July 25-31, 2005: James Pinkerton, Michael Pollick and Lori Williams

week of July 25-31, 2005

James Pinkerton,
Michael Pollick
Lori Williams

the judges of the
2005 Poetry Super Highway
Poetry Contest

click here for submission guidelines

James Pinkerton

Bio (auto)

James M Pinkerton appeared on the Los Angeles poetry scene two years ago Rumors have claimed this “Rebel Poet” was a mob exterminator, Hungarian Spy and Coyote along the Texas/Mexican border So far all he has admitted to is having worked as a pizza delivery driver, mechanics assistant, mathematics tutor, substitute elementary school teacher, and an AmeriCorps volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity

James has studied poetry with Los Angeles legends Don Campbell, Elena Karina Byrne and Laurel Anne Bogen He has been featured in LA border cities in Canoga Park, Glendale, Encino, Sunland, Pasadena and San Dimas, In 2004 he won second place in the PoetrySuperHighway.com Summer Contest This fall he will be attending CSUNorthridge in pursuit of an M.A in poetry
Some of his poetry can be found online at www.poeticdiversity.orgwww.poeticvoices.comPoetrySuperHighway.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by James Pinkerton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shepherds Swiftly Tilting Earthward

(for Dylan Thomas)

Earthquakes, tidal waves, continental sandstorms rage
Sheep on Luna do not stop grazing on mushrooms
On Earth mushrooms bloom and fade

Gone are pyramids, Great Wall, Statue of Liberty
Gone are wheat fields, cobalt seas, painted desert
Gone Americas, Eurasia, Africa — where man began

Shepherds watch and tears fall like broken streams that become
Niagara Falls, Amazon, Congo, all vanish in oceans whirling
No more elephants, turtles, ants

No longer will lovers entwine under peach trees
Freedom for prisoners of brothels, slave pens, and labor camps
finally freed by obliteration

Shepherds shiver though their dome knows no cold Man will travel to Mars, Alpha Centauri, the dark reaches of the universe
Never again will she set foot on our Motherland

My Mother Never Said No

She didn’t scream no, when her virginal blood stained the back seat of his Chevy She didn’t utter, “I won’t” when her father told my father, “You will marry or be buried “
She didn’t argue, when what friends he allowed,

told her a husband can’t rape his own wife She didn’t say, “Stop,” when my sister quit talking and screamed in her sleep She never said no
When she lay bleeding and broken
at the bottom of the stairs,
she whispered, “Forgive him He loves us “

Michael Pollick


Michael Pollick was born in Akron, Ohio in 1964, but has called Decatur, Alabama his home for the past 20 years His interest in poetry began at the age of 16, when his English teacher submitted his work to several anthologies and magazines His work has appeared in such magazines and journals as the Iconoclast, the Midwest Poetry Review, Elk River Review, HART, and The Country Mouse His poem “Pinaud’s Tonic” is included in a political anthology entitled Will Work for Peace, edited by New York poet Brett Axel and featuring a virtual who’s who of today’s working poets, including Donald Hall, Marge Piercy and Martin Espada
Michael currently writes for an online knowledge compendium called WiseGEEK He is happily married to Amy, a fellow writer and news assistant for the local newspaper.

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Michael Pollick and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Modern Cuts for Modern Men

His father ran the power company like a cheap Swiss watch,
as the last of the cuts poured out blood and Mad Dog-
mama’s precious blue-eyed drunk lay gutted and silenced,
gutted and silence on Huntsville city property
Olan Mills had no idea what they once captured on film,
Tom and Vivian and their two small ideas for boys;
each looking so bright and sober that morning, the combs
finding no reluctance, no resistance, no defiance
One would grow to be every father’s waking dream- a Marine
so pulled and taut and inspection-ready,  drawing his service
revolver so smoothly from its home one might never feel the sting
The other would not show up in any more wallet-sized pictures,
nor would he ever agree to pass the plate in church again,
This other son would fail to keep his promises to God and country,
finding himself mired in piss and Jack and shattered glass bottles
His father would identify the body in his own sweet time,
but the police said a homeless man was already in custody;
some joggers found him sprawled over some battered suitcases,
his one acceptable arm already pointed towards home.

Cleft for me

Four small whispers can now leave rehearsal,
the last cigarette has been ground to ashes
It was once important for us to kill some Negroes,
no matter how many times they claimed to fear God-
no matter how pretty their dimestore dresses were-
no matter how late they were for choir practice
In the whole of Birmingham 1963,
freedom smelled a lot like gunpowder residue
on the hands of Bobby Frank Cherry
Four shadows from another mangled storm shelter
can now share Cokes on hot summer revivals,
and find Sister Henrietta’s eyeglasses for her
While I draw this
fleeting breath,
When my eyes
shall close in
I shall fly
to worlds unknown,
and behold thee
on thy throne
Now is the day four little singers
found their way back
to the 16th Street Baptist church,
after getting lost in another man’s smoke.

Makebelieve Ballroom

and when all that remains of
our dimestore dances are scuffs
on aching linoleum,
I shall consider you carefully,
and know that we were gods once
this was how the rockefellers
played it, all hot and close
enough to the bones;
we blew eight to the bar,
eight to the bar,
on blistered rugs and buckling
storeroom floors
and you were all fierce reds
and polished whites,
clapping and surging with
the pulses of Dorsey,
whirling and crackling with
the promises of Miller,
turning and wailing with
the heat of the vacuums
Today, I played the Dorsey
once more,
and as the needle danced
back and forth
on only a paper moon
only a paper moon
only a paper moon,
I heard the creaking
of the storeroom
boards, and for one
dying moment
you and I were spooning,
alone and invincible,
in the dust of
our makebelieve ballroom.

Lori Williams


Lori lives in Brooklyn, NY with her son and cat The former is currently in Air Force Basic Training — the latter is not Most things in her life are not this black and white very often She prefers it that way Her poems have been published in numerous ezines and journals over the past 5 years, including The Melic Review, Snow Monkey, Avatar Review,  Urban Spaghetti, Big City Lit,  New Zoo Poetry Review and Poet’s Canvas, and most recently, Miller’s Pond and Falling Star Magazine You can read more of her work at http://loriwilliams.homestead.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Lori Williams and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Last Requests Can Last Forever

i .Destructive Tendencies, Sleep Paralysis with
.Hypnopompic Hallucinations

He wore blue jogging shorts and a white
t-shirt–James Deanish with the cigarette
pack rolled up He wasn’t too old for that
at forty-six I used to sneak into his room,
break his Kools in half while he ran the track
each night–doctor’s orders
.Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionics,
.Fear of Abandonment     

The neighbor ladies gushed that he looked like
Chad Everett As his daughter, I felt proud he was
so handsome Children can be shallow, not caring
much about how Barbie’s are bought, or new Easter
bonnets or roast beef on Sunday’s
.Panic and Anxiety Disorders, Insomnia

For a moment, we though he was just laughing hard;
head back, hands clutched to chest Seventies
sitcoms were his thing–Archie and Meathead
were arguing when we realized he was calling
for help; soundless–mouth round and silent
.Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Trichotillomania

We didn’t know about aspirin, so I held a cool
washcloth to his brow and remember his thinning,
blond hair was stuck to his head in panic sweat,
and the hopeful healing water I anointed him with He didn’t look like the actor then, and I didn’t care,
it didn’t matter at all
.Hypochondria, Self-Mutilation, Guild Complex,
.Substance Abuse, Eating Disorder

Mom called for an ambulance and the dog
licked his ear, like she did every morning
to wake him She hid under the couch then,
and I knew As the bell rang and the audience
laughed and his heart exploded, I heard
his last words, whispered to the air —
don’t let me die
vi .Manic Depression, Self-Hatred, Suicidal Ideation

No one was listening but me I was just a little girl I didn’t know


I once had a lover who whispered
your breasts are white doves holding rubies in their lips I laughed and said, birds don’t have lips babe
He was older, thought not quite
May-December I was a summer storm;
intense, urgent, with purpose,
and he an autumn leaf, creeping along a curb
or settled in a heap of russet and gold,
serene in the beauty of ends
I taught him things like how to fit
two in a tub of bubbles and that undershirts
worn under shirts were old-fashioned My fear that he would leave first
made me run
He tried to teach me that my eyes
were bittersweet chocolate drops,
my breath held the scent of a rose The moment is what matters, so be lifted
by the wind and alight where you should be

He said things like that
as I tried to make his wardrobe hip
and brushed off his whispers like
those guys who dust for fingerprints,
always hoping for something of importance
Two decades of seasons have passed I am now more leaf than storm, and he
the peace of a late winter snowfall,
silent under the motionless embrace of the moon
My breasts are white doves with rubies in their lips,
I whisper to the wind If only I had thanked him.

Occhi de Pecora

Agnus dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis
Elbows perched on oilcloth, patent leathers set to dart
if it squirted tears my way, he would teach me
how to spear the orb with only two fork tines,

like a gentleman Napkin a paper ascot at his neck,
skin backlit by a sheen of sweat, he laughed
at my revulsion-I am sure of it. The sheep’s head
sat on a platter – a wooly sacrifice
As forked pierced pupil, the faint, soft pop
was a trumpet playing taps in a meadow;
the plop between his teeth and smacking lips
were bleats that ripped through the Caruso aria

floating on the greasy, kitchen air I did not move;
my feet held fast to the floor and I stared
at my grandfather, eyes broken buttons
closing tight on his sin, the end of adulation.

I’d Like to Bake Your Goods | Stolen Mummies | Brendan Constantine is My Kind of Town | Up Liberty’s Skirt
Feeding Holy Cats | Mowing Fargo | I’m a Jew, Are You? | Lizard King of the Laundromat | I Am My Own Orange County
Paris: It’s The Cheese | Poetry Super Highway | Judaic Links | Rick’s Bookmarks | Cobalt Poets
E-mail Rick | Other Cool Rick Stuff / Upcoming Readings | Who The Hell Is Rick

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