Skeleton Prayer

Peter Breslin

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Guard the great lands of Ilium and Ischium tonight,
Watch out for trochanters and the dreaded acetabulum,
Arrange thy phalanges in phalanxes both distal and proximal,
Align all of thine intertubercular sulci and glenoid cavities,
May atlas and axis roll free
May the great iliac crest never fail or fade!
And so, dear fibula and tibia,
I bid thee goodnight.

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©Peter Breslin, 2018

Peter Breslin is a teacher, musician, PhD student in plant conservation biology at Arizona State University and writer who lives in Tempe AZ.  See his ‘Recycled Declaration’ here 

To 82 Women: A Former English Major Processes the Weinstein Scandal

First pub­lished in The Satirist
https://www.thesatirist.com/poems/82-women-former-english-major-processes-weinstein-scandal.html

[Af­ter An­drew Mar­vel­l’s To His Coy Mis­tress]

Would you had clout enough, or ties;
Your cringe, my dear, might not be so un­wise.
We would mu­tu­ally mas­sage, and think which way
To wank, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Roche-Bobois
Shouldst rub­bers find; here, I’ll take your bra
Turn down the bed; I would
Love you ten sec­onds be­fore the flood,
And you should, if you please, re­buff me with a sob
Un­less, that is, you want to keep your job.
My veg­etable love should grow
It some­times takes awhile, you know
(It’s partly why I do this)
A minute or two should go to praise
Thine ass, and on thy pussy gaze;
Twelve sec­onds to adore each breast,
And maybe twenty for the rest;
A fin­ger laid on every part,
I don’t give a shit about your heart.
For, lady, you de­serve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I al­ways hear
My class­mates’ voices: ‘Fatty! Zit­face! Queer!’
And yon­der all be­fore me looms
-I’m ugly, af­ter all-just empty rooms.
Say no and I will take it out on you
And in my mar­ble john, will coo
My echo­ing song: ‘please watch me mas­tur­bate,’
And it will be too late.
I’ll yank your con­tract; you’ll flee to Dubuque,
To moth­er­hood, per­haps, and tod­dlers’ puke
And your nascent gifts all turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
Un­til the next one.
Dubuque’s a fine and pri­vate place,
But none, I think, do there em­brace
(None with in­flu­ence, at least).

Now there­fore, while the youth­ful hue
Sits on thy skin like morn­ing dew,
And while thy as­pi­ra­tions war with self-re­spect
Now let us sport…look! Fi­nally erect!
And now, like a hooker vir­gin an­gel
Rather at once my junk de­vour
Come on, let’s go and take a shower.
Let me roll your un­der­wear and all
Your sweet­ness up into one ball,
And lift it to my face
De­mol­ish all your wishes with rough strife
Drag you through the iron gates of life:
Then hug me at the Os­cars: air-kiss, quick!
And keep it to your­self that I’m a prick.

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Ashley Judd, Harvey Weinstein, Vince Vaughn BEI/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

©Melinda Rooney, 2018

The Love Song of Kellyanne Conway

After The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, with abject apologies to the spirit of  T.S. Eliot
Eliot’s words, with tweaks of my own here and there,  appear in standard font
Quotes from Kellyanne Conway in italics

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Let us go then, you and I,
When the polls close,
The evening spread out against the sky
Like Newt Gingrich, taking the wings off butterflies

Let us go, leave the school gym, walk through half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights
An Elks Club
Or bachelor party

If you have the time, if you have the inclination to speak to a stranger
If you want to divulge what is a very sacred, private matter
–the way that you just voted
An overwhelming question

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Those conversations never happened.

In the room, the women come and go
Weigh all of the issues,
All of the images,
All of the information
And make a choice
Almost at the last minute.

And indeed there will be time
(I want to do right, apart from my gender – I want to do right as a campaign manager)
There will be time, there will be time
(Women have been late-in-the-game deciders)
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder
Nearly two and a half million people die every year that are on the voter rolls.
It takes time to get dead people off the voter rolls.

And create
Every life should have a chance,
Regardless of race, socioeconomic status or circumstance

And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate:
Why would I hang a sign around Ted Cruz’s neck that says ‘Iowa or bust?’

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
An avalanche, indeed, an unprecedented deluge:
Negative,
Caustic,
Burn-it-to-the-ground
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Falsehoods
Alternative facts

Oh, do not ask
Why would I hang a sign around Ted Cruz’s neck that says ‘Iowa or bust?’

Because then there’s only two options:
Iowa, or bust.

I don’t sugarcoat things, but I’m very polite in delivering them.

In the room the women come and go:
“Please speak to me from the waist up: my brain, my eyes.”

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
I went out on my own, years ago, to try to create some additional choices
in a parallel universe.
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t be fooled, because I am a man by day.’
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
I’ve noticed a lot of people are very bold and blustery on Twitter because it’s easy to do that With the poison keyboard
And a hundred and forty characters.

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My morning coat, red, white and blue with buttons shaped like cats, My collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My felt hat rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —

In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
There’s plenty of room for passion, but there’s very little room for emotion
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the Tappers, Cuomos, Holts,

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I have measured out my life with talking heads
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Above the chyrons
Beneath the music from a farther room.

So how should I presume?

They say a bald man is trustworthy. He has nothing to hide.

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
There are many ways to surveil each other.
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
I never knew how ugly and how stupid I was until, well, you know.

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,

Then how should I begin
To reject the spin
The overreach and distraction?

And how should I presume?
Sexual harassment is as difficult to prove as it is to disprove. 

And how should I begin?
Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.

Shall I say
Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?
Are you gonna look me in the face and tell me that?

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

Women are trying to have it all but are trying to regain control
And, although it shouldn’t be, men behaving badly is sort of an occupational hazard
They think that they’ve got a monopoly on talking to women from the waist down.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the silver bullet, the magic elixir, the fool’s errand
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To say:

You can’t appeal to us through our wombs,
We’re pro-life.
The fetus
Beat us.
We grew up with sonograms
As if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen

We know life when we see it.

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That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
This whole biology-chemistry-abortion-gender agenda
Would it have been worth while
If one, fixing her makeup and fluffing up her hair, and turning toward the press corps,
Should say:

“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

We know there are lots of leaks everywhere.
There’s nothing we can do about that, except not leak ourselves.

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I serve at the pleasure of @POTUS.
His goals are my goals
His message my message.
Uninformed chatter
Doesn’t matter.

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©Melinda Rooney, 2018

The Key to Happiness

Amanda Richards

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The Poem and its Inspiration, Nan Nickson

 

©Amanda Richards, 2017

Amanda Richards is a freelance writer and editor living in central Pennsylvania with her husband and young son. She enjoys baking, reading, and large cups of tea. When she’s not saving the world one typo at a time, Amanda can be found scouring local antique stores and flea markets for antique inkwells.

From the Clickbait Archives: Facebook Ad Resolutions

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Chestnuts can roast all night long, but the risotto has spoken:

So little of 2017 left.
So much amazing underwear on sale.

Down to the last minute?
Resolve to make a positive change
You can use your writing skills to build the life you want

Send a girl to school for a year
Kiss your boring walls goodbye

I never expected my life would flourish like this
We aren’t the only ones reporting faster oyster growth.

We take your style personally
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists
Listen to Coco Chanel on this one.

The Best Sleep of Your Life

This is how to release what no longer serves you.
This is the thing that’s going to set people free.

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©Melinda Rooney, 2017

 

The Age of Folly: a Poem in 25 Titles

[I pulled 25 books off my shelves, at random, and scribbled down their titles, then tried to make a poem with them. With the exception of a few little tweaks (dropping a couple of ‘and’s and ‘the’s), the titles remain intact.]

images
The Prelude:
Strange Rebel,
The Red Car
The Deluge
The Swerve
The Siren
The Bend of the World

download
The Odyssey:
First Circle
Doctor
And Devils,
Myth and Mythmaking
The Beautiful
Damned
(The 13-Gun Salute)
images

 

Ideas of Heaven:
Enchantment
Corrections
Magical Thinking
First Light

 

 

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The Starter Screenplay:
Untold Stories
Absent Voices
The Party’s Over

 

 

 

 

©Melinda Rooney, 2017

Authors: Guy Murchie, Lewis Lapham, Jonathan Franzen, Christian Caryl, Mike Lofgren, Joan Didion, William Wordsworth, Henry A. Murray, Giuseppe de Lampedusa, Alan Bennett, Rochelle Altman, Dylan Thomas, Patrick O’Brian, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Guy Kawasaki, Charles Baxter, Joan Silber, Marcy Dermansky, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, , Adam Levenberg, Jacob Bacharach, Alan Tooze, Stephen Greenblatt, Homer

A Variation on 22 First Lines

 

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[the poem consists of the first lines of 22 books; each line is footnoted. If any of these lines leap out at you , run out and get the book(s). And if you’re ever in Galway, get over to Charlie Byrne’s (http://charliebyrne.com/). Gratitude, admiration, and apologies to each of the authors quoted here. Italicized lines are my own. ]

Scanning Books at Charlie Byrne’s

i.
Wonderfully, it was the boy-[i]
The cancer-ridden only son of a dangerous driver who has thoughts about turning herself into a man[ii]
-
Who saw the gods leave,
Wicking away like water off a skillet.

They departed on the day of the strange tide.[iii]
The plane was nearly empty.

Disease is a fundamental aspect of the human condition.[iv]
‘I’ve been knitting voraciously since I was seventeen.’[v]
He said this to a lover once.
‘I think it is what cured me.’

The premise that there is basic human wisdom that can help to solve the world’s problems: [vi]
It’s what he has replaced Them with
This boy now man
A book: 12 years in the writing
49 years in the making.[vii]
At first glance, it looks very similar to its predecessor[viii]
Pages thin,
Transparent,
You can read the next one through the last.

He drives across Ireland,
A gentle rain, as light as breath,
That soaks him to the skin.
Surely They’re here somewhere;
Hiding is not the same as escape,
Except for when it is.

He settles for the cows.
Blind with highway hypnosis
He has pulled onto a muddy verge, stepped out, watches.
His glasses fog.

Cows have no need of gods, he thinks
They have no need of stories
For them, the present is sufficient
It’s never been for him.

One protests in the rain, the others are silent, damp, standing, pacing, lying down
Tails swishing
Rain in their eyes
Audible chewing
A waft of manure

Women in the river, singing.[ix]

Some that once were here are gone now
Others have yet to arrive
Tucked against their mothers’ flanks
Wondering why they’ve come

If cows wonder.

They don’t, he decides.
They merely are.

Unaccustomed to driving on the left,
He’d clipped a couple curbs
Little Left, Big Right
He couldn’t get too nervous, couldn’t think about how nervous
Or it would be all over.
Critical thinking is something we all do, but we are not necessarily aware of it.[x]

Bó.
In Irish, this is what they’re called.
He makes a point of tackling the language
Of every place he’s ever been.
(A highly inflected and idiomatic language, Irish presents a great challenge for learners.)[xi]

I might be the villain of this story, he thinks. Even now, it’s hard to tell.[xii]

ii.
Words come first, a grid of squares, a puzzle on the plane:
ACROSS:
1. Fastenings
2. Krishna __________
3. Trouble
4. Dickens name[xiii]

Voices next,
In Ireland
People here temporarily,
For different reasons,
Fuzzy with jetlag.
The lives touch across time for a moment
,
Make a little knot of noise
Then go their separate ways
A handful of people
(the palm of God; He doesn’t care what you believe)

And finally, lives, some little moments that will someday go in stories:

Three days shy of her 15th birthday, Alison Pope paused at the top of the stairs.[xiv]

In the early 90s (it might have been 1992, but it’s hard to remember when you’re having a good time) I joined a rock-and-roll band composed mostly of writers.[xv]

Dear Franklin,
You know, I try to be polite.[xvi]

Some that once were here are gone now
Others have yet to arrive:

On the evening of March 27, 1969,
My father was in Leningrad,
In pursuit of his advanced engineering degree.[xvii]

Nine days after Mama disappeared I heard she was throwing down with Shelton Potter.[xviii]

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.[xix]

Do not set foot in my office.[xx]

I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I’m old, and you said, I don’t think you’re old.[xxi]

Both before he came here
And after he departs
Each of them has seen, will see
What he is seeing now.

Human life, so bound up in stories
That we are thoroughly desensitized to their weird and witchy power.[xxii]

Order’s inescapable
Big Right
Little Left
Is that the form they’ve taken now, the fickle, absent Gods?
Perhaps they’ve been here all along
In cancers,
Cures
On planes
In puzzles
The hand-lift waves of passing drivers

The gods are maybe ours to conjure
Sure and the stories are ours to tell
Hanging here, in veils of mist
Before and yet to come

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@Melinda Rooney, 2017, with acknowledgement to copyrights of quoted authors

[i] Ireland, Frank Delaney

[ii] Ithaca, Alan McMonagle

[iii] The Sea, John Banville

[iv] Mania, A Short History of Bipolar Disorder, David Healy

[v] Alterknit Stitch Dictionary, Andrea Rangel

[vi] Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chögyam Trungpa

[vii] Absent Voices, Rochelle Altman

[viii] The Pamphlet Debate: On the Union Between Great Britain and Ireland, W. J. McCormack

[ix] Arcadia, Lauren Groff

[x] The Art of Deception, Nicholas Capaldi

[xi] Irish Grammar, Nollaig Mac Congáil

[xii] The Borrower, Rebecca Makkai

[xiii] New York Times Sunday Crossword Omnibus, Vol. 2, Ed. Will Weng

[xiv] Tenth of December, George Saunders

[xv]On Writing, Stephen King

[xvi] We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver

[xvii] The Book of My Lives, Aleksandar Hemon

[xviii]Sweetgirl, Travis Mulhauser

[xix]The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

[xx] Black Swan Green, David Mitchell

[xxi] Gilead, Marilynne Robinson

[xxii] The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, Jonathan Gottschall

 

Autofill Ends The Affair

The autofill text-message game goes like this.
Begin a text using only one initial typed word (for example ‘Hello’), then hit the space bar. Then complete the phrase with as many of the three autofill helper words that appear above the iPhone keyboard as will give you a complete sentence. Write as many sentences as you like, beginning each with an initial typed word, then autofilling.

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Hello there you
How are you feeling
I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you today
I hope you are okay

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I have to say
Something about the way you get to have what you want
Is not a good thing

The fact is
I have a little time for a good day
You can do that for me and I’ll be okay

The fact is
I am a good person to you
And I love that I am able to give you a good life

But
My god
I hope you are most definitely not okay
I’m sorry
But you don’t know what I want

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Women should be able to make their own choices
Men have the most important things and they don’t know how to feel about it

Women are not going to be there for you
Men are not going to be there for you
Friends and family members have been there for about two days
But they don’t know what you want

Wives are not going to make you happy
Husbands are not going to make a big difference.
Children, of course, are the only reasonable ones
Babies make sure you do what they want
But they don’t know what you want.

I’m still trying to get it out there.
I’m still trying not to get it out there.
Lying is not a good thing, but
Truth is the only reason why I’m still here.
Lying is not going to make a big difference
Truth will make sure that you are not going to make a big mistake

There is nothing to say about that.
The fact that I’m still trying is just a thing that makes me sad

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Speaking about how I was really trying to be a good person
Is the only thing I want

Promises are not the only thing that you can make.

Mistakes are easy too
A great way to get the right person.
Look at you and me
Look how well you can make decisions about how things will be

Pain can make you smile but it doesn’t make you happy.

So I’m not going to see you tomorrow
I’m not going to see you
Everything is okay
But I’m not going to see you again

I hope you have a great time with your family
I’m not going to be a bad thing for you
You can be my friend
Only if you don’t have a reason to believe that I love you anymore.

Life has not always been good for me but I’m still trying to figure it out.
Men who can make me feel like a good person are the only reason why I love.
But sadness is a way to be a good person, a reason why I love:
Sad that
You are the only one who can be your own friend
Sad that
Sex was the only thing that could make us feel better
Sad that
You are able to hurt the only person that can make you feel

I’m sorry but it was just a bad idea
Loved the game but it’s not going to work
Wishing you all the greatest things
Wishing for the most amazing things to come to you

I hope you get to see the other side of your life.

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©Melinda Rooney, 2017