Brenda Petrakos
   What is it like to be a woman alone in the big city? What is it like to be a woman in her 40's or 50's standing at the supermarket checkout behind a bunch of image-conscious Hollywood wannabes texting away on their little keypads or loudly telling off their agents?  What is it like to struggle to be heard in this poetry-indifferent city that prefers to unwind in front of game shows or Animal Planet? What does it mean to have values and ideals so much at odds with all the soap opera glamour and sitcom inanity that surrounds us, assaults us, every day?  Find out by listening to Brenda Petrakos perform her work. She does not mostly call herself a "poet"--but what use are labels? Brenda is a poet, if by poetry we mean a heightened use of language, a paring down of form to include only the essentials, an unflinching examination of the writer's own life and perspective, an emphasis on anaphors and sad or exuberant lists; nor should I neglect to mention:  a dissatisfaction with the way things are,with conventional received ideas, that has been present in poetry for centuries. I'm sure you will not soon forget hearing the songs of Brenda Petrakos.  

About Love

And when you pick love
It is not going to be easy
It will not be as you imagined it
It will break the fourth wall and you will talk to the audience
and your neighbor
and yourself- and you will go silent

When you pick love
it is salty and strong
it has a sweet aftertaste
it is bitter and makes you shake your head when its flavor
passes your lips - sometimes you will miss it

When you pick love - buy heavy equipment
things must be moved
large things
things you are used to

It is like choosing a new religion without a savior
the guide book has gone missing
the danger is only hinted at
and you will go anyway

the lanes cross and
you will crash
it will cause you to be disfigured

you will not be the same

it will change you forever
it will be dramatic
which can be good

it is not magic
it is all magic
and unfortunately...
You have to do it by law before you die
even if you do it alone
even if---you resist it with every fiber of your being
You will have to do it - so don't resist it when it comes
resistance is futile
just so you know

The Women of Juarez Walk Like Ghosts

     Haunting the streets with the grief
     mistaken for the living
     they are martyrs
     saints with no blessings
     the beauty has been stripped naked
     lost in sisters, mothers, daughters
     lost in caves, abandoned lots, fields
     shirtless they have no more sex to give
     it was ripped from their chest, their thighs,
     torn in the dusty desert
     by men of violence
     and cowardice
     consumed by rage and powerlessness
     The women of Juarez empty eyed watch
     more than 10, more than 100, more than 1000, More than 5000
     Woman, human beings, mothers, daughters, sisters
     murdered...tortured...abus ed..violated...
     year after year ----the reports come
     the violence continues
     where is the reprieve?
     the antidote?
     the military intervention?

     The hands of men ARE the weapons of mass destruction!
     These the terrorists we do not pursue !
     Invisible because there is no Gold in Juarez,
     No Oil, No Interests...
     Only the skulls of women
     stacking up
     one at a time

2010 Brenda Petrakos
Brenda Petrakos was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the July 2010 Second Sunday Poetry Series