Bruce Bagnell

Bruce Bagnell

Bruce Bagnell has worked as a cook, mechanic, and college professor; held various management positions including running a car dealership; and was a USAF captain in Vietnam. Now retired, along with writing he is a Poetry Express Berkeley host. He has been published in OmniVerse, The Scribbler, The Round, Blue Lake Review, Crack the Spine, Chaparrel, Oxford Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Studio1, Westview Magazine, Zone 3, the Griffin, The Burningwood Literary Journal, Poetalk, Tower Journal, Glassworks Magazine, The Alembic, Juked, and The Cape Rock among other publications or online postings. His full-length poetry book, “The Self-Evolution Spa,” from Sugartown Publishing, was published in 2017.

From The Self-Evolution Spa

November 11, 2016, Grey Dawn

After the election I took a selfie;
flesh ripped to the bone,
tangled neurons,
knots of muscles.

Imagine if it had been a bomb
this sudden drop of words;
this acid rain
is not Aleppo.

I still have the silver spoon called America
bent as it may be.
I renew my vows to straighten it,
polish it until I can see myself again.

What’s in a Name

The suntanning parlor will cigarette the skin
of those who seek only moderate darkening.
I know of a faster cancer:
be born Black:
First you’ll need a name change.
Brenda to Branda
Cathy to Cadilina
Don to Damonie
James to Jamal
or jury-rig your own name,
guaranteed to fuck with getting a little white-collar job.
Rig the jury,
the judge,
the system,
until they come after you with night sticks,
for a name that confuses the dominate paradigm,
a name that expressed parental love
before it became a weapon
in the subconscious
of the establishment.
Names of the battered,
the imprisoned,
the lynched,
the dead –
go now,
skip the tanning booth,
all you need is a name
beaten in –
a cancer –
I dare you.