"No Problem Party Poem" - Diane Di Prima

 

"No Problem Party Poem" - Diane Di Prima

first glass broken on patio no problem
forgotten sour cream for vegetable no problem
Lewis MacAdam's tough lower jaw no problem
cops arriving to watch bellydancer no problem
plastic bags of melted ice no problem
wine on antique tablecloth no problem
scratchy stereo no problem
neighbor's dog no problem
interviewer from Berkeley Barb no problem
absence of more beer no problem
too little dope no problem
leering Naropans no problem
cigarette butts on the altars no problem
Marilyn vomiting in planter box no problem
Phoebe renouncing love no problem
Lewis renouncing Phoebe no problem
hungry ghosts no problem
absence of children no problem
heat no problem
dark no problem
arnica scattered in nylon rug no problem
ashes in bowl of bleached bone and Juniper berries no problem
lost Satie tape no problem
loss of temper no problem
arrogance no problem
boxes of empty beer cans & wine bottles no problem
thousands of styrofoam cups no problem
Gregory Corso no problem
Allen Ginsberg no problem
Diane di Prima no problem
Anne Waldman's veins no problem
Dick Gallup's birthday no problem
Joanne Kyger's peyote & rum no problem wine no problem
coca-cola no problem
getting it on in the wet grass no problem
running out of toilet paper no problem
decimation of pennyroyal no problem
destruction of hair clasp no problem
paranoia no problem
claustrophobia no problem
growing up on Brooklyn streets no problem
growing up in Tibet no problem
growing up in Chicano Texas no problem
bellydancing certainly no problem
figuring it all out no problem
giving it all up no problem
giving it all away no problem
devouring everything in sight no problem.

what else in Allen's refrigerator?
what else in Anne's cupboard?
what do you know that you
haven't told me yet?
No problem. No problem. No problem.

staying another day no problem
getting out of town no problem
telling the truth, almost no problem
easy to stay awake
easy to go to sleep
easy to sing the blues
easy to chant sutras

what's all the fuss about?
it decomposes - no problem
we pack it un boxes - no problem
we swallow it with water, lock it in the trunk,
make a quick getaway. NO PROBLEM.



 

"General William Booth and Senator Bernie Sanders Enter Heaven" - Eugene C. Bianchi

 
 
"General William Booth*
and Senator Bernie Sanders
Enter Heaven" - Eugene C. Bianchi



Prologue: “You can’t make it work,”
says my muse Max,
“Socialism is not poetic,
and I’ve got better things to do.”
He’s a wonderful but stiff-necked cat,
yet we ancients can be stubborn.
Maybe if I start on the softer side…
 
Reminded of altar-boy days,
bell-ringing draws me
to the sacred red kettle
outside the local Kroger’s
as I fish for coins to make a holy noise—
bills are better, but not dramatic.
 
As a long-time lefty,
I still feel a certain frisson
run up my spine enhanced
by the bearded smile and thanks
of General William Booth
promising to lead me into heaven,
“Have you been washed, Brother,
in the blood of the Lamb?”
 
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom,
 
from somewhere gentle drums intone,
while deaf customers glimpse
with admiration or disdain
for the showoff giver
and the white-bearded Booth.
 
Yet who can degrade the great
humanitarian who led
“vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath
 unwashed legions with the ways of Death”
to a better life even here?
 
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.
 
From Trinity Church and Washington’s statue,
marchers converge on Wall Street
with a thousand banjos and a thousand drums,
 
Twanglay, twanglay, twanglay twang,
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.
 
Inside they curse the distraction
from moneymaking,
yet they rush to windows
and sidewalks to watch
the strange parade.
 
The Senator’s voice reverberates
in the canyons of greed—
charity is good but justice better,
you cannot hoard the wealth of all.
 
Brothers and sisters, be washed
in the spirit of the great ones
who loved the light
of shared democracy
where avarice does not deprive
children of food, home and learning.
 
Twanglay, twanglay, twanglay, twang.
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.
 
Onward to the edge of Battery Park,
they face Lady Liberty
who lifts her torch in blessing.                                                                                               
 
Twanglay, twanglay, twanglay, twang.
Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, boom.
 
 
 
*General William Booth was founding first president
of the Salvation Army in 1865. I have drawn from
two poems by Vachel Lindsay, “General William
Booth Enters Heaven,” and “Congo.”

"A Christmas Story" - Red Stripe

 

"A Christmas Story" - Red Stripe

Let me tell you a Christmas story
in the season when days are snowy:
Here we are__where ways are worry
Free__and good cause God's own glory
Shines upon the little lambs
Like little stars and simple lamps,
Candles brightly upon the nightly
On the eve__before the highly
Anticipated day of glory
Where children gather and families hurry
To be together, for life is purely
Beautiful__when all__is holy.
"Hark, the herald angels sing__!"
For life is good__and God is King__.
When the view__is filled with wonder,
Stress less and enjoy__the fun here
Cause when it snows__it may be cold__
And though our woes__make us old__,
We can stop to treasure the moment
Of this worldly peace  we only hope in
Our fairytales__and storied dreams__
To be yearlong but here it seems__
We can relax. Our time has slowed__
When we unpack and our day has snowed__.
Yes, it is__a breath of air__
Fresh and crisp, cold and clear__.
See your nose__warm with red__
And cheeks with rose as gathered next__.
The ones you love__; the ones you treasure__
Warm your heart__in this frigid weather.
"Bless us all__and to all__a better
Christmas when we're together__."
 

"Quelle Horreur!" - aralee strange



"Quelle Horreur!" by Athens Word of Mouth founder aralee strange originally appeared online @ Semanticon.com in October 2003.

"At the Fishhouses" - Elizabeth Bishop

 

"At the Fishhouses" - Elizabeth Bishop     
 
 
Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
a dark purple-brown,
and his shuttle worn and polished.
The air smells so strong of codfish
it makes one’s nose run and one’s eyes water.
The five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs
and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up
to storerooms in the gables
for the wheelbarrows to be pushed up and down on.
All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea,
swelling slowly as if considering spilling over,
is opaque, but the silver of the benches,
the lobster pots, and masts, scattered
among the wild jagged rocks,
is of an apparent translucence
like the small old buildings with an emerald moss
growing on their shoreward walls.
The big fish tubs are completely lined
with layers of beautiful herring scales
and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered
with creamy iridescent coats of mail,
with small iridescent flies crawling on them.
Up on the little slope behind the houses,
set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass,
is an ancient wooden capstan,
cracked, with two long bleached handles
and some melancholy stains, like dried blood,
where the ironwork has rusted.
The old man accepts a Lucky Strike.
He was a friend of my grandfather.
We talk of the decline in the population
and of codfish and herring
while he waits for a herring boat to come in.
There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb.
He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty,
from unnumbered fish with that black old knife,
the blade of which is almost worn away.

Down at the water’s edge, at the place
where they haul up the boats, up the long ramp
descending into the water, thin silver
tree trunks are laid horizontally
across the gray stones, down and down
at intervals of four or five feet.

Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
element bearable to no mortal,
to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly
I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me. He was interested in music;
like me a believer in total immersion,
so I used to sing him Baptist hymns.
I also sang “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
He stood up in the water and regarded me
steadily, moving his head a little.
Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge
almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug
as if it were against his better judgment.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
the clear gray icy water . . . Back, behind us,
the dignified tall firs begin.
Bluish, associating with their shadows,
a million Christmas trees stand
waiting for Christmas. The water seems suspended
above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.   
 
“At the Fishhouses” from The Complete Poems, 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop.

"Short order poem" - Sam Lane


 

"Short order poem" - Sam Lane

“I’ll be with someone else tonight, amuse me.”
She said, “write me a poem”. There was no twist
Of my arm for me to hear the jubilee in
and around Her voice, before she hung up.

Amuse me, dear muse. Take me with you
on this cold starlit night, back 10 minutes
Before sunset, before the sun was put on dial.
Take me back to when it was still a miracle.

She said write me a poem
and I won’t
But if I had it would begin:

The night is no longer sparkling wine
The resilient burn of an iron clad stomach
Is gone with a hiccup like the hope
That the stars won’t turn sideways
Or that the heroic night will keep the urge
Of morning at bay. There is no hair of the dog
For the rising sun.
 

"Toyota Tacoma" - Alx Johns

 

"Toyota Tacoma" - Alx Johns

I drive one, like so many do
And lately mine`s
Looking more and more
Like the real thing,
 
Gravel-scratched paint on
That too-familiar frame
Spitting dust through
Some pathetic village
Past retreating figures
 
Somalia,
Sierra Leone
Afghanistan
 
Illiterate, skinny boys
In back, behind
That .50 cal.
Shell casings crowding
Around calloused bare feet.
 
Hell, desperate
Libyans even welded
 
Anti-aircraft guns and
Multiple-rocket launchers
 
Into the bed of a jacked-up Prerunner,
mine`s got some straw, stray sticks and shells
 
From pistachios tossed out
The window, caught then dropping in that
Swirl of wind.
 
Rwanda, Uganda
Arkansas
 
Remember that tired footage
Of him, Bin Laden, the devil incarnate
Kneeling before one, firing his Russian rifle
To the muezzin`s sacred approval?
 
Toyota,
This is how to market yourself to the twenty-first century,
Vehicle of the human will,
The choice of warlords worldwide
The Kalashnikov of pick-up trucks.


"Toyota Tacoma" was originally published in Alx's 2014 chapbook, Robot Cosmetics. Photo above: The consistent recurrence of Toyota trucks in promotional materials released by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, aka ISIS, has captured the attention of federal investigators.

"Another pole, cat" - A poet bee




 
"Another pole, Cat" - A poet bee

From East to West,
there's another pole,
unmapped by cartography.
Wild mystery
and history,
endlessly changing
and struggling,
across time's
long topography --
Life's
incredible
diversity.

Hey, Cat, free yourself.
Exit your inside bubble.
Give the outside troll
her helpful toll;
leave behind
your pocket's
digital unimagination.
Explore and discover,
look and listen,
poke and smell.
Think what and why.
Learn when, where,
and how.
Now, who will you tell?
Will you get in trouble
if you find
and share
new secrets?
No.
But your mind
will fly
so exceedingly,
excitingly well
.   


A poet bee will be reading this afternoon, Saturday December 12, at the Athens Art Crawl. The Art Crawl is a multi-media holiday event featuring art, spoken word, and artisans at the Chase Street Warehouses, 160 Tracy Street, from 1 pm to 5 pm.

"Lost in Boston" - Nick Barrows

 
 
 
"Lost in Boston" - Nick Barrows

 
Lost in Boston in sideways rain
so hard so much sideways rain
so much sideways cold
miles away from found
safe trip safe trip no
bad trip bad trip
just lost sight cuz so much sideways rain
Lost in Boston
so much sideways
rain sideways rain
this rain is so sideways cold
lost in Boston
beginning a new beginning again
so much lost in Boston
down here lost on this fishermans wharf
so rainy near great restaurants to eat by the seaside
at warehouses now new warehouses
new places to eat
lost hear in lost sideways rain
so cold so far from you
all these restaurants on this pretty old fisherman wharf
Miles away from problems
miles away from found
soon coming home to a clean house
soon coming home to an elegant dinner
soon coming home to a precious party
now just gone in Boston
Extravagant Boston on the wharf
these new warehouses
these new restaurants
restaurants in warehouses lost in Boston
here no problems
no big family problems
no life changing problems
no problems
just sideways rain
sideways cold
struggling with the sideways
we rejoice with new hip warehouses
here lost in Boston
all these new restaurants
all these new hip places
lost in this Boston
staggering in these fishermen’s streets
staggering between these warehouses
No problems in Boston
just cool cool Boston
drinking in Boston
this cool cool Boston
drinking with X punk rock girls in Boston
drinking with new work patriot’s in Boston
this cool Boston
drinking in this cold Boston
no problems here in Boston
engaging in Boston
learning in Boston
just getting shit done in Boston
drinking in cold cold Boston 
Wishing I was home
 
 
[photo of Nick Barrows originally appeared online at Smile and Dance: a Year of Musical Images 2014]

"Pale Blue Dot" - Zach Mitcham


 
 
 
"Pale Blue Dot" - Zach Mitcham

 
“…the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.” — Carl Sagan

 

The world is speeding away from you,
like Apaches with your hair.
But their hair is beautiful forever,
and you've asked them to take yours
to see what they can do.
When you wake, the golden edges
of the blinds say, "come meet me."
You walk the long road in the sunny weather
of motorcycles and antique cars.
Your eyes fall on the beagle like rescue beams,
and he greets you with the crazed joy
of a lonesome boy found on a dingy
in deep water. You see your own heart
reflected back, an elaborate animal pantomime
where you're the subject. His eyes say,
“Don't you see, I'm doing you?”
This brings you to your knees to stroke his head.
And when the rain turns the yard to oatmeal,
the porch pumpkins lose their faces.
You scoop one up, and don't breathe for flies,
to carry it to the cows, but it falls apart
in your arms, your gift turned to orange earth goo all over you.
When the world speeds away on its horse,
you feel the gap as a tightening string in your hand
like a fish in the blue moving at high speed to break your line.
You have no reel, just a heart like a bow.

 

"November" - Nick Barrows


"November" - Nick Barrows
 

When it is this gray
When it is just almost rain
When it is just this gloom
When it is this overcast
When it is just this November
I want to be a jazz musician
A drunk jazz musician
A three in the morning gig jazz musician
Playing for booze jazz musician
A plastered
Too many cigarettes
Maybe have a junk problem
Jazz musician
Living in a crappy motel
in the middle of a crappy part
of a crappy cruel ghetto city
Jazz musician
Living on beans & franks, coffee, cigarettes, booze, and maybe junk
Jazz musician
Maybe had a hit or two when you were younger
When you had a belly full of fire
Jazz Musician
Not a belly full of Bean & Franks, coffee, cigarettes, booze and maybe junk
Jazz musician
Go kicked out of the Blue Wisp for passing out on stage
Jazz musician
Got kicked out of the Blue Note recording sessions for stepping all over the lead
Jazz musician
Got kicked out of the corner shop for being belligerent
Had to get your axe out of hock a few times
Showing up to the gig late
Jazz musician
“Have you heard this guy”
“So much soul”
“Now this is jazz”
Jazz musician
“He recorded this high”
“At three in the morning”
“Man, he can really cook”
Jazz musician
“What ever happen to him”
“I don’t know”
“I think he died a few years ago”
Jazz Musician
“That’s a damn shame”
“They don’t make them like that anymore”
“You got that right”
Jazz musician
Oh those gray
Gloomy
Overcast
Almost rain
just November days
Creeping into us in the most subtle style
Where is my sax anyway?
 
Word of Mouth Cincinnati poets Nick Barrows and Mark Flanigan return as featured readers at December's Word of Mouth, tonight at 8 pm upstairs at The Globe, Athens.  They'll be joined by fellow Cincinnatians Tim McMichael as well as Betsy Young of Aurore Press.
Versus [available from Aurore Press, 2012] is a joint collection including Barrows' The Rabbit Punch Defense and Flanigan's Journeyman's Lament.