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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Heirs of Air [Combatwords, April 30, 2011]

Heirs of Air [Combatwords, April 30, 2011]


Retrieving nothing home tonight;
Sedated, belated lovers slight the western star—they head to beach
And play with hair they've dyed with bleach.
On Seven One from Haight to beach,
The night's too far, they've lost the bliss
That evening summoned with a kiss.
Acquaintance met and lost, they surf the bus
And slide from triteness, greeting nothing;
Citing names, the nothing names:
A hopeless lay, that skirtless play.
The loneliness that fills their leather boots
Is truth aboard the bus en route
To chicken feather beds and ocean salt:
Determined beach, a terminal breach.
For Ballard wrote about the crash:
Erotic engines, loss and crash—
Wrote about the unseen trash.
Erosion meets the sacred clash
Where plovers meet the city's ash.
It's gone, it's gone to trash at last;
So stand alert and make a joke.
Ride the bus, make silly oaths
To pave the way to bed,
And leave behind this better night,
Offend the sight of moon
With brooding lust and traffic lights.
Farewell, my otter fake-fur coat.
We've gone to sleep at last, at least.

Kiss it—call it kismet.
Where McDonald's floodlights meet
The cunts of red,
The hippy dreads.
Kiss it—fake a joke and fake the fear of joke
And spill the fucking beer upon the Muni floor
Where stench perfume defeats the moon.
So kiss it—cut the cheer in half
Aboard this Viking boat, this fuck-up booth.
Choke the night in search of hundred proof.
Clutch the skateboard, youth is fleeting;
Gone to joint and gone to broken bleating;
To broken-asses in search of weed.
Bleed it out and search it out and kiss the knee that grazes notebooks.
Kiss the legs that open up beside you,
Open where you fear to tread with eyes.
Kiss her every orifice.
Forget it: kiss goodbye.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Superman Did Baba Yar!

Now that Superman has renounced his American citizenship ( the truth can finally be told.

Like many war criminals, he kept his Nazi identity a secret, but left us several clues (like 'Superman' durrr).

ps: I know I'm going to hell for this one. Stop reminding me.

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Silk Knight Swoons [Combatwords Poem, April 23, 2011]

Silk Knight Swoons [Combatwords Poem, April 23, 2011]

Knight of granite squares, night of business casual wear;
Fights by chessboard bets—I swear, Ruy Lopez has the night sweats
Underneath tobacco palms and gritty nails and Lasker psalms.

Even though I wore a suit, I paused and watched the two galoots
Murder pawns and trade a pair of dollar bills for several prawns
Fried and battered—basket case: they fed while chessmen scattered.

Low and you'll become the queen.
Slow and knives become serene.
Laugh alone to laugh like hell;
Crazies knew I shared their smell.

"Glasses ain't afraid of anything."
"Watch that tie; he wants to fight."
Silk cocoon and pace of concrete moon—
A silver goon, a briefcase croon;
A stroke, a grand mal swoon:
A check and mated loon.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

AMERICKA [Guest News Poem, by Mike Best; April 22, 2011]


by Mike Best

Our presidents are felons, America.
I socked a kid in the head, 20 years ago
And now I’m unemployable nationwide.
I can work full time and still receive unemployment benefits.
I’ve been to school for 300 credit hours
And I’m still not highly qualified.
How about you Jeb, George, Barak?
Are you guys highly qualified?
Show me your transcripts. Give me an explanation.
I’ve given you my all and now I’m nothing.

Can I get your permission to kill my neighbor?
Whose permission did you get Dick?
Shit it was self-defense and I still did time.
My psychotherapist said I was right.
She even sold me a dimebag.
Kept me paranoid for days,
No happy hippy flowers, no mellow munchy buzz
Just fear of the fuzz and fear of my sins.
Fear of myself, when will I be cleansed of my sins by angels?
Say, America, when will you be angelic?

Your culture expects me to be some kind of sinister
Predator just to avoid being preyed upon.
You expect me to get a job but create rules that keep me
From getting hired. Without the right ratio of callous and
Reticence I’m gonna get fired. You can’t go
Into education and expect to help people. All you get
Is your head chopped off at the neck. I got a
Long neck, America. So I’m gonna
Stick my head in the sand because, America,
Quite frankly, I’m sick of your insane demands.

My age old Friend Kenny stuck
His arm in a machine, America,
And his coworker turned it on for kicks.
Tore his arm off – doctors put it back
On – And got rich.
So did Kenny. But now his beloved American
Ex-Wife wants it all for herself – that’s your lifestyle,
America – that’s the American Dream.
That’s the values you hold, get rich quick and easy.
But I won’t have it – your machinery is too much for me.

It’s left me like Willie Loman.
Dreaming big wispy dreams of a
Life less low man. I have five
Minute schemes, - sell the car and buy a ticket out
Picture me in Vietnam with the mud
Between my toes. Picture me in a
Suit and tie with a roll in my pocket
As big as that 10 year old crack dealer’s.
But it won’t be here America, not in this nation.
I promise you, I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.

Ginsberg’s not the only one with
Sentimental feelings for the Wobblies. Not
The only one who smokes marijuana
Every chance he gets. Only I got a
Family to feed, America.
Even with a weed licensee and
Chemo - I could still lose my job - if only I
Had one. Catch me with a roach
And I haven’t a Chinaman’s chance
Of getting a way to get paid. Which is why
Whenever I go to Chinatown I can’t get drunk or laid

You allow criminals to make the laws, America.
You pay them so well, America.
I never wanted to be rich but the only
Alternative is dirt poor. You bail
Out the big ballers and blast the
Middle right off the court, America.
I don’t mind dirty rivers.
I don’t care about an endangered rat’s rights.
If the meat is cheap
I’ll eat it off the bone, barbecued and fricasseed.
Because it’s you America, not Russia rising against me

I’ve seen how the other half live.
It’s no better than here.
They’re locked in jobs while I’m locked out.
They kill themselves over college. I’ll do it because
I stole a pair of goggles at eighteen. Larceny.
What a scary word! Don’t let me
Near a public school I might steal a pencil – I’ve done
It before, I swear! For real!
I did it because I’m psychopathetic anyways.
I think it because when I was seven momma took me to communist cell meetings.

America, how can I write when even
The blogs won’t print me?
If I wanna be a writer I’m supposed to have balls
But if I wanna be a teacher I gotta clip them off
And keep my mouth shut at all times.
America, is this correct?
America, you make me have to be a saint.
Or a woman, or anything but an educated white male, America
Those damn Nazi rednecks were right
About it!

It’s all in the statistics, America.
There is no way to settle the argument.
It’s cannibalization – eat or be eaten.
No symbiosis. No shit turned fertilizer.
It’s all about the plague, America.
Cholera, kudzu, Siberian ginseng, zebra clams,
Mosquitoes, angry white feminazis,
America. Fruits of Islam love to see
Me squirm. Holy rollers multiply and play
The population game – and I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer!

God is man and woman ripping one another
To shreds, America – you’re god, America.
God is them Russians and Chinamen.
God is fucking and its fucking obscene.
Don’t let your children hear the word nigger America. Change the spelling or
Something for God’s sake, say it
Backwards – it sounds like your favorite president that way
Fuck it I’m God, America.
And as an unemployed untouchable it
Occurs to me that I’m America.

Do they need old English majors in the Air Force?
Can a writer turn lathes into precision parts?
It’s true – I don’t want to.
I’d just as soon help Indians learn to read.
I’d just as soon sell my opinions.
Penny for my thought. Pick it up and find good luck.
Make me work 16 hour days. I done it before.
Send me to Tangiers with Burroughs.
The ultra-conservative queer – and I don’t give a shit if
You are queer America so long as you give me a job.
I want to put my own queer shoulder to the wheel, America.

Mike Best is an unemployed American writer, world traveler and teacher who is currently attempting to escape the United States as quickly as possible. He doesn't feel welcome in the United States nor anywhere else, but prefers being unwelcomed somewhere else. He's written for several online magazines and enjoyed a brief moment of fame in Asia, before making the mistake of returning to the United States. The End.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Breaking News! Today's News Poem On Hiatus!

As you may have just read, I'm taking a break from Today's News Poem. It's true, I could keep doing this indefinitely, but other projects are calling me and there's only so much time in the day. Oh, don't you fret. I'll keep posting News Poems, but they'll probably be a weekly thing. You can look forward to the Complete Daily News Poems in print in a couple of months and Toylit will continue to take submissions.

I hope you enjoyed reading this project. I came into it thinking I knew it all already. As the year progressed, so did my skills. It's been fun. Anyhow, thanks for reading and I hope you gained something from my verse. I certainly gained from your readership.

-Khakjaan Wessington

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Guard the Poet [Today's News Poem, April 8, 2011]

Guard the Poet [Today's News Poem, April 8, 2011]

Ah muses I've served you with focused devotion;
I've served as your goblet, I've served you as jester.
I used to be bitter—but now I'm ecstatic;
My heart's uninstalled and you've turned me to poem.

Poison nutritious; nomad exquisite;
Pantomime artist loves all this sadness.
Farewell my folly, grant me your magic
Save all my foolish songs in the ether:

Stave off the darkness—it's calling me softly,
Shave off the edges of pummeling sidewalks;
Call all the cables and seagulls and airplanes—
Hold it together, preserve all this chaos.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Tastes of Home [Today's News Poem, April 7 2011]

Tastes of Home [Today's News Poem, April 7 2011]

Slush on the sidewalk
Snow in the doorway,
Beaks in the salad—
A seabird's attacking.

Shells were the home,
Yolk was the baby,
Whites were the mother
Hugging the offspring.

Home: where the flesh
Wraps in a blanket,
Whips to an omelet,
Stares out the window.

Springtime: a woodpecker sleeps in the branches;
White and black beak—its redness its life.
Summer: the woodchuck devours the garden—
Poison its lair and pitchfork its torso.
Autumn: the crows stand on the pikes—call them cornstalks.
Winter: the straggler is freezing,
She shatters the ice on the window
And batters stalactites—
Calling for springtime you flushed after dinner.

"Karen Cooke Phillip keeps the basement freezer of her new Anchorage house stocked with food to ward off homesickness. There is a whole king eider sea duck, including feathers and head. And she has three plastic bottles filled with seal oil: liquid gold to a Yupik Eskimo like Mrs. Cooke Phillip."
—KIM SEVERSON, The New York Times, Published: April 7, 2011

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Nineveh [Today's News Poem, April 6, 2011]

Nineveh [Today's News Poem, April 6, 2011]

Shame there's no limit
To depths in the soil.
Rootlets had branched
Nodules like tumors, potatoes;
While the snout with an eyeball
Roots for excitement then lays it in sunlight
To wither or blossom—Nineveh kikayon,
Lot's wife of salt.

"Officer Trey Economidy of the Albuquerque police now realizes that he should have thought harder before listing his occupation on his Facebook profile as “human waste disposal.” After he was involved in a fatal on-duty shooting in February, a local television station dug up the Facebook page. Officer Economidy was placed on desk duty, and last month the Albuquerque Police Department announced a new policy to govern officers’ use of social networking sites. Social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter can be valuable assets for law enforcement agencies, helping them alert the public, seek information about crimes and gather evidence about the backgrounds of criminal suspects."
—ERICA GOODE, The New York Times, Published: April 6, 2011

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I Would Tell You To Fuck Off And Die, But You're Fucked And Dead Already [Today's News Poem, April 5, 2011]

I Would Tell You To Fuck Off And Die, But You're Fucked And Dead Already [Today's News Poem, April 5, 2011]

You lost all credibility with me when you voted for anti-craft with Elana Bell,
Her prose with linebreaks,
Gonad worship, identity hustle.
You anti-craft cantists in search of the correct shibboleth
And poet to perpetuate your modern-American-academic-poetic-narrative:
Be anti-audience, self-indulge, stay irrelevant to non-core poetry readers, ignore metrical schemas—
Winning narratives should be simple and egotistical.
You claim it's taste, but how can you discern the difference between Elana
And every poetry blogger who confessed his cock?
You disgrace Whitman with your award:
Song of Sinecure.

"Dear Poet,
Thank you for submitting your work to the 2011 Walt Whitman Award. This year's judge, Fanny Howe, has selected Elana Bell's manuscript, eyes, stones, to receive the award.
Of the nearly 1,200 entries we received this fall, there were so many extraordinary manuscripts. If by September your manuscript has not yet found a publisher, we hope that you will consider submitting to the Walt Whitman Award again. Many past winners submitted several times before their manuscripts were ultimately selected.
The judge for the 2012 award will be announced later this summer, and the submission period will extend from September 15 to November 15, 2011. To receive guidelines and to submit your work on-line, please visit the Academy of American Poets' website at
We wish you the very best of luck with your writing. Thank you, again, for submitting to the Walt Whitman Award.

Alex Dimitrov
Awards Coordinator
The Academy of American Poets"
—Academy of American Poets,

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Innocence Attritted [Today's News Poem, April 4, 2011]

Innocence Attritted [Today's News Poem, April 4, 2011]

There's so much freshness, so much more innocence to shed.
The tide for example withdraws all the sand,
Draws all the hermit crabs, basks in the droppings of pelicans.
Fish fake the song at the crest of the swell—
Throbbing; a heart that pumps gills and ocean.
Welcome the edges of food-chain and welcome the
song of ablation,
the pockmarks of moon;
welcome births with one's mouth
and silvery slivers from eggs in the moonlight—
innocent still, for a moment at least.

"The federal government's chief climate adviser Professor Ross Garnaut believes nuclear power still has a vital role to play in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite the crisis at Japan's Fukushima plant."
—Evan Schwarten, Sydney Morning Herald, April 5, 2011 - 2:54PM

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Declining Momentum [Today's News Poem, April 3, 2011]

Declining Momentum [Today's News Poem, April 3, 2011]

The concrete is cracking and punctures your tires,
Yet celebrate roots pushing pavement apart.
The birds are returning, they nest in the alder,
And shit on the sidewalk you hate—do not hate;
It's time for renewal—the wheels must stop spinning.

"Tokyo Electric Power is struggling to block a crack discovered in a pit that is leaking highly radioactive water into the ocean at its Fukushima Daiichi plant, and said it had discovered the bodies of its two missing employees at the stricken plant. "
—Lindsay Whipp in Tokyo, The Financial Times, Published: April 2 2011 17:09 | Last updated: April 3 2011 08:34

"As Southwest Airlines canceled 300 flights throughout the country after one of its jets developed a hole in its roof during a flight, Bay Area travelers Saturday had hit-or-miss experiences getting to and from their destinations."
—Lisa Fernandez and Doug Jastrow, Bay Area News Group, Posted: 04/02/2011 09:37:19 PM PDT, Updated: 04/02/2011 10:20:22 PM PDT

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Saturday, April 02, 2011

The New Normal [Today's News Poem, April 2, 2011]

The New Normal [Today's News Poem, April 2, 2011]

I thought that the average was something like grasping,
Something like murder and incest; torture and me.
I thought that because I could break, I was broken;
Born to a luck that I spurned because it's not fair.
And life is for idiots, error, repentance.
Life is not fair, so go quickly, even it out.
I've tried to exhaustion the rage and it failed me
Anger's the doorway to patience, love, compassion.
And normal's not average, it's more aspiration,
Noble and lie it's the mother goddess of hearth.
The lies do not bind us and babies aren't silenced
Shouting them down, nor by reason, terror—just love.

"there are many reasons to believe that measuring and reporting metrics of social mobility will be a meaningless task. Complete measures of social mobility, such as looking at the link between parental and children's incomes or parents' and children's education, take a lifetime to evaluate."
—Imran Hussain, Letters, The Guardian, Saturday 2 April 2011

"A host of Asian performing artists have staged a three-hour charity concert in Hong Kong to raise funds for victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami. "
—Xinhuanet, 2011-04-02 11:13:09

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Tales From The CombatWords Arena. 26.75 More Hours of Combat Left!

If you've been avoiding CombatWords because you are threatened by the idea of competitive writing, maybe you should be. I want you to note the timestamps for this combat after you admire the quality of the offered samples. If you can't take the heat, that's cool, but consider being an anonymous chicken and critiquing the comps. I mean, you might bring up valid points, but trust me, nobody is going to feel threatened by someone too scared to step into the arena him or herself.

Onyxsupersonics (April 1, 2011 4:52 PM PST
"my first trip to philadelphia, my first trip to new york, when i saw guernica at moma, my first flight to london ... i always thought i could do it again and it would be even better ... sometimes i did it again and it was, sometimes i did it again and it wasn't, but usually i couldn't and i'll never know whether it would've been or wouldn't have been ... "

Valerie Valdes (April 1, 2011 5:32 PM PST
""In Cuba, it wasn't like this"
was the common joke
when something bad happened
in America."

Amalia Dillin (April 1, 2011 6:42 PM PST
"My cousins and I jockeyed for the center seat, crawling over one another, climbing, twisting. The hammock twisted and one of them was hanging upside down on the outside, clinging like a monkey. We helped him back in, pulling him up like a sailors dragging a drowned man from the sea. "

Steven Marty Grant (April 1, 2011 7:30 PM PST
"Of course I know
I fought with her too
but those battlefields
are green and over grown;
Appomattox, Utah beach,
Hue City. "

Seann McCollum (April 2, 2011 11:34 AM PST
"In all the years since the weekend you
“didn’t sleep with” that fellow
you met at GothFest at the Trocadero"

I can't sit this one out--looks too fun. It's an extra good combat this week which is why you should try it out. I respect anyone willing to fall flat on his or her face in public, even if not for the quality of composition.

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Friday, April 01, 2011

COMBATWORDS IS ON RIGHT NOW! April 1, 2011 [Last Week's CW Poem Enclosed]

Fight, read, or critique; it's up to you:

Fruit of Knowledge [Combatwords repost from 3.25.2011]

Should you call it a baby tooth tucked in a pillow
Or call it a molar that crumbled with grinding?
Maybe it's better to say it's a fang
With venomous sacs, else a poison saliva?

You could wish for anything, but instead wish for money.
You ablate in the night as you sweat out anxiety—
And you ache for a cushion for teeth:
Something to suck-in your antidote.

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Gaol For Agoraphobics [Today's News Poem, April 1, 2011]

Gaol For Agoraphobics [Today's News Poem, April 1, 2011]

Leap from the floor to the counter.
Knock off the dishes, then land on the floor.

The labors of cat: in the sunbeam;

Gnaw on arachnids in paw,
Open the window—the garden awaits.

The rosemary blossomed this month.

Look at the world. It is freedom,
Smells like a spice on the currents of clouds.

The fences are flimsy, yet bind.

Pick a known path in the tangle.
Slink in the bushes then lay on cement.

The warden of prison appears

Reckless; he staggers down stairwell
Speaks in his language, contains the escape

With some tuna, a scratch for the ears
And a view from the window of mazes—
Abstractions gone monsters in lettuce—
Lock, latch and door.

"The Labor Department will release its monthly snapshot of the job market on Friday, and economists expect it to show that the nation’s employers added about 190,000 jobs in March. With an unemployment rate that has been stubbornly stuck near 9 percent, those workers could be considered lucky. But many of the jobs being added in retail, hospitality and home health care, to name a few categories, are unlikely to pay enough for workers to cover the cost of fundamentals like housing, utilities, food, health care, transportation and, in the case of working parents, child care. "
—MOTOKO RICH, The New York Times, Published: March 31, 2011

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