"Travesty," "Freedom Ghazal," and "Florida Born"


Skittles, iced tea, unarmed. Seventeen years
old. Looks like he’s up to no good…he’s just star-
ing at me
. Though cops tell Zimmerman to stay
in his truck, he gets out to find a stre-
et sign
.      Fox News anchors rave
about gold teeth, suspension, drugs. Show Trayv-
on pose tough, blow smoke. Never vary
the message. Mock Rachel Jeantel, her tart
tongue mumbling, That’s real reta-
rded, sir. Dangerous. Dumb. Thug. The strate-
gy works. The dead kid’s guilty. The defense can rest.



Freedom Ghazal


Near windows, silenced students gaze toward freedom.
Watch what you yearn for. Can you afford freedom?
My teen vow – to be a queen of love,
a disciple of art, a ward of freedom.
Why did Floridians re-elect a
fascist? Were they bored with freedom?
Starving farmers enslaved by dry earth.
Finally, clouds gathered. Poured freedom.
Not apple. Not a snake’s come-hither hiss.
The lure that can’t be ignored?  Freedom.
Tended to with thick gloves, the broken bat
mended. Wobbled, then soared. Freedom’s
just another word for nothing left to lose
Janis knew. Others try to hoard freedom.
Women, be like goddess sculptures – open
vulva for pleasure, raised sword for freedom.
Blues greats gave sorrow a tune. Rock gods wrote
lust into rhythm. Mozart scored freedom.
Sour in the convict’s mouth. Tangy in
the immigrant’s. A fickle word, freedom.
See us march -- all races, faiths, ages, passions united.
Four million “snowflakes.” A blizzard of freedom.
I try on names like scarves. Sweetheart. Scapegoat.
Mom. Interpreter of dreams. Bard of freedom.



Florida Born

Harder to grieve the lost, still-living
parent, sucked up into Tucker Carlson
hypnotism. Marinating in rage.
Choosing TV and loneliness over
let’s-just-not-talk-politics love.
Such stubborn unawareness,
almost incomprehensible, like movie
reviewers who write, The theater
had no air conditioning. One star
Or Awful! Ushers kept shining their lights.



Alison Stone has published seven full-length poetry collections, Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017), Masterplan, a book of collaborative poems with Eric Greinke (Presa Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic, (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Barrow Street, Poet Lore, and many other journals and anthologies. She is also a painter and the creator of The Stone Tarot. A licensed psychotherapist, she has private practices in New York City and Nyack, NY. www.stonepoetry.org, www.stonetarot.com. Alison recommends Planned Parenthood.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, August 21, 2023 - 11:19