Robert Knox is a Boston Globe correspondent, a poet, fiction writer, and the author of a recently published novel based on the Sacco and Vanzetti case, “Suosso’s Lane.” As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal, Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in other journals such as Every Day Poet, Off The Coast, Houseboat, Yellow Chair Review. His chapbook “Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty” was published in May 2017.
The Pilgrims came,
they prayed, some died
Some natives fed them on the side
The Irish came,
their backs they bowed
unwelcomed oft, dug in uncowed
Germans, Dutch, and those who sprang from Nordic lands
Some traveled west to deeper ground
and worked their plows and new life found
In Factory Days the steamboats bragged
that jobs were waiting for those who dared
uproot their lives, their children dragged,
they ventured, labored, by looms ensnared
From Old World countries flowed the brave,
and to this place their futures gave.
From Russia, Greece and Portugal
ancestors in the old regalia
weeping for those left behind
in shtetl or Italia
Until they filled old neighborhoods
with foreign scents of foreign goods
Then old white heads with whiter blood
impelled a Congress to conclude
We need old laws that will exclude
those who come from birth and brood
too far from Anglo-Saxon at their root:
For these we do not give a hoot
They settled on a new device
that really wasn’t very nice
And rigged a system, produced a quota
For justice spared not one iota
The new plan keeps the numbers small
too bad that we can’t shut them all
behind cruel doors the men of ICE install
— Maybe we should build a wall!
In time we all may go to sleep,
forget to dream, our souls to keep.
now we’re here, let’s close the door
on the unwanted ones, downcast, and poor
and celebrate what made us great
forgetting the roots of our own estate.
The Tennis Ball
from New Jersey
traveled to Port Authority
then changed to long Island
and began a career in a famous match
that took thirteen sets
without once resembling a black bird
I was reminded of the time
I lost my second pair of glasses beneath the driver’s seat of a tired tiny family car
too small for the packages, luggage, holiday gear,
or the weekly garbage
we lugged to the transfer station on the day it was open,
not to mention occasional people
Until my son, small enough to see beneath the places
that were blind to me,
mere abstract spaces such as rabbit holes,
shuttered wells, capped mineral seams in Western states of mind
I never visited,
unfinished basements in the houses we rented
or occupied on weekends off from the group house
where we minded disturbed teenaged girls,
the cages of their abominable pets,
and places in my own dark fears…
Discovered it there and returned it to me,
proud but sensitive to my discomfiture
And when I put old lenses before my eyes,
everything, once more, came into view
He was older:
good for him
And so was I,
a mixed blessing
Guess who’s coming to dinner
He’s neither a saint nor a sinner
His bat is like Hank Aaron
His glove is Willie Mays
He’s taller than Wilt Chamberlain
Every year he runs a marathon
In times that do amaze
You’ll see him on the London stage
Or fancy free in Paris, France
He plays the horn in Le Chat Noir
Though she seldom sings in Pinafore
Her songs have taught the world to sing —
and you should see her dance!
Guess who’s in the capital
Guess who’s on the phone
Who told us that he had a dream
Whose death made people want to scream
Who Bible verses did intone
In measure analytical
On matters metaphysical
That startled our awakenings
from dreams of ancient queens and kings
And won a verdict mathematical
… on tendencies alone?
Guess who’s in the neighborhood
Guess who’s on the train
Guess who’s in the mirror
Guess who’s merely crazy
and who’s driving me insane?
Guess who’s at my shoulder,
guess who’s in my brain
guess who’s not the other
guess who’s everywhere
A secret self and shadow lover
(if you riddles entertain)
the always fated brother
and born to be my twain
Ash Slade considers himself to be a mysterious person. Poetry has been his passion since 12 years old in 7th grade. A poem can take minutes or days to write, each one is important. Ash lives in Connecticut in a small New England town. Hobbies included collecting notebooks and poetry books.
leaves scatter cold earth
walking, crunching ‘neath my feet –
like hands clapping together booming
meets grayish-black skies.
white n’ silver streaks implode in vaults of chaos. raindrops are
housetops, n’ asphalt instruments they play.
blueness appears as clouds roll by.
bravado is captured in storm winds blowing through trees.
branches bending, dancing in the night.
sometimes rubbing each other, slapping window panes.
Light in darkness
candles lit in windows
Pillow cushioning us from hard fall.
House sheltering us from storms.
Rock upholding us –
protecting us –
Pathway to elation
roadway to completeness.
Glue holding shattered pieces
pulled out of rubble.
Ressurected shards of brokenness
reworking us anew.