By Judith Cody
Ringing of the Salvation Army bells on the snowy street corner, hunched as if bent body repels freezing wind for long hours at the copper kettle for the poor, the lonely bell sounds through the crowds of shoppers anxiously scurrying from door to door where a bit of warmth seeps out with the crisp commercial light onto a grate where a homeless family sleeps. Displayed on the frozen lawn a creche, the life-sized figures kneeling the brown-bearded father, eyes aimed toward the translucent plastic mother who looks down into the straw-lined “crib” where the tiny, painted infant has been vandalized. A tall, alarmingly skinny woman, dressed in dark designer clothes, her arms stretched taut with packages labeled with expensive brand names, fusses with the trunk lid of her red Lexus parked on the rainy corner of downtown. She heaves and shoves aside dozens of resplendent, beribboned gifts trying hard to get just one more brightly colored box to fit into the mightily stuffed trunk of the car that will soon deliver to the mansions on the hill.
Man Of 99 Years Looks Out The Nursing Home Window
Local newsletter reporter: What do you miss most in life? Man: Mowing my lawn.
Ode To Gills To Mother Mir
O swimmer slice through waves, weightless in thin gravity space, sea, the same old dream, without mass, yet sharp-dreamed within the amniotic sack that is biosphere spread-pressed on the skin of oceans, float-slide-slip. All the world’s an ocean, all the beasts begin as swimmers since the start of the tick of the big bang so it is said. Even the space station dies, plunges into the waiting sea, no longer floats, no longer shields space kids; their space womb sinks in shreds, returns to the most distant sea, South Pacific Place of legends, a dump for chunks of metal ingenuity. Old glorious space place but a bit left, a mere thirty or so tons of dreams sunk. What does the whale, with his massive cerebral sphere, perceive of this derelict wonder of ours?
Old Men And Toreadors Lost On A Great Highway
Deep gray tones suffused in hair, clothes, Skin—but his heart pumps scarlet still This old man curled into his long cedar cane Swirls it on his wrist like a cape Muttering prayers or curses He crosses the great Highway On an adventurous, curved diagonal Never before attempted Eyes flicker captured sunset The cane spins faster in high arcs “Bring on the bulls!” he bellows Bracing his gut for their piercings. “Pamplona? So much prattle about Pamplona, blah blah screw it all—a lifetime past It’s right here now the bulky creatures race by I’m in my dream at last it’s here.”
Sea Tales True And Waiting
—The NETs trawl for us.
Combing the waters for the life swimming in dark waves, thin, transparent walls of NETS strangle and starve millions of marine birds, mackerel, perch, seal, dolphin, carp, grouper, shark, squid, turtle, albatross, octopus, jellyfish, then soon all formerly great schools succumb out of eyeshot, pinned to their NETS the contorted creatures softly convulse in death throes, rictus, bowel juices emptied, mouths agape, bulging eyes stare― on thousands of nights ugly ocean portraits sway against forty-mile-long NET frame many animals glow in their luminous death. Years passed and NETS became weightless, easy to wrench home to thousands of waiting ships fisheries of the world were empty, so NETS dragged onto beaches snared swimmers in nylon bikinis, struggled with and strangled the tourist family barbecuing in the dunes at Half-Moon Bay outside San Francisco. Ninety-nine nude sun worshipers in the same area were snagged by ankles or necks locked in the filaments before it roared away to other states sweeping up prime fresh -faced students, sickly alcoholics, preemies, great poets, bad guitarists, courageous soldiers sent to blast it away, brilliant professors, experts at almost everything esoteric requiring an exorbitant education, scientists and astronomers of the first magnitude, true believers begging God’s forgiveness for this irrevocable crime. At last there was no discrimination in the world as NETS hung with horrible screams of dying drifted through city then countryside collecting every human hue, and rich and poor were netted together. Some confused souls painted their doors with fresh lamb’s blood but it made no difference, none at all. Poll takers yet soliciting opinions proved wrong, more loving couples than ever imagined vowed to die together when their NET ripped them in procreation from their hiding places, then trawled unharvested areas of human habitation on a remaining continent where a few committees bravely stayed in session planning strategies against the NETS that finally came whipping over their polished desks set with state-of-the-art technology that blinked out when yanked from the plugs by the NETS along with the planners planning until they puked kipper snacks. Thousands of NETS heavy with rotting cargo dangling, squirming to be free. Some, not damaged too much by the experience, managed to carry on quite lucid conversations wherein all manner of hideous problems of human suffering found solutions. Though in fact, there were no more human problems. Three who were the last to starve to death were entangled about one mile high in their own drift NET suspended over Antarctica where they had been sequestered, asserted: first person, “How quickly the land area of the Earth has been sterilized this way compared to the ocean area!” second person, “Well you realize, of course, that the, I mean, our planet Earth is seventy-five percent water? It’s really a Blue World … after all … don't you see?” third person, “It looks like the ice sheet is everywhere from here. Yes, it’s a monochrome Ice World!” second person, “Temporarily … you see my studies … say …” first person, “Not at all, because …” second person, “Polar caps are melting, hmmmm, global warming used to be the problem.” third person, “Yes, yes, but why?” second person, “It’s somewhere in my papers … but they’re all gone now, I imagine.” first person, “What is it that truly, truly matters?” third person, “Was there ever enough research on that question?”
Judith Cody’s new poetry chapbook, Garden on an Alien Star System, was
just published by Finishing Line Press. Currently, the Smithsonian
Institute is displaying her poem posters on the official Smithsonian
Institute Website. Her poetry is published in over 200 journals, and has
won many national awards, including second prize in the national
Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition. Centre College’s Norton Center
for the Arts selected her poem from a competitive group from around the
world for exhibition in a featured art gallery installation. Her poetry
chapbook was a finalist in Bright Hills Press’s national competition.
She has won Atlantic Monthly and Amelia awards; her poems were nominated
for Best of the Net, quarterfinalists in the Pablo Neruda Prize in
Poetry and were cited for honorable mentions by the National League of
American Pen Women. She edited the PEN Oakland anthology Fightin’ Words
and wrote the internationally notable biography of composer Vivian Fine:
A Bio-Bibliography and Eight Frames Eight, poems. Her work is seen in
many anthologies and poems appear in journals such as: California
Quarterly, Alexandria Quarterly, Apricity Magazine, Bindweed Magazine,
Brickplight, Brief Wilderness, Carbon Culture Review, Nimrod
International Journal, New York Quarterly, Stand, South Carolina Review,
Texas Review, Euphony Journal, Fugue, Clare, Green Hills Literary
Lantern, DASH Literary Journal, Misfit Magazine, The Montreal Review,
Fox Cry Review, Louisville Review, The Offbeat, Neologism, Madison
Review, Nonconformist Magazine, The Paragon Press, Phoebe, Poetic Sun,
Quiddity, Primavera, Poet Lore, Poem, Xavier Review, Hiram Poetry
Review, The Cape Rock, Citron Review, Ignatian, The Brooklyn Review,
Penmen Review, Splash of Red, Soundings East, A Thin Slice of Anxiety,
Vox Poetica, Westview, Wrath-Bearing Tree, Caduceus, Chaffin Journal,
Arabesques Review, Laurel Review, Androgyne, Chaparral, Forge, Abstract:
Contemporary Expression, Qwerty, Tiger’s Eye Journal, The Tower Journal,
Lyrical Passion Poetry E-zine, Cloudbank, Vending Machine Press, Voices
de la Luna, Willard & Maple, Third Wednesday, The Courtship of Winds,
Nude Bruce Review, Signal Mountain Review, and others.