May 17-23, 2010: Russ Kazmierczak, Jr and Christina Pacosz

Russ Kazmierczak, Jr

Bio (auto)

Russ Kazmierczak, Jr recently moved from Fullerton, California to Phoenix, Arizona, where he grew up and first attended poetry open mics Getting back to his roots has inspired a wave of creativity, including these pieces from the National Poetry Month 30/30 challenge, and Russ aims to publish his first two chapbooks this year He’s had the honor of featuring twice in Orange County with more to come in the Valley of the Sun, if Arpaio doesn’t ask for his papers first He also self-publishes comics and goes to karaoke whenever he can His cat Amazo wishes he were home more often.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Russ Kazmierczak, Jr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Rise of the Bougainvillea

They stormed the office
like a peasant revolt;

hundreds of bougainvillea,
purple petal pandemonium,
usurping underfoot,
crushing into the carpet.

They rode the cold front,
the winds of change.

They were no match
for the vacuum,
the roto-reaper,
its sanctimonious suction.

Beauty is a frail defense
against the bourgeoisie.

Pile stand triumphant Tiles lay clean, blameless On the surface, work time
was the only casualty.

The front door is rattled,
fearing another attack.

An American Idle

I have a dream

that I’m stuck in Los Angeles traffic
windows down
singing loudly with the radio
an American idle

somebody in a car next to me
road rage bubbling between his ears
suddenly hears my singing
and doesn’t roll up his window
doesn’t scoff
just stares in silence
until the moment overtakes him
and he sings along

the conviction ripples
car after car
lane after lane
freeway after freeway
up the 5 toward San Francisco
across the 10 toward Phoenix
off exit ramps onto surface streets
through surface streets into neighborhoods

from the west coast eastward
Manifest Destiny in reverse
then on cruise ships and aircraft carriers
across oceans, through ports into other countries
through war zones, tourist traps
through missionaries into remote locations
until the entire world, a stage
to humanity in harmony,
voices raised in song


when traffic inches forward
or the radio reception falters
or the song ends

when the world falls back into
its disconnected silence

I’ll wake up
get in the car
drive to work
and assume that we’re all just
one tune away from global bliss

and I’ll keep my windows up
until I hear a good enough song
to sing

Old Stomping Grounds

Every step is a feast Every back alley shortcut,
a reel of footage from yesterday The seams in the sidewalk
tell a braille memoir Neon shares an inside joke Somebody waves —
a kind stranger,
or an old friend?
Today he’s both Somebody else spits
from his car window —
Hey, doesn’t he know
this is a sacred place,
a holy land for
the religion of nostalgia?
Ah, forgive his sins;
nothing’s sacred until
it can no longer be
taken for granted Eventually, he’ll leave, too,
only to return to that spot someday
and see something grown
where he’s watered the ground




Christina Pacosz


Bio (auto)

Christina has been writing and publishing for a half a century Originally from Detroit, she currently lives with her husband and their former street cat in Kansas City, Missouri (with many stops inbetween) Christina Pacosz’s chapbook Notes from the Red Zone, originally published in 1983 by Seal Press in their anti-nuclear series, is now available from Seven Kitchens Press as the inaugural selection in their ReBound Series September, 2009 Poet David Chorlton nominated the collection and has written the introduction Poet Dave Bonta (Odes to Tools, Phoenix Press) interviews her and writes a review of Notes from the Red Zone.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Christina Pacosz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

6 of 8 (from Notes from the Red Zone)

Surrounded by domesticated mallards,
purple-headed, not green
like the bird book says,
I sit on a bench,
in the warming sun,
wrapped in a red wool coat
in a city park
on the far edge
of the red zone
Ducks move,
daubs of pruple
in green water The females drab,
dull except for the muted
thunder at the backs of their throats
Males mount females in mid-swim
and brown bodies heavy with eggs
sink like stones under the weight Ducks land, take off The pond churns
with departure and arrival
I sit in the center
of an ancient and arduous mating Children,
dressed for winter, walk by,
ready to feed the flock,
the birds able to spot
a bread wrapper at fifty feet
A young couple, human
stroll the edge She’s thin
as a river sapling Her jeans
part her ass down the middle His hand rests low on her back
and he swaggers as he walks
They find a spot in the sun,
in the center of the ducks
alive with a singular purpose I huddle into my red wool coat
Behind the couple
several mallards approach
a female One mounts
and begins a feathery thrusting,
two birds, four wings
flashing all colors in the sun Yellow bill sunk into the brown and white
of her neck, he holds on She spreads her orange feet in the mud Her breast, with its swift, small heart
rests on the earth
The young man turns to meet
the chthonic dream
and grins He gets up,
leaves the woman waiting
on the sun-warmed stone His grin is fixed He leers at the ducks’ frenzy
and scrabbles at the solid earth A small boy throwing rocks into a pond,
he flings clods of dirt
at the bright and plunging feathers
A fierce animal
chitters with rage
inside me,
but he is successful
in banning the duck’s rut Tears leap in my eyes, salmon
facing the bottom of tons of concrete,
searching for a way under the dam,
the ladder over, a clear and safe
path through
My heart shudders under red wool,
and there is not enough sun to warm me,
Artemis of the animals, loose
in the red zone, on the brink
of the twenty-first century,
at the close of a millenium of death:

blue whale, Polish Jew, tiger, witch, lion,
sperm whale, whooping crane, black South African,
elk, mountain goat, the women of every country,
slugs in the garden, Indians in Chile, Guatemala,
El Salvador, Tacoma, Detroit, crows in the crops,
rattlesnake, migrant pickers in Hood River, Yakima,
bald eagle, dolphin, timber wolf, the inhabitants
of any ghetto, refugee or concentration camp, seal,
sea otter, fox, coyote,
the genes of the unborn
flooded with purple light
the eye refuses to see
The man walks behind the woman
who has been waiting
all her life
I hear a faint, broken piping,
a twisted music She faces him He sits; she raises her legs
to his lap, the weight of her thighs
a welcome pressure
on the broken note of his body.

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