rapid reaction teams RSS

rapid reaction teams

22 April, 2018: rapid reaction teams


by Jessica Grim

rapid reaction teams

projecting town out window.
cart before elevation.  we have been
wanting that.
“torture is routine” in the “troubled state”.
tearfully.     they left the country
bewildered.  practical silence, teeming molecules.
becoming delirious when the sun shines
onto them,
listening.  the glow finesses.  barely green.
shadowbox.  finally time to people it.
calling out.  never almost there, the state that
bore you.  flange.  cool seam
motionless field, protective turn.
insurgent tomb.  paging your mind it
seems that the pronoun anchors it but the pronoun isn’t
introduced yet.     mink tears.  just getting along.
change at noon, letting the light
leak in.  a so-called history.  a break in the land.  again and
again and again. 

“rapid reaction teams” by Jessica Grim from Fray. O Books, 1998. Used by permission of the author.
Jessica Grim is the author of several published books of poetry, including Vexed (BlazeVox, 2009, and online from /ubu Editions), Fray (O Books, 1998), Locale (Potes & Poets Press, 1995) and The Inveterate Life (O Books, 1990). She co-founded and co-edited Big Allis – a magazine focusing on experimental writing by women, which published from 1989 to 1996 – and she has participated in writing communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Northeast Ohio. Recent published poetry includes excerpts from a large collaborative work with Melanie Neilson in Bomb and Conjunctions. She has lived and worked in Oberlin since the early ‘90s.


Write a poem about an event from 50 years ago this month, such as the opening of Hair; signing of the Civil Rights Act; murder of Martin Luther King Jr.; release of Planet of the Apes; or election of Pierre Trudeau as prime minister of Canada. Or find another anniversary to write about.

Decade before my birth
But I've heard Donovan ask
Has anybody here
seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he's gone?

Gone... gone
April 4, 1968, gone...
Now belonging to the ages
Generations passed
His work remains

Taken too soon
To see his work
Result in the first president
Who shared his color
Who shared his oratory
And reserve

Half-century later
We still ask
Can you tell me where he's gone?
4/22/2018 5:02:06 PM

DirtBike Dave
Don't touch me!
Hands all over the eastern border.
you know what, I think we're falling from composure.
Hands all over western culture,
ruffling feathers, turning eagles into vultures.
Ive got my arms around baby brother. put your hands away. you're gonna kill your mother... and I love her.
Hands all over coastal waters. The crewmen thank her, then lay down their oily blanket.
Hands all over the inland forest. In striking motion, trees fall down, like dying soldiers.
I've got my arms around baby brother. Put your hands away. You're gonna kill your mother... and I love her.
Hands all over the peasants daughter. She's our bride. She'll never make it out alive.
Hands all over these words I utter. Change them into things you want to, like balls of clay. Now put your hands away.
I've got my arms around baby brother. Put your hands away. You're gonna kill your mother... oh no, I love her... and she loves me.

- Chris Cornell

4/22/2018 2:37:03 PM

James Lawless

Roy Underhill knows
woods. And he is very silly.
Scouting forest trees,
he once said, “Do you know
how to tell Dogwoods?
“By the bark.”

Jim Lawless
April 21, 2018
4/22/2018 1:59:33 PM

N. K. Hasen
Riots After MLK Assassination

Spread like wildfire across the land
Riots broke through surface
Looters breaking stores;
Lighting buildings on fire
Two-mile stretch of Madison Street
Running through East and West Garfield Park
100 building devastated and destroyed
Chicago’s West side in disarray
Churches; school kept memorial services on
For a great man, MLK, was murdered day before
Troops called into restore order
Nightlife was deserted;
No electricity in cities; many homeless were made
Violence was in the air; tearing human fabric
Will there be any end in sight to growing chaos?
4/22/2018 10:57:11 AM

betty kovacs

A wee brown bird
tweets and sings,
a warmness to my heart he brings.
The grass has carpeted the place
I lie, the sweet melodic tweeter close by.
A statue I remain, his tune to prolong. I thrill to listen to this gift of song.
4/22/2018 9:26:19 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.