April 19-25, 2021: Poetry from Doug Holder and Janis Brams

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Doug Holder

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. His work has appeared in The Worcester Review, Rattle, The Cafe Review and elsewhere. Holder’s latest book of poetry is “The Essential Doug Holder” (Big Table Publishing)  The “Doug Holder Papers Collection” is now housed at the University of Buffalo Libraries. Visit him on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Doug Holder and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Working the Night Shift at McLean Hospital

McLean is a psychiatric hospital outside of Boston

A decade.
A decade of long nights.
A long string of darkness.

My eyes squinting at
the stranger
of early morning sunlight.
The morning commuters and I
in furious opposition
we are on the
opposite side of
the tracks.

The day in progress,
I come home
fall asleep
to the din
of talk radio.
Disembodied voices that
intertwine with my sleep. 

The night shift
my soft cushion
to the frenzy
of the world.

Janis Brams

Janis Brams lives in Cardiff-By-The-Sea, a San Diego beach community. She has published in the Penmen Review and elsewhere. Janis taught students of all ages and facilitated a group of senior citizens in their nineties who wrote memoirs. She is currently leading Pen & Page sessions that involve free writing using poetry and prose as jump-off points.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Janis Brams and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Brisket…

Meat that comes from the breast,
Beneath the breast the heart.

Slip a blade between flesh and fat.
Trim the greasy white sinews
but not too much.
Balance must be preserved
between what is good for us
and what is not.

We set the table,
Cut the challah,
pour the wine.
Generations together
like links in a chain.

I sit next to my sister,
watch as she searches
for meat with less fat,
cutting and spearing
small morsels to chew.
I’m like her,
savoring the sweet and the sour.
We tear pieces of challah, soak them in gravy,
wipe the thick sauce from our chins.

 

Afterward

Who will remember to squeegee the shower door,
sweep the crumbs after dinner?
Who will fill the fountain,
watch finches and hummingbirds dip their beaks,
fluff their feathers?
Who will straighten the sheets
beneath the blanket
puff the pillows
and wake him
when he falls asleep
in the downstairs recliner,
neck at an angle?
Who will light the salt lamp
on the bedside table,
turn on the overhead fan,
touch his shoulder,
interlace fingers,
breathe into his upturned ear,
I love you?