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PSH: Poets of the Week
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week of October 31 - November 6, 2005



BM Bradley and Allen McGill




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BM Bradley
brian@wanton.com

Bio (auto)

BM Bradley born and raised by wild coyotes on the edge of the Florida everglades, now residing primarily in So. Cal for lack of a better idea. BMB spends his free time wondering if the moon really is made of green cheese and what exactly is in a Twinkie.

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

big money

so she's 18 and out here to get rich,
from the sticks somewhere in the UP,
doing scenes . . .

her best friend told her it was 'easy money'
just fuck, suck and cash checks

so here she is:
in the corner of my kitchen,
on the floor,
curled up in fetal position
with tears streaming down her face

making the big money


Allen McGill
aljons@yahoo.com

Bio

Originally from NYC, Allen lives, writes, acts and directs theatre in Mexico. His published fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, photos, etc., have won awards and appeared in: NY Times, The Writer, Newsday, Literary Potpourri, Poetry Midwest, QLRS, Herons Nest, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, World Haiku Review, many others. He is a former member of PEN. He was an invited guest at the First World Poetry Festival in Taiwan 2005, haibun editor for Simply Haiku and two of his plays have been professionally produced in Sacramento and L.A.

Visit Allen on the web here: http://tinyurl.com/m7il

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

Coney World

Our summer bungalow
worn, dilapidated
on Surf Avenue
Coney Island.

Narrow, shallow
dark and shabby
porch screens torn
year after year.

Just blocks from the beach
so good for the kids
away from the city
and its concrete heat.

Cotton candy
sweetened air
colorful lights
the Cyclone at night.

Dirty sand -
the Parachute Jump
dirtier water
the high Ferris wheel.

Littered sidewalks
Boardwalk toughs
sideshow hawkers
the fat lady's laugh.

Wheels of fortune
Kewpie doll smiles
five balls for a quarter
everyone wins

Tunnel of Love
sailors on leave
Tunnel of Horrors
Merry-go-round.

Weekend hoards
of subway riders
only day-trippers
but we lived there.


Vacancy

The house isn't haunted
just sad.
It failed as a home
imbued with indifference
then spite
and at the end
despair born of
disdain.

A "convenience" marriage
bred inconvenient children
enshrouded
by the uncertainty
of mere
toleration.

When the inhabitants
dispersed
the house -- left
empty and drained
began
to crumble.


Until Proven

The sun-dappled grass beneath a tree,
a restful pause for me and my dogs.
Then groups of jabbering children draw near,
making such noises the calm is soon gone.

On spying my dogs a flock of them come
to ogle and pet, to play and to tease.
My well behaved dogs, a tolerant breed,
will put up with anything, even kids' tugs.

Names are exchanged with ages and such,
some questions and answers til interest just wanes.
"Get away from those children," an angry voice shouts .
"I'll have you arrested, you pervert. You're sick!"

"But, they came to me," I try to explain.
"Sure, that's how you work it," he sneers, still quite loud.
"Get out of this park!" he orders. "Right now!"
"You go straight to hell," I answer in anger.

He pulls out a cell phone; a crowd is now listening.
My dogs have grown nervous, the eldest growls deeply.
"Molester of children," I hear from a man.
Do I fight? Do I leave? The children look frightened.

"I'm the kids' teacher," the man tells those near.
"These guys use their dogs to attract them," he adds.
"They all should be strung up," a woman exclaims.
"Or castrate the bastards." A threatening fist.

It's grown much too ugly to handle by now,
the two dogs are growling, prepared to attack.
I have to concede though I'm pained to the core;
just to slink away angry, humbled, to jeers.

Indignation is flaring inside me, but what
can an innocent man do for safety but flee.
Since we're no longer able to jog through the park,
my dogs and I wander the streets at a stroll.

But the catcalls and taunts from the crowd on that day
remain with me always, a victim, accused.


The Cafe Santa Ana

Rays from the morning sun flow slowly across rooftops
to an ancient stone wall, where they descend to warm
first the fountain's summit, then ride its cascading
water to splash musically in the waiting pool.

Strains of guitar music filter through the cafe to accompany
the fountain's refrain; jacaranda branches shade the patio's
tables with filigreed patterns. Books aligned on shelves
patiently await the attention of interested passersby.

Cushioned wrought-iron chairs are spaced across flagstones.
A crudely carved lintel of pink cantera, the sandstone quarried
in Mexico's hills, is set in the portal to the Sala Quetzal;
it's deeply carved date - 1686 AÒo - the rest of it worn by time.

Rebuilt from the ruins of centuries past, the Sala - or hall -
coddles history, treasures, mementos of time. The town,
deemed a treasure of eras long past, may be altered only
within the period, style and designs of early Spanish rule

and time.

(San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)


Past And Present

In the small shaded alcove of the outdoor cafe
beneath fleecy fronds of a wide jacaranda,
a fragile old lady, Andricilla by name, settles daily
for breakfasts of sweet pastries and tea.

She's greeted by all as they pass by her table
and waves with a smile, calling each one by name.
Brief chats are accepted, of weather and such,
but no invitation's ever offered to join.

In the notepad at hand as she jots down her memoirs,
occasional smiles will accompany thoughts.
She's aware not at all that she garners the focus
of patrons and staff wondering what she could pen:

She's ancient and fragile, her name's out of history.
What could possibly be in her past that's of worth?
But that softening of lips and the spark in her eyes,
has convinced them that she's led a life unsuspected.

With silver-dot earrings and white clouds of hair,
a pink-cheeked complexion caressed by time's hand,
the impression she offers of gentle serenity
is offset at times by her outbursts of mirth.

The pages are filled and they're watched day by day
by regulars wondering what they contain.
While no one would dare to ask or to peek,
many bets have been placed, many arguments waged.

When she pauses to think and her eyes overglaze,
staring off from this world while caressing a flower,
there will sometimes appear just a glint of a tear    
then all breathing stops--til the present returns.

No family visits, we think by her wishes,
or maybe there is none, but she's never alone.
Our greatest concern is the day she won't be there,
in the small shaded alcove of the outdoor cafe.


Afternoon In The Piazza

As the sun crosses the Piazza San Marco,
so too does the music from the string quartets
progressing from cafe to cafe with the cool
shade of the afternoon. Protected from
the glare by centuries-old buildings, white-clothed
tables await aficionados of cappuccino and gelato.

Lovers stroll at leisure, hand in hand, barely
aware of the Byzantine splendor of the nearby
Basilica. Pigeons peck at discarded crumbs
from the tabletops, moving swiftly only of need.
Gondoliers sit and wait aboard their bobbing craft,
red-tabbed hats topping off their uniformed whites.

A pair of Carabinieri struts smartly across the Piazza,
impressive in slick uniforms and shiny black hats of the
Napoleonic sort. Intent on conversation and a passing
signorina, they garner the attention of everyone in sight.
Laughter from the waiters is carried with the beckoning
smell of coffee, to join in a myriad of accented tongues.

Suddenly a church bell medley peals throughout the city;
workers emerge, pigeons flutter to life--evening begins.