Aaron Graham, an assistant poetry editor for The Tishman Review, is a Marine Corps veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where he served as an analyst and linguist. He is working on a PhD in literature at Emory University and teaches English Lit and writing at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
His chapbook, Arabic with a Redneck Accent (Moonstone Press, $10, paper), contains twenty-six pages of poetry, much of which has been published in small magazines and journals such as Grist, Digging Through the Fat, The Seven Hills Review, and The Taos International Journal of Poetry.
These are short poems, mostly about one page in length. They are all very powerful. Here’s one, “Mohave Viper,” an example of Graham’s fine work:
The nearest civilization
Is a palm tree
On our horizon
Approaching the plywood MOUT town
The first seconds of light
Breached the horizon—
The silence of darkness
What exploded before us
Was not shrapnel, prosperous
Or tetanus-seeping Philips-head screws,
Refracted light bouncing from
Microfilament spindle silk
Strands left by Tarantula-legions
Covering their cacti overnight
Like a police tape perimeter
Made of muslin
A crystalline kingdom of perfection
So delicate only the infant
Rays of sun would hold in focus.
In predawn hours
The Mohave sand
The cost of invasion is
How something beyond
Fathom is lost—
Comes to end
under retread souls—
Issued combat boots.
Fine stuff and well worth savoring at great length while—as I did—drinking my morning cup of mint tea with honey. No better way to start my day.
Reading a poem in the morning is a great way to jump-start a day in Maple Valley, Washington, or anywhere for that matter. It’s better than reading a chapter in a war memoir, which tends to be a downer.
For ordering info, go to squareup.com/store/moonstone-arts-center/item/arabic-with-a-redneck-accent-1