Featured Poem: Let America Be America Again

By Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Featured Poem: Beyond That

Beyond That by Ghassan Zaqtan

I HAVE A WISH to see the land
a wish to retrieve recitation from the wisdom of lectors
and to think like a falcon

I have a wish to see the land whole
return song to poetry,
call strange mountains my brothers
and release my heart from the corpse of longing
and from the thick honey of prophets

Perhaps there still remains in mountaintops
a night besides your eyes
a silver besides your voice
perhaps there still remains
in some beautiful place washed down with sin
a scream to be shouted
a metal to be examined
a desire unattained
My love, whose name is just that, “my love,”
my life’s flower
is about to burn in my hand
I beg you
please
let’s part

Featured Poem: My Name was Reyes

By Pablo Neruda

My name was Reyes, Catrileo,

Arellano, Rodriguez, I have forgotten

my true names.

I was born with a surname

of old oaks, of saplings,

of hissing wood.

I was deposited

among rotting leaves:

this newborn sank down

in the defeat and in the birth

of forests that were falling

and poor houses that had recently been weeping.

I was not born but rather they founded me:

all at once they gave me every name,

every family’s name:

I was called thicket, then plum tree,

larch and then wheat,

that is why I am so much and so little,

so wealthy and so destitute,

because I come from below,

from the earth.

Featured Poem: The Crunch (2)

The Crunch(2) by Charles Bukowski

too much

too little

or too late

too fat

too thin

or too bad

laughter or

tears

or immaculate

unconcern

haters

lovers

armies running through streets of pain

waving wine bottles

bayoneting and fucking everyone

or an old guy in a cheap quiet room

with a photograph of Marilyn Monroe.

there is a loneliness in this world so great

that you can see it in the slow movement of

a clock’s hands.

there is a loneliness in this world so great

that you can see it in blinking neon

in Vegas, in Baltimore, in Munich.

people are tired

strafed by life

mutilated either by love or no

love.

we don’t need new governments

new revolutions

we don’t need new men

new women

we don’t need new ways

we just need to care.

people are not good to each other

one on one.

people are just not good to each other.

we are afraid.

we think that hatred signifies

strength.

that punishment is

love.

what we need is less false education

what we need are fewer rules

fewer policce

and more good teachers.

we forget the terror of one person

aching in one room

alone

unkissed

untouched

cut off

watering a plant alone

without a telephone that would never

ring

anyway.

people are not good to each other

people are not good to each other

people are not good to each other

and the beads swing and the clouds obscure

and dogs piss upon rose bushes

the killer beheads the child like taking a bite

out of an ice cream cone

while the ocean comes in and goes out

in and out

in the thrall of a senseless moon.

and people are not good to each other.

Featured Poem: The Circus of Death

The Circus of Death by Charles Bukowski

it’s there

from the beginning, to the middle, to the

end,

there from light to darkness,

there through the wasted

days and nights, through

the wasted years,

the continuance

of moving toward death.

sitting with death in your lap,

washing death out of your ears

and from between your toes,

talking to death, living with death while

living through the stained wall and the flat

tires

and the changing of the guard.

living with death in your stockings.

opening the morning blinds to death,

the circus of death,

the dancing girls of death,

the yellow teeth of death,

the cobra of death,

the deserts of death.

death like a tennis ball in the mouth of

a dog.

death while eating a candlelight dinner.

the roses of death.

death like a moth.

death like an empty shoe.

death the dentist.

through darkness and light and

laughter,

through the painting of a

masterpeice,

through the applause for the bowing

actors,

while taking

a walk through Paris,

by the broken-winged

bluebird,

while

glory

runs through your fingers as

you

pick up an orange.

through the bottom of the sky

divided into sections like a

watermelon

it

bellows

silently,

consumes nations and nations,

squirrels, fleas, hogs,

dandelions,

grandmothers, babies,

statues,

philosophies,

groundhogs,

the bullfighter, the bull and

all those killers in the

stadium.

it’s Plato and the murderer of a

child.

the eyes in your head.

your fingernails.

it’s amazing, amazing, amazing.

we’re clearly at the edge.

it’s thunder in a snail’s shell.

it’s the red mark on the black widow.

the the mirrow without a reflection.

it’s the singular viewpoint.

it’s the fog over Corpus Christi.

it’s in the eye of the hen.

it’s on the back of the turtle.

it’s moving at the sun

as you put your shoes on for the last

time

without

knowing it.

Featured Poem: No Title

No Title by Charles Bukowski

all theories

like cliches

shot to hell,

all these small faces

looking up

beautiful and believing;

I wish to weep

but sorrow is

stupid.

I wish to believe

but belief is a graveyard.

we have narrowed it down to

the butcherknife and the

mockingbird.

wish us

luck.