#prison #blacklivesmatter # iNeedFeminismBecause #INTERSECTIONALITY #sexwork is decent

Federic W. Bertoff


There are many ways
to mark time
though most claim they don’t
preferring the myth
of living each day just for itself

And never counting
but I count
and measure the time in ticking seconds
in empty instant coffee jars
in socks with slowly widening holes
in calendar girls

Counting out lovely monthly mermaids
Miss Christmas, New Year’s, Halloween
I’m staring out the window again
or measuring lengths of dental floss
one spool (a hundred yards)
goes about a year or less

While each night hurtling through the galaxy
I floss that grinning death mask,
pink gums sanguine in his dim reflection
and supposing I ought to re-use that floss
at four cents an hour (the going wage)
I consider cost

But, with dramatic dispatch, throw it all away
one Last Grand Gesture
in hopes of burning up that spool
just a little quicker
with fifteen more to go

—from Rattle #10, Winter 1998
Tribute to Poets in Prison

Heather Bell I HAVE THIS FANTASY- heheheheh. Yes! And thank you for sharing.

Heather Bell


I have this fantasy
that I am dressed in a leather jacket
smoking a cigar
just standing there
holding Kafka or Adrienne Rich
by the spine
when an old boyfriend walks up with his
yellow-haired wife and says

Hey, remember me? Sean.

And I reply, casually

Sean? Maybe. The Sean with the big dick or the Sean with the small dick?
And his eyes dart around because he wants to say

Big dick.

but then he’s admitting to me seeing his dick at all
with his wife standing right there

who is holding a ratty looking purse
and what I think is a dead raccoon or
maybe her jacket

So he says

Sorry, I might be mistaken.

but damn, I look so good standing there in my cheetah-print leggings
and puffy hair and the sort of eyeliner that looks professional

that he repeats

But I really think we might have known each other at some point.

And I grin a little, lean in,
and whisper just loud enough for his wife to hear

Small dick, eh?

And I go home and I put on my pink bathrobe and sit on the couch and
I feel triumphant and my kids are running around with scissors

and the leggings are thrown over the loveseat
like a flag

—from Rattle #46, Winter 2014

Hello Miss Pretty Bitch by Emily Yoon thru Poets Respond!!

Emily Yoon


the street drummer
calls out in Korean
no doubt thinking it
a compliment
a pleasant surprise
cinched with red ribbons
for Christmas the day
select theatres will gift us
with The Interview
a comedy in which
two American journalists
ignite Kim Jong-un’s face
freedom has prevailed
the film’s star Seth Rogen
says about the release
the same was thought
at the time of Korea’s release
from the Japanese Empire
though then the Korean War
began and compared to war
what’s so bad about a movie
anyway even war can be funny
and now a drummer
in New York says
you got a smile 
that could light up
the whole town 
though I’m not smiling
thinking about villages
and cities of what became
North Korea set on fire
sending puddles of twilight
into sunless skies
as if flames could stab
but his freedom
of speech prevails
freedom always prevails
which is why we get to see
two Americans
incinerate a Korean face
on Christmas
hold our popcorn
and chocolate bars
and laugh as the dictator
explodes in tune
to a pop song
laugh as American
soldiers would laugh
at Korean children
chanting hello hello 
gibu me choco-let
with wartime hunger
laugh as they choose
which face
to light up

Poets Respond
December 28, 2014

Emily Yoon: 

“I wrote this poem as a reaction to how friends and acquaintances responded to the news, and how Seth Rogen Tweeted, ‘The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! […]’ on the film’s release. 

As a Korean-born person, it was always curious to me how many people in the US feel entitled to dehumanize North Korea 

and condemn North Korea-South Korea relations under the name of humour and freedom of speech, 

without enough awareness on the role of the US in the Korean War and the subsequent demarcation.”

SUBMIT your own poem:

This poem has been published exclusively online as part of a new project in which poets respond to current events. A poem written within the last week about an event that occurred within the last week will appear every Sunday at “