lost when sad was fist and slow was raft such humans coughed with no hands-off nothing could last not one word list darkness stiffened and still lips missed the one end bone all left to stand
Hated it on the grounds of speech unfree, targeted at a sameness that I saw in front of my face. Remember, I’d fought. John Wayne had not. In L.A. he could be filling up and gawkers would lean around pumps to see him. I was asked to be loyal to unfreedom when I’d risked my whole life. Bad trip: I drove right on through Auburn and on to Mobile. By the side of the one-laner I saw a terrible accident, two old cars had mixed it all up and everyone looked dead as plucked crows. No, they talked about communists and how John Wayne had kept us all free. I could not believe their cracked heads left them with their old prejudices. There it was. I had signed the Oath at the last minute to keep my job.
Retired children’s librarian Alan Bern’s poetry books: No no the saddest and Waterwalking in Berkeley, Fithian Press; greater distance and other poems, Lines & Faces, his illustrated broadside press with artist/printer Robert Woods, linesandfaces.com. Alan earned first runner-up in The Raw Art Review’s “Mirabai Prize for Poetry, 2020”; he won a medal in 2019 from SouthWest Writers for a WWII story set in Italia; he won the 2015 Littoral Press Poetry Prize. Recent photos: https://theravensperch.com/12439-2/, unearthed, and thimblelitmag. Alan performs with dancer/choreographer Lucinda Weaver as PACES: dance & poetry fit to the space and with musicians from Composing Together, composingtogether.org.