#Immigration: Broken English by Daniel B. Summerhill

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Ahmed’s English breaks
after each word,
a slight pause
of interrogation
as if discovering
each term mechanically.
Perhaps
it’s his tongue rebelling
against colonialism,
the way it spills
its discourse
and expects you to pretend
there isn’t mud trudged
through your home or
front door left open.
What happens to the mouth
as it sculpts
a new language?
As the tongue finds
new ways of expressing
its distaste
for subjugation.
How each vowel becomes
malignant. How it breaks
English un
evenly.
How Ahmed pronounces
his name
wrong now.

Daniel B. Summerhill is a poet and performance artist from Oakland, CA. Currently an MFA candidate at Boston’s Pine Manor College, Daniel has performed and taught guest workshops and lectures throughout the U.S, Europe, and South Africa. He has published two collections of poems, Crafted and Brown Boys on Stoops, and has been asked to perform at Ted Talk and Def Jam Poetry with Danny Simmons. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Pine Hills Review, Cosmonauts Avenue and The Voice among others.

 

Painting by Jenn Zed. Used by permission.

#Immigration: Collateral Damage by Michael H. Brownstein

Collateral Damage Michael H Brownstein 1

Heat a bombed-hell
and you’re carrying the weight of a child
after his leg vanished
when he came upon a landmine.
First the sweat evaporates into nothing,
the skin contours to the sun:
Before you, a fresh water beach,
muscles cramping, you want to lie in the sand,
but first you need to plunge into water.
There is no beach, no fresh water,
only the red liquid of conflict,
too much collateral damage.
The boy’s bone stabs into your arm.
Heat, too, has weight.
You need the beach, fresh water.
You need to shake your head clear of sunlight.
to close your eyes to dizziness.
If you put the object down,
where will that leave you? Where will you be?
How much further to a safe place?
Your lips lipsticked with dust and death.
The boy is still breathing,
but you, your heart races.
Mid-Missouri, July,
the temperature over a hundred,
humidity pushing to a hundred ten.
The war has been over for years.
The object you carry is yourself.

 

First published in H.E.A.R.T.

Collateral Damage 2 Brownstein

 

Bio: Michael H. Brownstein is on the roof of his old house, the roof in serious disrepair, and he walks on it as if he’s on a boardwalk – a squirrel falls through where he just stood – what is left to do but go to all fours, tread carefully until he’s on safe ground, call the roofers (he can’t fix this), and write a poem.

He’s walking across a great field, firecrackers exploding. He swats away at dozens of mosquitoes. Near where he teaches, the security guard tackles him and points out a sniper who has been shooting at him as he crossed. There is nothing else to do but conduct a poetry workshop in his algebra class.

He goes camping, and a rattlesnake crawls into his sleeping bag. Prayer and poetry – they really do go together.

On and on. Take a break. Write a poem.

#Immigration: Do Not Come by Barbara Henning

Do Not Come Barbara Henning
—fleeing harm—a torrent of human beings—Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan—warm weather—do not come—near sixty in New York—Don Yorty points at me—with his cell phone—an archive of NYC poets—music blaring—do not come—a pro-bully rally—warm up the clash—between protestors and supporters—do not come—“We” have to take a look at it—do not come—Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate—the bully says—with more than minimal makeup—and a bit of eye shadow—do not come—depends upon—union activist—or reality tv—do not come—the Greece-Macedonia border—tear gas fired at children—men—women—do not come—1933—at Mack Ave and Alter Rd—my ancestors pose—stiff and prepared—for rent—extra rooms—safety indoors—children fed—2016—desperate—yet—do not come—do not come—to Europe—or here—do not come—my right knee stiff—do not come—stretch it out and in and out—

						(8 Mar 2016)

First published in Recluse.

 

 

Barbara Henning is the author of several collections of poetry, her most recent A Day Like Today (Negative Capability Press 2015). Other recents include A Swift Passage (Quale Press), Cities and Memory (Chax Press) and a collection of object-sonnets, My Autobiography (United Artists). She has published three novels, Thirty Miles to Rosebud, You Me and the Insects and Black Lace, and she is the editor of Looking Up Harryette Mullen and The Collected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins. Born in Detroit, Barbara lives in Brooklyn and teaches for Long Island University, as well as writers.com. http://barbarahenning.com

#Immigration: Resignation Syndrome by Tim Kahl

Resignation Syndrome Tim Kahl

They just fall away from the world.
All the little Roma and Uyghur kids,
the boys being sent back to Kosovo,
they completely buy into Sweden.
They feel a deep pressure in their brains
and ears. They pound their fists against
the wall and slowly descend into coma,
their heads flopping down at their sides.
The feeding tubes enter through the nostril.
The mothers weep and stare at their hands.
They have no asylum, no future that can be
salvaged and finally made secure.
They suffer from poisoned hopefulness,
a crisis of existence at the age of nine
that makes them shut down, supports
knocked clear, their life story veering off course.
Such resigned apathy is not an isolated
act of the imagination’s force.
I have seen refugees from their working days
rage in their despair. Those lost in
little rural towns turn to alcohol and meth,
labor sacrificed on the altar of finance.
I have seen women whose nightmares
have come to life and surfaced as a threat,
men who left their homes to find out where
they might prosper best. I have seen trust
expertly pierced by speech turned to a point.
All manners of trauma spill from
an unsettled fate. It’s not the destiny
anyone bargains for to wander about,
dispatched from the land of empathy
where you’ve come to learn the language,
but it decides to snow some more.

 

 

Tim Kahl [http://www.timkahl.com] is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) and The String of Islands (Dink, 2015). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters’ Review, Indiana Review, Metazen, Ninth Letter, Sein und Werden, Notre Dame Review, The Really System, Konundrum Engine Literary Magazine, The Journal, The Volta, Parthenon West Review, Caliban and many other journals in the U.S. He is also editor of Clade Song [http://www.cladesong.com]. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He also has a public installation in Sacramento {In Scarcity We Bare The Teeth}. He plays flutes, guitars, ukuleles, charangos and cavaquinhos. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes.

 

Information on Resignation Syndrome.

#Immigration: Oracle of Witch Hunts by J. P. Dancing Bear

Certainly flashlights were burning
into the darkness.
There were whispers,
rumors and lies told—worse, believed!

And the sound of doors
cracking off their frames.

A hive waking—
misdirected, angry, attacking
the shadowed

under the claxons,
under the sirens.
Through the slits of curtains
we saw
people herded into vans,
people cuffed and led away,
people penned,
people executed by revoked asylum.

We saw people treated
as the supernatural beings
rising up from hell.

We saw red light bleed
out over panicked eyes.

The boss of uniforms
said it was him
who was being hunted

but he was doing what all
predators do,
camouflaged and preying

on the hidden helpless
praying
in the shadows.

 

 

J. P. Dancing Bear (Featured Poet, October, 2017) is co-editor for the Verse Daily and Dream Horse Press. He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, most recently, Cephalopodic (Glass Lyre Press, 2015), and Love is a Burning Building (FutureCycle Press, 2014). His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary Review, Crazyhorse, the DIAGRAM and elsewhere.

 

Photograph by U.S. Department of Immigration Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security).

#Immigration: A Well-Lit Ocean by Trish Saunders

Row along, children, nothing to see here,
it’s not an oar that floats in the seaweed
but a branch, slender as hope;
that stifled cry was a gull—

how much time have I spent reassuring you?
probably not enough;

a beached boy lying face down is not a boy,
but a large doll,
eyes closed
in sleep;

waves turn his face
from the pitiless sun,
but keep his blue shorts on,
one last kindness.
Stars wince.

Alan_Kurdi_lifeless_body

 

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.

 

Photograph of Syrian and Iraqi refugees arriving in Greece by Ggia. 

Photograph of the body of drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi by Nilufer Demir.