"Everyone Gets Lighter" - John Giorno




"Everyone Gets Lighter" - John Giorno
(December 4, 1936 – October 11, 2019)

Life is lots of presents,
and every single day you get
a big bunch of gifts
under a sparkling pine tree
hung with countless balls of colored lights;
piles of presents wrapped in fancy paper,
the red box with the green ribbon,
and the green box with the red ribbon,
and the blue one with silver,
and the white one with gold.

It's not
what happens,
it's how you
handle it.

You are in a water bubble human body,
on a private jet
in seemingly a god world,
a glass of champagne,
and a certain luminosity
and emptiness,
skin of air,
a flat sea of white clouds below
and the vast dome of blue sky above,
and your mind is an iron nail in-between.

It's not
what happens,
it's how you
handle it.

Dead cat bounce,
catch
the falling knife,
after endless shadow boxing
in your sleep,
fighting in your dreams
and knocking yourself out,
you realize everything is empty,
and appears as miraculous display,
all are in nature
the play of emptiness and clarity.

Everyone
gets
lighter
everyone
gets lighter
everyone gets
lighter
everyone gets lighter,
everyone is light.

"My Father’s Meaningful Season" - Clifford Brooks

"My Father's Meaningful Season" - Clifford Brooks


A ruby ribbon
of fleeting light
passes over pecan trees.
Vacant of leaves
and shell-wrapped gifts,
dad and I can see the sky.

There was work,
with necessary silences.
We ticked-off our time
with the kind of cursing
that turns kids
into men.

It isn’t a secret
that those years
outdoors with my father
are only
family affairs
in Athens
that made an impression.

Pop implanted:
Good luck is a lie.
Success is not a soap opera.
Wisdom is freedom from worry.

Worked with strangers in wind,
and in snow with kin.
We all outgrew my ego,
need to be simpatico,
and in the end,
like daddy said:
Piss on it.

"My Father's Meaningful Season" appeared originally at Porridge. Clifford Brooks will be the featured poet at tonight's Word of Mouth open mic at the Globe. He was born in Athens, Georgia. His second full-length poetry volume, Athena Departs: Gospel of a Man Apart, as well as a limited-edition poetry chapbook, Exiles of Eden, were published in 2017. His first poetry collection, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics, was re-issued in August 2018. Evergreens, his second chapbook, will be released by Lucid House Publishing in 2019. His website is www.cliffbrooks.com

"No One Called My Father a Whore" - Arianna Page


When you hear the word “prostitute,” you always think of a sultry woman sucking men into seedy, smoke filled rooms with stiff, stained beds that have no softness, no give.

But no one called my father a whore because he dropped out of art school to work until the blue collar around his neck weighed down his back that is now bent bending soon to be broken–
All for a woman with curving hips, curling hair, and the fullest lips.

"Echoes" - Ellen Wynne




"Echoes" - Ellen Wynne


With
all
being
unified,
we curled still in sleep,
part of an unborn universe
wound into an unspeakably small dense white-hot coil,
the speck in which was writ the whole divine blueprint awaiting a soundless explosion.

We
were
expelled,
torn apart,
flung spiraling out
to wander through an untold void,
and in cold and black-dark nothing to unfurl ourselves,
frail amnesiac orphans stumbling one over the other in search of light and heat.

Still,
when
we pause
to look up,
our eyes shine in awe,
reflecting the burning bodies
that stare back at us across the gulf of space and time.

“I ain’t never been no superhero” – Larry Sheats



“I ain’t never been no superhero” – Larry Sheats


The pressure that dem Marvel Avengers feel must be something else
I mean to have the whole world looking at you and asking for help
See I don’t even have all that on my shoulders
Just a few boulders and they heavy enough
I used to think that I was tough
But life laughed and showed my ass
What being tough really means
It means paying the bills when you ain’t got no green
Sacrificing your dreams for the sake of the team
And at times it may seem that you being stuck with a knife
But I’m being totally honest with myself, that’s just life
Sometimes that’s just the way it goes, the way the wind blows
But you know, I ain’t never been no superhero
So when the stress gets the best of me
And I explode for all eyes to see
Understand that’s just how I feel, cause I ain’t no man of steel
And those bullets that be flying are real
So I stand still, cause I can’t move as fast as the Flash
And behind this mask, ain’t no billionaire play boy
Just a lonesome soldier who’s getting older and little bit colder
From watching the days of his life pass him by
Asking God for the strength to give it just one more try
And maybe today we won’t die from being broken
By harsh words that have been spoken from unkind lips
Ego trips have been known to sink ships
So not a sound do I make, even though I’m at the point I could break
Like a wooden stake to a vampire
My empire goes up in dust and I ask God is this a must
Cause in Him I do still trust, so my eyes I do close and let go
But remember that I told you
I ain’t never been no superhero

"A MAGAZINE WHERE EVERYONE IS FAMOUS" - Paul Cunningham


"A MAGAZINE WHERE EVERYONE IS FAMOUS" -  Paul Cunningham

a magazine and what it sells
a magazine is what it sells
a magazine holds 10 rounds or 15 if it is a standard magazine
a magazine holds 30 rounds if AR-15
if AR-15 a magazine speeds 800 rounds a minute
if AR-15 a magazine can hold 60 or 80 or 100 rounds
a magazine is breaking news—goes round and round—repeats the next day
a magazine a substitute for butcher’s paper
a magazine a photo a mother reliving the moment for the rest of her life
reliving the moment for the rest of her life
for the rest of her life
a magazine a skin rag an exit wound
a magazine a pornography not limited to unclothed bodies
unshielded bodies

a magazine is aiming for a new pornography it’s shooting for a language of violence it’s sticking to your guns if you’re trigger happy if you’re a real pistol you’ll stick to your guns if you’re ready to bite the bullet if you’re ready to jump the gun if you’re ready to shoot straight if you’re ready to go ballistic if you’re a real son of a gun

no son of mine’s gun shy no son of mine’s a shot in the dark no son of mine could do that in the middle of the dark no son of mine could do something like that in the darkness in the middle of the day no son of mine could go off like that no son of mine’s a son of mines no

a magazine a clip a clip from a magazine one clipped quote clipped from the headlines one quote reads the magazine rounds out just like this

“I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home,” says Ronald Reagan

a magazine another tragedy
and another and another and
a magazine another campus shooting’s front cover
a magazine where everyone waits for the explanation
a magazine where everyone waits for the motive
a magazine where everyone is buying what’s selling
a magazine details the caliber of a magazine
details the caliber of our president’s performance
details the caliber of the performance
a m-m-magazine is too many syllables
a m-m-magazine is too many
teenagers, sons, daughters, children
a magazine where everyone is famous

"In the South" - Clifford Brooks




"In the South" - Clifford Brooks


Cicadas
offer no history, only
a permanent revolution of seasons --
a melody,
a natural catastrophe.


Our loose thoughts combined after I told you
about the blond vagabond playing Vivaldi downtown
with only his toes touching the ground,
the soothing sounds those strings
spread were his roots among us
that challenged reality, in it
he was the only soul entangled.

His violin was spotless, though he was not --
he was a stalagmite, vapor, the remnants of awful parents,
vacant eyes, gaping mouth.

Unkempt, he was another time-wasted thing, disintegrating
from an inability to remain tangible, shadows crowding 'round,
same as you see on the road home through Yazoo, Waco, and Monroe,
impassable because your headlights always shined
behind … nevertheless - a surreal sight on Hancock, that man

like the dark wood of a dining table, primer still smelling
of orange blossoms wiped up in dusty plumes, letters propped up
against a vase beneath the bowing heads of crested irises,
nearby is grandfather's photo in black-and-white,
expensive parchment for better letters is unused.

Today, for me, a lady is a fading reflection as I look out
from a sturdy frame; the air is filled with cynicism.
For years I collected specters in a blue Bible,
and tonight i give them all to Vivaldi’s madman.
Those motels, the lying sleep, this time to mend:
They are forgotten secrets between us and lunacy.
They are no longer yours.
They are no longer mine.



Cicadas
play to help remember, keeping
time the way a metronome does:
Not to pass the hour,
but hone its rhythm.
They are blades that slice away
what I don’t want.




Clifford Brooks (www.cliffbrooks.com) was born in Athens, Georgia His second full-length poetry volume, Athena Departs: Gospel of a Man Apart, as well as a limited-edition poetry chapbook, Exiles of Eden, were published in 2017. His first poetry collection, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics, was re-issued in August 2018. Evergreens, his second chapbook, will be released by Lucid House Publishing in 2019. Clifford is the founder of The Southern Collective Experience (www.southerncollectiveexperience.com), a cooperative of writers, musicians and visual artists, which publishes the journal of culture The Blue Mountain Review and hosts the NPR show Dante’s Old South. He is on the faculty of The Company of Writers, and provides tutorials on poetry through the Noetic teaching application.