new poem / Michelle Red Elk

my own boat has been shouldered years
now it sails out
old branches scrape the bottom
remember
but I glide seamlessly through
the water’s edge glitters gold
leaves, on the surface
big power day
my eyes catch hands of spirits and backs of turtles
the turtles clear my path
and push forth their medicine
which they owe me
their own old hearts know my name
and watch over my vision
they have come along, from way back
from the original dream
from the winding roads of Adams County
where I ferried them over the road
where hill slides brought me
face to face
with their powerful medicine
the turtle has given me enough each time
has brought the power back to my hands
has sheltered me
stronger than straight arrows
our hearts collide
my boat moves on, moves past, moves into
the shadowed turtle dips for cover into me

Two Poems by Bob Brussack


Offshore Roulette 

Our money's good, they said.
Got it right here.
Down deep.
Down deep
In these pockets.
So where's the wheel?
The wheel's our game.
Give 'er a spin.
Bet on the black.
Black to win.
We're all in.
But she comes up red.
Blood red.
Spreading red.
Engulfing red.
Drowning red.
Dead red.

Milner 

What good I do,
I do willy-nilly
And here and there,
Charity in the second degree,
Unpremeditated--
Except at tax time.
But there are among us--
I know one--
Devil hunters,
Sworn assassins of sorrows,
Career soldiers
In a war against the
Fallenness of the world.
Some of these--most, I expect--
Were drafted to the brigades
By the awful gravity of suffering.
Others--the one I know--
Came to the cause impelled
Not just by heart's imperative,
But by considered judgment.
Reason, for him, required a
Constant, vigilant, inventive charity.
One needn't believe in God
To believe in angels.


I'm Glad to be an American / Grady Thrasher

I’m glad to be an American.
I feel selfishly serene.
But having serenity in my identity
(and I’m not being snide)
Should not be mistaken for pride.

Yes, I’m glad to be an American,
But please don’t call me proud.
I cringe when others say
“God bless the U. S. A”
In voices much too loud.

It would amaze me that God would abide
Such arrogance implied,
While we employ our lethal forces
To stake claim to the Earth’s resources.

We “fight for freedom,” that’s our test,
Freedom to consume, pollute
and foul Earth’s nest,
Then shout and bray that we’re the best,
For we are they that God has blessed.

Oh, those peoples starving, displaced, diseased,
It’s clear: toward them, God is displeased.
But if it’s God’s will for us to do,
We’ll bomb, maim and kill them too.

If any believe this is all idiotic,
They just hate America and are unpatriotic.