The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Peter J. Curry

Code Talkers


In the YouTube video, we see members
of Arizona’s Navajo Nation protesting the appearance
of Senator John McCain at a reception
on their land, honoring the Navajo Code Talkers
of World War Two. They are angry about the way
he’s handled water rights issues for decades…
about the way he pushed through a bill that allows
an international company to mine for copper
on their territory…and about his silence in face
of the EPA’s recent gold mine cleanup disaster
in Colorado which unleashed three million gallons
of hazardous sludge into the Animas River
and polluted the water downstream, in parts
of their Arizona homeland. After the photo op,
McCain and his entourage exit hastily
through a back door. When the protesters see him
leaving (they were not allowed in the room
where the ceremony took place),
they give chase on foot. But McCain and company
are already in their SUVs. The protesters
run hard, but they can’t catch up. As the video
ends, all you hear is someone yelling
“Get out of here,” “Get off our land,” and the sound
of the protesters’ feet, pounding the ground,
sending a message to all indigenous creatures.


Peter J. Curry

What Awesome Looks Like


On Route 301 in Middletown,
Delaware, a boy and a girl are selling
apple butter and other goodies in front
of a Sun gas station, near the highway.
The girl, who plays bass drum
in the marching band at her high school,
is growing up without benefit of the braces
you will find on the teeth of the more
affluent children in the nearby towns
on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
But in spite of a less than perfect smile,
she is happy to be the person she is
and answers your questions about her
jams and jellies and life in this part
of the world with considerable charm.
Meanwhile, her brother, wearing a t-shirt
that says, “This is what awesome looks like,”
doesn’t talk much but says a lot by the way
he adds fresh water to the dog’s dish
and helps his sister with this enterprise
(the proceeds from which she plans to use
for college) by putting more jars
of Apricot Ginger Butter and Sweet
Vidalia Onion Relish on the wobbly
aluminum picnic table that shakes
a little when the semi’s roll by.




PETER J. CURRY spent many years as an advertising copywriter/producer, with time out in the early 1970s for a stint as music director with a country music radio station in Philadelphia. He now works as a substitute teacher and plays banjo, guitar and harmonica in a country and bluegrass band.



Continue Reading >