MEDITATION ON CAREENING If you are careening toward the darkness standing at the intersection of New Beginnings and Old Era Road, confused about how to recover from a rut remember bad shit happens but bitches who are bad bounce back. Walk the tidepool against the current. You do not have to be discreet reserved or level-headed. You do not have to be whimsical or calculated. Or thrash so hard you’d think your arms would be buff from paddling though you’re no closer to casting out into the sea. No. You only have to know there’s no safe harbor waiting. You only have to release your wild poet’s hair. MEDITATION ON BARGAINING I’m gonna get up on my soapbox and let er rip get the fingers movin’ let the juices drip or let it all go on without me lie down take a nap from the pussy riot protests v. fascism crap. While they kill the intellectuals kill the poets kill the journalists my blood is boiling from the collateral. Instead of readin’ Daughter of Persia who bargained on her education turns out silly me I was duped shoulda had kids dropped out made the bargain. Now I’m more in debt houseless finagled tired from movin’ horizontal not vertical. ODE FOR A STRUGGLE GIRL She’s a real know-it-all, a scoundrel from fiasco to fiasco. But she recalls someone so fragile in the hospital. And don’t be a hypocrite afterall. She’s a fraudulent fleeced but she’d rather bask in her garden than sleep with an ax. She’s an improper woman who knows propriety is overrated. Her methods are scandalous as she wonders how to feed them turmeric a quarter teaspoon per day. The whole shebang is ridiculous like a straight jacket thrown over her though her complaints are legit. And by the way what is their diagnosis? Dr. Cray-Cray Certified Ratty Raccoon? Who scold her about policy. Don’t ask questions. Don’t challenge. Don’t be defensive or combative. Though she strives to go with the flow. Like the classmate who slipped one hand into hers.
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Laura Sweeney facilitates Writers for Life in Iowa and Illinois. She represented the Iowa Arts Council at the First International Teaching Artist’s Conference in Oslo, Norway. Her poems and prose appear in sixty plus journals and ten anthologies in the States, Canada, Britain, Indonesia, and China. Her recent awards include a scholarship to the Sewanee Writer’s Conference. In 2021, she received an Editor’s Prize in Flash Discourse from Open: Journal of Arts & Letters; Poetry Society of Michigan’s Barbara Sykes Memorial Humor Award; and two of her poems appear in the anthology Impact: Personal Portraits of Activism, which received an American Book Fest Best Book Award in Current Events category and finalist in the Social Change category. She is a PhD candidate, English/Creative Writing, at Illinois State University.
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