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Archive for August, 2010

Workers’ Compensation Blues

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Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

My head

is pounding

from fighting

for a month

.

with the boss

who told

Leon Jonson

he’d get fired

.

if he filed

a claim

for Workers’

Compensation.

.

My head

is pounding

from trying

to convince

Leon Jonson

.

who has

a sick kid

and another

in braces

and another

in glasses

.

and an arm

that’s black

and blue

and broke

.

that he’s

got rights,

too, damnit.

.

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The above poem was originally published in Big Hammer #13 (edited by Dave Roskos of Iniquity Press).  You can find Big Hammer and many more excellent reads from Iniquity Press/Vendetta Books HERE.

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I highly recommend Dave Rosko’s work.  You can read some of his poems HERE.  Powerful words.

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And here’s another must read from Iniquity Press.  If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve heard me talk about Kell Robertson.  Some of my male friends tease me about my flaming arrow reference in that post.  Sometimes, I can’t help but act like a girl.

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Anyway, I like to bring his work up as often as possible, in case any new folks are reading here.  Kell Robertson is one of my favorite poets.

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Watch out for those flaming arrows, boys.

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Thanks for dropping in.

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This is the only time my Amber has ever slept through anything in her life.  I’m so glad she did.

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Sleeping Through A Hurricane

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Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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When you’ve got ten cents

and an empty tank of gas,

there is no Exodus

to promised lands

beyond the bending trees.

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You nail boards over windows.

Put rags in cracks on the walls.

Fill a blue bathtub with water.

Watch the ticking yellow sky.

.

You light candles and stand

sentry beside the baby

while she sleeps sweaty

through thunder

in a wicker bassinet.

.

You hold your breath.

You see the rise and fall

of her tiny hands

curled against her chest.

.

When wind begins to spin,

oak limbs snap and fall.

Hail beats your tin roof.

The old house creaks,

trembles, shifts its weight.

.

Her face lights in flashes.

Water seeps through cracks

and rises around your feet.

.

Still, she sleeps.

.

You pick her up

and hold her high

.

as if your rod’s not bent

as if you know the way

as if your tank is full

.

and you can stop

the parting of the sea.

.

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An Abundance Of Oxygen

This is another true story.  An older friend of mine used to love to take out

stacks of photo albums and show me pictures of her family and friends.

I also loved it, because each picture had such an interesting story to go

along with it.  The presentation of the pictures always went something like

this:

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That’s Bertie.  She was over six feet tall.  Everybody called her Aunt Mossy.  She had a birthmark shaped like an anvil on her forehead.

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This is Luster.  He worked at the cotton mill until the train ran over his leg.

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And here’s Dodie Jean.  She was a shrimp boat captain.

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The Fisherman’s Daughter

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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She is not a problem

or a creature of pity.

She is his daughter,

born with a lack

of oxygen in her brain.

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He refused institutions

and takes his girl to work—

ties the wheels of her chair

so she will not roll

on their little shrimp boat.

.

She is his captain.

Her green eyes tell him

where currents swell.

She does not need speech

to warn of hidden shoals

and gathering storms.

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He can feel her stories

in the palms of her hands.

A moonlit leap of dolphin.

The smell of salt laced marsh.

Bright falling stars in August.

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There is no beginning or end

to water and air—only him,

only her, working, living

an abundance of wind.

.

They know this breath

of blood cannot be broken

as old nets lower slowly,

blooming in the ocean.

Forever open, always full.

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