Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Carol Peters--Sixty Some


Carol's book Sixty Some has just been published, each poem a 45 second/up to two minute peaceful meditational space on the page. I've known of Carol's work for years, and though we've never met, I always look for her name in the poetry publishing world; I know it'll be quality. This book is different than many others, in that she's quietly released it with no monetary expectations--it is poetry, after all :-)-- in free PDF and soon-to-be MP3 format. There are dollar-attached versions available for many e-book platforms as well. I encourage everyone--all of you out there--to check out her blog and her publishing site and to buy an electronic copy to support her. There's really no reason this idea shouldn't spread. As for the inevitable stigma attached to self-publishing, I'd simply note that Carol's work has publicly signified for years, and questions of quality and professionalism have already been answered. If you know the work is good, and you don't have to worry about tenure or vita-worthy books (pesky academics anyway), this is one way--a good way, with all the control in your hands--to go.

You can also buy her chapbook from Finishing Line Press: Muddy Prints, Water Shine, under the New Women's Voices Series.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Poems from Thieves Jargon

I like my poems; I guess that's all I can say about them. They're not for everybody.


Car-tire against gravel,
rough smell of beer
and roasted corn,
heat-lightning like a sine
wave loops across a pit
of gray sky between pole-light
and the quiet barn;
the low of cows,
moonshine slips in like a tongue
through the treeless hedge fence;
the empty faces of women glow,
a child in shirtsleeves gums an apple
while the mutt runs a rough circle
around the feet of your friends,
pissing every time someone raises a hand.
Your wife says fuck it. Goes to bed.
Shuts the door. Says go ahead and drink.
Be with your friends.

Wrong words get said.
Your head breaks like a fist
against a stone wall,
knuckles feeding fire.
Somewhere the swollen lips
of angels call you home,
but before you go smash-mouthed
in to the house to watch your kids breathe,
stagger into your marital bed,
you tongue-kiss a seventeen-year-old,
realize the sweetness in her mouth
is your own blood.




Don't call me late again, knocking your drunk
head on my door. You're a cracked engine block
sitting in the car like always but useless as tits
on a boar hog at least from the outside.
You burned the eggs when I let you cook
that one time and we ended up eating
bear-claws for breakfast and cold coffee.
You shook so badly you couldn't press
the button on the microwave and your whole life
dribbled out of you in sobs like you'd pissed
down my leg. I can only do so much for you,
prop you up when you're about to hit the floor,
buy you Cokes to wet your chapped tongue,
clean your pretty blue cowboy boots of puke,
curse when you kick them against the divot
in the floor near the entrance of my trailer.
You need the heat turned up high and blankets
crowded between your thighs. I left your bra
and panties on last night; I didn't want you
to think I'd taken anything from you but now
I've pretty much decided: I wouldn't piss on you
if you was on fire. This time it's all on you.
I've had enough. I'm only interested in how you burn.


Dear So and So: a gray lick of water pounds your bare feet.
The ocean's heart opens in front of you, a failed embrace.
Cold salt and hard driftwood slam in the eddy between
two immense boulders and a dinghy shudders in its shallow
mooring. The crack of rock on rock fills the air.

You can't write a fair poem about the ocean without the death
of something. Oceans hear you but take revenge in their own
slow time. You shouldn't be out in this rain and wind but yeah:
there it is. I snapped the picture. The very last one.

Walk into a redneck bar in mid-coast Maine in 2022.
In flip-flops and tight jeans, she'll be numbing her ganglia
with gin or by the memory of you putting up sable curtains
on rods at the apartment with the lobster traps outside;

the way you fucked her raw on the tar roof with no blanket;
she picked gravel from your knee abrasions with a whiskey-
soaked washcloth and your Buck knife's dulled blade; it'd been
years since that knife had been near a stone but she sat nude

at your feet. You felt the tips of her breasts glow. Strewn-haired
and damp with sex, she'll turn to you now, glass-tipped,
fornicatory in her slippery movements and she'll nod in disbelief.
It's 2022. 20 years of salt water spitting right in your damned eye.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reading at Thursday Theatre of Words & Music


I'll be reading prose here, and possibly a few poems. Hope you can make it.


What:  Thursday Theatre of Words & Music

When:  September 24rd @ 7pm

Where:  Cornerstone Books @ 45 Lafayette St. in Salem, MA @ http://www.cornerstonebooks-salem.com/

 Who:  Rusty Barnes, Lilly Roberts, and KL Pereira

Contact: thursdaytheatreWM@gmail.com

Thursday's Theatre of Words & Music features three to four established and emerging writers and artists to read/display/perform their work for the public at Cornerstone Books in Salem, MA on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7pm.  An open mic will be held following featured writers/artists--artists are chosen by first-come-first-serve.
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September artists include:

Rusty Barnes has published fiction, poetry and non-fiction in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Flash Fiction. Rusty’s book of flash fiction Breaking it all Down was published in 2007 by Sunnyoutside Press.  After editing fiction for the Beacon Street Review (now Redivider) and Zoetrope All-Story Extra, Rusty co-founded Night Train, a literary journal which has been featured in the Boston Globe, The New York Times, and on National Public Radio.

Lilly Roberts is a Northshore poet and photographer.  She received her MFA from The University of Iowa and she currently teaches English and Creative Writing at the Cambridge School of Weston, where she serves as the faculty sponsor of Vault, CSW's literary magazine. In addition to receiving the Lynda Hull Poetry Prize from Crazy Horse Magazine, Lilly has been published in several literary magazines. She is a regular contributor to the online literary and arts journal Art Throb.

KL Pereira has published poetry and nonfiction in numerous journals. She has served as an editor and writer for LiP Magazine, and Whats Up Magazine/Spare Change News, advocacy publications by and for the homeless and underemployed. She teaches writing classes and workshops focused on promoting the power of women’s words and encouraging women to find their voices at The Women’s Center, Center for New Words, East Boston High School, Casa Myrna Vasquez, Freedom House, and Grub Street.

TTWM mission statement:

Thursday's Theatre of Words & Music is a venue to celebrate the imagination and provide a stage for creative works.  We encourage dialogue about product and process as well as the development of a community of committed artists, be they writers, musicians, visual artists or patrons of the Arts.  With its residence in Salem, a historically fertile place where disciplines such as art, oral tradition, mysticism, philosophy and literature have been nurtured, TTWM aspires to make the Arts a more prominent element of the city of Salem and the North Shore Community at large.

Ed Dorn's # 22 From Twenty-four Love Poems



                                               from Jacket

The strengthy message here in #22 of 24 Love Songs can be summed up in two lines: ['There is/no sense to beauty. . .' and '. . .How/ the world is shit/ and I mean all of it] What I also like about this brief poem is the interplay between the title of the book and the subject of the poems (love/anti-love (which is not hate)): it's all a mass of contradictions, like love. And I have to say that the shorter poems of the Love Songs and the last book he wrote before dying (Chemo Sábe) seem to me much better and more memorable than the Slinger/Gunslinger poems. These (generally) later poems probably attempt less stylistically, but are more sure-handed, hacked from a soap bar, maybe. Easy to use, but disappear after use. In any case, Dorn is well worth the reading and re-reading, for me, though he'll never become one of my favorites. And doesn't every poet want that, dead or alive? ;-)


#22


The agony is beauty
that you can't have that
and sense too. There is
no sense to beauty. It offends
everyone, the more so
in ratio to the praise of it.
And I've known this for a long
time, there has been no
great necessity to say. How
the world is shit
and I mean all of it


Other people thinking about Dorn:

Joe Safdie, from Jacket, "Ed Dorn and the Politics of Love".

Electronic Poetry Center's Dorn collection 

Critical Obsolescence: Ed Dorn Live

Kyle Waugh, from Jacket again, "You Are Sometimes in the Trance of What Is Beyond You": Upheaval, Incantation and Ed Dorn in the Summer of 1968

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tom Clark Remembers Jim Carroll

 

I'm not really a fan of Carroll--I admit, though, I haven't read anything beyond the Basketball Diaries--but these remembrances by the former editor of the Paris Review make me want to check him out more fully.
A poet departs, too soon, and there is a void that will not be filled. From somewhere deep and old the tears well up in the dark night.

When I met Jim in 1967 he was seventeen. He had been leading a triple life: high school All-American basketball star, heroin addict/street hustler, poet.

On scholarship at the elite Ivy league prep academy Trinity School (alums include Humphrey Bogart, Truman Capote, Ivana Trump, Yo Yo Ma, John McEnroe, Aram Saroyan), he had shown unusual abilities on the court. He had played against the city's best (including Lew Alcindor, later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had starred at Tower Memorial, a school in Jim's own Inwood Park neighborhood). His skills had drawn the attention of college scouts. The turning point, according to one of his versions of the story, had come when a representative of Notre Dame took him out for dinner. Jim told the story with great good humor; the Notre Dame man had ordered a spaghetti dinner. Jim had listened politely to the man's talk of the virtues of a Notre Dame education. And then nodded out into the spaghetti.

More.

Some Poems from Scapegoat Review

Here are a couple poems I published this past winter. I hope you like them, and furthermore, I hope you'll go and check out the other writers in the Scapegoat Review.

About the poems, yeah. Uh. I am nostalgic for the entropy of some aspects of my childhood.Somewhere along the way, as many of us do, I settled like silt in a pond, and these poems help me blow shit up again as I remember and redact and fake the words into remembrances/poems both real and imagined. The persona in these poems is a complex motherfucker, or thinks of himself that way. It's a good thing he's got a low-IQ translator like me.

Abandonment

I watched Uncle Walt pull a fake tittie
out of his inner flannel shirt,
present it to my father like a gift
he ought to bow and scrape for.

Dad laughed and pulled at his beer,
I went off to watch the older kids
fucking behind the old milk house
on the hay left over from years

and years of farming but the farm
had been abandoned—plows still set
in the high grass beside the stone wall,
bob-wire stuck in gray old fence posts

while my brother pumped at a red-haired
girl who threw her head back like a horse
straining at a bit only she could feel,
his white cheeks glistening with sweat.

Farm gone, girl gone, Uncle Walt gone
brother/dad unreachable for reasons known
and unknown; I look back through time
and see myself touching myself,

eight years old, consumed by guilt and fire.




How One Word Connotes a Star

Great White sang something about traveling
across your state line. You'd recently
demilitarized your zone with a razor. The idea
had some appeal. Your sunflashed dad and his short-
barreled shotgun proved us too young. I slipped
my cold hand hipward and he busted out the door
in sweatpants and a camo jacket to say
Nice night kids. Lookit that moon!
Hitched his pants skyward and coughed.
I returned my hand to your safe shoulder.
He went to bed dog-howling nervous;
the bedroom light stayed on all week.
In the night sky your navel supernovaed
to the rhythm of my probing tongue
and flared like cinnamon in my mouth.
We lit out for a galaxy of trembling we
worked all night to reach it while the stars
tittered behind their stone-white hands.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Amy Holman: Pastor Among Suspects in Illegal Snake Bust

Amy Holman is a writer I don't know at all personally except in the way you tangentially know people who are into the same things you are via emails and such. I published her story Saving a Sister in Night Train some years back, and somehow I forgot or never knew she was a poet as well. Following links today gave me a journal called the November 3rd Club, where I found her poem, a great one. I wish I'd published it. So read some Amy Holman; you won't regret it. The long lines don't wrap correctly here, so you'll need to go to the November 3rd Club site to see the whole.


Pastor Among Suspects in Illegal Snake Bust


Venomous snakes seized in an undercover sting, AP indulges.
42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, one western
diamondback rattlesnake, one fundamentalist pastor, two cobras,
one puff adder, nine true believers, and three cottonmouth
water moccasins. This reminds me of a telephone call

one evening in which my mother spoke of an ancestor—one
of the Virginia Ironmongers—who taught himself
Spanish by pinning words and phrases onto his sleeves as he
tilled the soil, and then went to Mexico as an interpreter
for Maximillian, until the government fell to mayhem,

and he escaped, but then, wading waist deep in the bayou,
he saw a water moccasin approaching. After escaping
that dull earth for better conversations in a decadent dictatorship,
he was to end in a swamp. He paid attention one last time,
watching the water moccasin swiftly swimming

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Ex-Boyfriend Checks In on Saturday Night by Cell Phone

I'm looking forward to reading Linda Annas Ferguson's Dirt Sandwich from Press 53 this weekend. And digging into Kenneth Rexroth's mammoth collected at some point. I have to write some poems and get contracts out for the new NT issue due 9/15, too. I just got a bunch of chaps from Faux Press I forgot about till just now, so it should be a good weekend. If I can just get some alone time.

Here's one of mine, which many people in the world will reenact come Friday or Saturday night. :-) It was originally published by Mikael Covey in the journal Lit Up.


The Ex-Boyfriend Checks In on Saturday Night by Cell Phone

Remind me never to call you
again after you get home late,
for the familiar fear of the deadbolt noise,
the shifty creak of your linoleum floor,
the way you throw your jacket over
the sofa and slide from your shoes
like a tap dancer long and slow,
the way you rattle the bowl

with beer-piss knowing that I’ll crawl
between your ankles anyway,
part your legs and lips like the leaves
of an old familiar book whose margins
I’ve creased with my fingers and closed
with the certain knowledge I’d open it soon
and feel my way through the details
by heart. It’s not genteel; it’s what I know.
Baby, I’d eat your words raw.

I don’t like those noises in the hum of your line.
Here I am hawk-eared to my cell,
finger stuck in my off ear waiting
to hear you answer and nothing
picks up but my tension, the hillbilly
band in the background twanging
into their next set. There are twenty women,
open books, I don’t want to talk
with here and eighteen men with cutthroat
late-night hearts and cash to spare.
Me with a dollar or two or my own
cold need worth nothing but gas money,
maybe a pat on the ass. While you’re banging
heels on his ass I can leave with women
I don’t want or go home to drink
another beer in front of the TV.

That choice is easy. Susana’s alone
at the bar skinny-legged in her jeans
and long hair loose. While her cunt
warms beneath me I’ll write a new chapter
in her lovely body but I know me.
In the morning I’ll close the book.
Forget every word. Yeah.
Remind me to leave a message
next time. I’ll say please baby--pick it up.