Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pushcart Prize Nom for 'FOB Haiku' Poet

The non-profit Veterans Writing Project publishes both an on-line and quarterly print literary journal titled "O-Dark-Thirty." Editors there recently included in their nominations to the 2018 Pushcart Prize a poem by Randy Brown. Brown's poem "Airman, Second Grade" was published in their Summer 2017 "O-Dark-Thirty"—a special edition that focused on a theme of "identity."

A digital copy of that issue can be accessed FREE as a PDF at this link.

The Pushcart Prize annually seeks the best poems, essays, and short fiction, as nominated by small press publishers and literary journals.

It is Brown's second Pushcart nomination. In 2016, his work "fighting seasons" was nominated by the War, Literature & the Arts Journal. That work also appears in his collection "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire."

The poem "Airman, Second Grade" regards the poet's experiences growing up in an active-duty U.S. Air Force family:
Airman, Second Grade

This is where
you ask me where I’m from.

And this is where
I tell you that my family and I
are in the Air Force.

Focused as a death-ray lens
on the playground ants below, you suddenly blaze
that my pants are on fire.

I do not understand why.
I know, just as the sky is blue:
My family is in the Air Force.

I have already moved four times
that I can remember. Each address
has been a new bicycle, and learning to pedal

through conversations like this one.
Kids can’t be in the Air Force, you laugh.

I burn, my face hot. My eyes sting.

But I get it now:
I am not from around here
and you are not

one of us.