearm.

Tightened its gun laws and banned most private handgun ownership
after a mass shooting in 1996, a move that saw
gun deaths drop by almost a quarter over a decade.

But America’s gun culture is a global outlier.
For now, and for how long,
must the deadly cycle of violence continue?

: What about all the gunless cold, dead hands?

* Versification | “Three weeks and 39 mass shootings. This is America in 2023.” Paul LeBlanc/CNN

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*YouTube Reaction | Ashleigh Burton: “2001”


I     ain’t about to drink peas.
Ashleigh contains multitudes.

Just a black screen,
the [Music] makes me nervous.
Magnificent, the planets and the sun.
The Dawn of Man;
too quiet; I don’t like it.
Oh my God, are those ant eaters?
I just don’t feel like they’re real:
never seen one.

That reaction is appropriate: touch it—
what’s the worst that can happen?

So thus, the first tool was made: a hammer,
tool and weapon;
that’s why the anteaters are falling over dead.
Kill, beat his ass: survival of the fittest—
the internal monologue.

Cohesive notes in harmony,
the offices from all angles—
a beautiful little landing dance.
You are cleared through voice print identification
we have face ID.

Oh my God! I love those chairs!

I’m sorry sweetheart but I can’t.
Why not?
Daddy is in outer space.
What is a bush baby?
I’m just on my way up to Clavius,
and I definitely know what they’re talking about.

Why wear these ridiculous looking caps
and not find some extra-hold hairspray?

The astronaut suits in this movie look like HVAC pipe.
I never thought I’d be scared of a metal slab
jabbed in the ground.

To be a singer for this soundtrack, could you imagine
just going in a booth, and the director saying:
moan—like a lament.

Getting a workout sideways.
I don’t like a computer saying they’re conscious.
Do you believe that Hal has genuine emotions?
Good question.
Of course, he’s programmed that way
to make it easier for us to talk to him.
Why is this starting to really stress me out?

O listen! If the smartest computer is worried about it,
I’m worried about it.
Concerned that the computer was faking genuine concern,
and I fell for it.

I would not survive a long-term space mission,
or a short-term one for that matter.
The close-up of the little red dot of HAL really stresses me out.
It’s puzzling.
Running cross-checking routines to determine reliability of this conclusion;
Hal caught in a lie.

I wish I’d known there is an intermission.

Stop looking at me, I feel the red eyeball on me.
If Hal’s in charge of keeping those people hibernated,
there’s nothing stopping him from killing all three of those people;

I could never exist in silence.

Open the pod bay doors please HAL
You don’t really have remorse.
Will you stop Dave?
Why is this so unsettling to me.
I’m afraid.
No you’re not, you can’t feel emotions.
No it’s not Dave, you gotta focus,
you gotta focus.
I can feel it
good I hope it hurts.
Oh my God, HAL saying I can feel it over and over again.
And he taught me to sing a song;
No thanks, don’t want to hear it,
sorry no.

Good day gentlemen.
Whose voice is that?
Four million year old black monolith
deliberately buried neath the lunar surface
. . .
[Music] Only have 30 more minutes left;
everybody’s dead except Dave;
he just found out that he’s headed to life on Jupiter
to find out why this monolith is monolithing.

I guess just because he’s the smartest computer;
he didn’t want human error to ruin the mission;
he trusted himself more than he trusted his teammates;
you know, I get that.

Cuts back to Bowman,
I just want to stay on the lights.
I don’t like his face being scared.
Oh this one’s nice: this is what it feels like the inside of a lava lamp.
The Kubrick stare: through the eyebrows;
Jack Nicholson did it in The Shining;
Jenna Ortega as Wednesday.

How the hell you end up in this room?
what makes this movie so unsettling?
Not in a scary way, uncomfortable.
The monolith, the blackness.
Black rectangle, then symbolically the big bang,
and the monkeys, pre-human,
and then BOOM, monolith.
And then the discovery of weapons,
and then BOOM,
fast forward: space travel, get to the moon,
BOOM: monolith.
The third one about Jupiter,
the last thing:

the unknown force moves everything along.

*versification: script: :
Ashleigh Burton.

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