Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category


August 12, 2009 4 comments

She spent her childhood surrounded
by the missing.
Kidnapped children peered out from milk
cartons, heiresses vanished, then reappeared
in shaky surveillance tapes. Shadowy
foreign governments seized civilians
and held them for years, and terrorists
of all stripes did the same.

She thinks of those Iranian hostages,
held in their workplace, walled
up for over a year. Some evenings,
she feels like a captive
herself, although no scruffy terrorist
holds her at gunpoint, just the shapeless
terrors of bankruptcy and a job hunt at midlife.

She spent half her life expecting to be seized,
but she did not expect so many selves
to be sacrificed. She used to greet
the dawn by logging long runs.
Now she watches the sun rise over jammed cars
on the morning commute.
She used to plant a garden large enough to feed
her family for a season.
Now she picks up a quick meal where she can
or settles for microwaved popcorn.
She used to paint sprawling canvases
that dreamt visions of a new world,
but now she tends to files and forms.
She used to hike through strange parts of the globe.
Now her vacation days, unused, evaporate
at the end of the fiscal year.

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

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A Different Planet

August 11, 2009 1 comment
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A Rainy Day

August 10, 2009 8 comments
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August 9, 2009 4 comments

Mom always loved the rain. She loved the sharp edges of the stones
washed with it. Because she liked things clean.

It cleans every alley, she said.
God must like things clean. She was sure of this

more than the broken zippers
and the washed take-out boxes she saved in the pantry.

She loved to bleed.
Maybe she finally sensed God’s cleaning in it.

by Angela Koh

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How Appurtenances Are Made Sacred

August 8, 2009 3 comments

Her long silk robes and knitted caftans doused —
torn to shreds, soaked in gasoline, and set ablaze —
the shattered remains of her guitars tossed
on the burning rags, her entire household,

the caravan’s contents, her cherished possessions —
pots and pans, white lace shawls, brass candlesticks —
were burned and both her beloved horses shot.
Sleep had deceived Ulla; her knife would not sing.

Ulla, the old gypsy queen, has passed on.
She will need her possessions in the afterlife.
No one should be sent off to the spirit world
without their things. All wealth is “sad money.”

Only in death is there pleasure without spend.
We dressed Ulla as for her wedding day.

by Alex Cigale

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August 7, 2009 4 comments

In New York,
I would walk down
three flights of stairs
and buy cigarettes from
Key Food.

I would fancy myself
melancholy, meaningful,
poetic, and would pay cash.
I scoffed at the stolid
Manhattan banks, their
spires scratching the ancient sky.

Now, at a Flying J in Abilene,
I only yawn and swipe my card,
noticing my wrist is
pale where my watch was,
and my knuckles are
sharp and pink, and I am
growing older. I take
the receipt, and think

somehow, all I have spent
is floating now, slowly
and silently as smoke,
until it reaches the exact same place.

by William Sea

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Year Abroad Room and Board

August 6, 2009 2 comments
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August 5, 2009 1 comment

At first his requests seem
reasonable. He wants to learn
to sew. He wants no stain
of sweatshops on his clothes.
He wants a seamless
ethical life, no frayed
edges of hypocrisy.

At first, we have fun.
Of course, I’d always dreamed
of doing this with a daughter,
but I’ll settle for sewing with my son.
He’s been a bit adrift.
It’s good to see him settle
into a hobby.

But then he wants to know
who made the cloth,
and all our efforts unravel.
So hard to live an upright life
with all one’s values in alignment.

He decides there’s nothing to be
done but to raise his own goats and sheep,
and soon he attracts like-minded pilgrims.

They’ve moved out to the country
where they raise organic vegetables.
There’s a homebaked bread collective
and a vineyard and winery,
and, of course, cruelty-free cloth
and clothes of Christian design.
They weave, and break bread together,
and pray without ceasing.

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

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i swarm

August 4, 2009 Comments off
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Critical Mass, Vancouver

August 3, 2009 2 comments

There was no way to determine
the criticality of the mass
of happy, hooting cyclists
kinetic on the downtown street
on the last Friday of April,
but one guy at the corner
who had waited too long
in his silver suit
to cross that street
felt compelled
to flip them all the bird,
as though the chain reaction
they were creating
would reach him
the fallout of two-wheelers
an affront to his muscle
car life.

Meanwhile, and in contrast,
the line of customers waiting
at the Japa-Dog stand on the corner
was growing exponentially—
it was, for the moment,
a new equilibrium.

by Alan Girling

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