Saturday, June 27, 2009

He took a hike not on a trail

He* took a hike not on a trail
Condemning all his own law fail,
His Man & Woman one accord,
He meets his due from his Book's tale —
He never understood his Lord —
Of those who live by their own sword.

You can go
a long way waving
the Confederate battle
flag and the Holy Bible
in South Carolina,
even with a Latina lover
in Buenos Aires'
and New York City's
dens of inituities.
And the white-nationalist party
tea parties
will be held to remember you
in their prayers.

        * the Confederate governor of South Carolina

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wizardly wishes

The stray black-haired cat,
Stellar blue-eyes, sat
On the steps to my home,
His mouth purring, "Come."

My hand outstretched,
His whiskers fetched.
The wish, I advanced:
My heart be lanced

By a stunning apparition
Of sudden transmutation.
I shook as I stood
And then understood

What the cat-form became:
"Merlin's my name."

posted to Read Write Poem prompt #80:
what i could never tell my mother

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Corso – The Last Beat” — now playing in Taormina

The World Premiere of “Corso – The Last Beat” will be hosted by the Taormina Film Festival (Sicily) (June 13 – 20). As an official entry at Taormina, “Corso…” will compete in the “Beyond the Mediterranean” section, among 8 films chosen by Taormina’s Artistic Director Deborah Young. “It is just right Festival to launch ‘Corso…’ To have an Italian debut for the U. S.’s most significant Italian-American poet would thrill Gregory Corso. I’m delighted myself” commented director, Gustave Reininger. “80% of “Corso…” was shot in Italy, France and Greece, which are major contributors to Taormina.”

World Premiere at Taormina Film Festival (Siciliy)

Hopefully — this is a good sign the movie is on its way to a US Fall general release.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A hotel Bible-thumber

I'm thumbing through a Holy Bible by
A hotel suite crisp-white bed pillows laid
There, side by side with textured truth and lie,
A spread of golden sun and sham of jade.

Who was that god — that fiend — who killed the kids
Within the walls of Jericho? Who then
Spouts off a hateful book of laws, and rids
The land of all therein who do not bend?

But then — a contradicting text appears,
Which says "The old said that, but I say this."
Where now the one with wealth and power fears:
Make peace, not war, its lecturing insists.

I close the book that says that no one can
Be born again but still Republican.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Genesis 1

Thus our physics' once perfect symmetry
spontaneously, ubiquitously
shattered and fragmented relentlessly,
once balanced squarely, tumbled unfairly,
whence all — our stars', our selves' — reality.

Note: Without the haphazard — 'spontaneous' — breaking of the 'no-thing-ness' of symmetry there would only be a universe with no masses, no bodies, no anything:
Discovery Of 'Broken Symmetry' At Subatomic Level Earns 2008 Nobel Prize In Physics ScienceDaily Oct. 7, 2008

Saturday, June 13, 2009


(the transition to DTV+HDTV)

Pixelated petals pouting about
Once-smooth faces' new pores,

Sharpened — grass blades
Cutting into cleated feet pouring

Over every detail — hyperreal
Imaging dulling imagining.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Poetic nonfiction

Bookstores — physical places you walk into when you've left your computer screens of blogs and tweets — are still sources of serendipities. Yesterday, on the new arrivals table was:
Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone
By Eduardo Galeano
Basic Books, 2009
ISBN 1568584237, 9781568584232
400 pages
Google Books

Looking through it, my thought was: "This is cool. Someone can really write a book like that?!"

A collection of 400 "posts", it's a hybrid of poetry and prose, spanning 4000 years of human history.

I would like to write like this.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hanging out with Adam Lambert

  Rolling Stone*

The glamboyant sings
with to-die-for rings


the vulvic-fly vies
to unzip the prize ...


the phallic-snake takes
the primary stake


his seductive hiss:
"Not Adam and Kris?!"

posted to Read Write Poem prompt #78: kiss me, amelia earhart

* Adam Lambert photographed at Smashbox Studios, Culver City, California, May 23rd, 2009. Photograph by Matthew Rolston. Styling by Annie Jagger, grooming by Torsten Witte, both for the Margaret Maldonado Agency. Prop styling by Bradley Garlock for Judy Casey Inc. Shirt by Michel Berandi. Jeans by Junker. Scarf by G-Star. Necklaces by Loree Rodkin. Wrist cuff by Bing Bang.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Surprising Advantages of Being a Poet

You don’t have to mingle, you’re forgiven for inappropriate comments or seeming non sequiturs, and people aren’t surprised by irresponsible behavior.

When you’re a poet, you can act oddly, but a bigger payoff lies in the opposite dynamic. Since no one expects you to have social skills — if you can actually have a normal conversation — people think you’re terrific.

No matter how you act, few feel threatened by a poet. Even other writers, a group that can jealously compare contracts and royalties, don’t regard you as competition. When an author asked about my book and I explained it was poetry, she patted my arm and said, “Oh, Good for you! Good for you!”

Ironically, even I sometimes have this condescending attitude. Sitting in a Borders with my publisher, I mentioned that the store didn’t have my book. He responded, puzzled, “I just called, and they said it was in stock.” We investigated, and, as I once again scanned the “Local Authors” shelf, I heard him say from another aisle, “Here it is.” I tried to act casual at seeing my name between Millay and Milosz, but I was stunned. I had been checking the equivalent of the “Support Local Bands” bin. It never occurred to me that I would be in “Literature.” The rest of the day I walked around dazed.

The bar can’t get much lower. As a poet, I don’t even have to sell my work to exceed my expectations; just put it on the shelf among impressive company, and I’m happy.

by poet Joe Mills, from Umbrella Spring 2009 [full article]

That's right:
      ... A. Lord Tennyson ... Dylan Thomas ... Philip Thrift ...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mos Def, hip-hop poet

USA Today

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Mos Def can't suppress sheer delight over the exotic strains, heady beats and slurry flow of politically charged poetry on his new album, in stores Tuesday. That joy does not explain its title, The Ecstatic. Such logic would be too tidy for hip-hop's cerebral agitator. ...

Some, even in hip-hop, consider Mos Def, 35, a radical departure from the genre's thugs, moguls and blinged-out party peeps. He wants to excel without being famous ("It's a crazy psychological space, so I just don't go in"). He's a bookworm, a peacenik and a skateboarder, a habit acquired from comic Dave Chappelle. ...

"Mathematics" from Black on Both Sides (1999)

This is business, no faces just lines and statistics
from your phone, your zip code, to S-S-I digits
The system break man child and women into figures
Two columns for who is, and who ain't niggaz
Numbers is hardly real and they never have feelings
but you push too hard, even numbers got limits
Why did one straw break the camel's back? Here's the secret:
the million other straws underneath it - it's all mathematics


"Life in Marvelous Times" from The Ecstatic (2009)
Bright moments...

Bright moments always come back Vivid.

The 5th great was epic citywide test pressure
The pre-crack era!

Mr. Schollmen, what a prick, attitude matches wardrobe, uglier then sin.

This is bed stuy 82'..
9th floor 3 tiny rooms one view.
Buck-town, Roosevelt house
they green grass is green
our green grass is brown. ...


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday Morning Teenage Matinee

carolina theater 1966 at 10 a.m. the supremes a' go·go
twisting on stage my 13 y.o. hips pop·corn break·fast
before the movie rolls me back into my seat before i was
a teenage frankenstein

*     *     *     *

placed in Poets United Poetry Pantry #29

Friday, June 5, 2009

Night and day

We always say, "I start my day" as though
With motors cold. My brain had other things
In mind: It ran a movie cineplex.
Just shown: A cartoon short. An art-house show.
A Judy sings. I fly without my wings.
My relatives fall to a vampire's hex.
My friend of long ago becomes my foe.
I'm paralyzed in slings. A monster clings.
Relief! I'm in a reel of XTube sex.

What starts? What ends? It's all a flowing stream
Of frames to brains — not us — of wake and dream.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hard Poet, Soft Poet

Is Slam in Danger of Going Soft?
The New York Times, June 2, 2009

Yet Mr. Smith [the originator of the poetry slam] and his disciples still raise the hackles of what he refers to as “the academic poets,” on both sides of the cultural wars. Amiri Baraka, a Marxist who is known for his politically provocative poetry, has said, “I don’t have much use for them because they make the poetry a carnival” and “elevate it to commercial showiness, emphasizing the most backward elements.”

On the other side of the divide, Jonathan Galassi, now the honorary chairman of the Academy of American Poets, once described slam poetry as a “kind of karaoke of the written word,” while the critic Harold Bloom has called it “the death of art” and complained of “various young men and women in various late-night spots” who “are declaiming rant and nonsense at each other.” George Bowering, a former poet laureate of Canada, condemns slams as “abominations” that are “crude and extremely revolting.”

Does poetry — or, more accurately, the Poet — rise to any level of pop appeal worth seriously mentioning beyond, say, the literate readers of The New York Times or The Guardian?

In the 1950s and 60s the Beat Poet* broke out of the academies' Dead Poets Societies and got on TV and wrote some popular books. Some went to jail and got instant notoriety. They got a whole Generation to go along with them.

Today's Slam Poet (isn't most slam/jam poetry just rap music lyrics "sung" a cappella?) rides on the coattails of the Rap Artist, but I'm not sure the Slam Poet of 2009 rises, yet, to the level — in cultural pop terms — of the Beat Poet of 1959. There needs to be a political/cultural poetic voice that reaches pop status, and the Slam Poet may be the closest we have.

(In full disclosure, I label myself a Geek Poet: a sort of poetic voice from a Wired Magazine Web 2.0 Tech culture, if that makes any sense. Anyway, it's a brand, which I think one needs if one is going to get anywhere these days.)

What could be next? I was thinking, with the fame of Adam Lambert (though he "lost" to the cornhusker-set's Kris Allen), that there could be a revival of glam, and an opportune moment for the Glam Poet. Who will break the mold?

* Today would be Allen Ginsberg's 83rd birthday.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Within the clouds

What is Cloud Computing?

Google Wave presentation

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 (KJV)

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Revelation 3:5 (KJV)

Within the clouds   fleeting
Above the google waves:  
Poets, with new wings   beating,
Raptured from their natural worlds,  
Only their cyberselves   meeting
Face-to-face the book-of-life, —  
Lighting bolts  sheeting
Between opposite-charged clouds —
Share poetry, gulls   tweeting
Their praise.  

posted to Read Write Prompt prompt #77: opposites attract

(Watching the videos on Cloud Computing and now Google Waves, it too much like the language of end-times rapture in the apocryphal text of the New Testament to go unnoticed.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

poet Justin Marks — on copy & poetry

You work as a copywriter. How do the demands of writing copy differ from writing poetry? Also, are there similarities?

Marketing copy has to be concise and to the point, say as much as possible with as few words as possible, and it absolutely has to get and maintain the reader’s attention, even if it is only for a few moments and all you're ultimately saying is "Buy Now". Poetry is like that. (Though there are certainly worthwhile poetries out there that are not at all concerned with the whole maximum-impact-with-minimum-words model.) But I think the most significant similarity is that marketing copy is pretty conceptual. You have to think about all the ways what you're saying can be interpreted and if that fits in with what you want people to take away. For me, with poetry, it's not that I necessarily have a specific idea of what I want people to take away, but I definitely put a lot of time into thinking about how any random stranger out in the world could interpret my writing. In that sense, being a copywriter has made me a much more conscious and aware (I guess "better") poet than if I were in some other profession.

This feels even more true to me when I think about the connections between putting together a marketing campaign and writing a book, or even an extended project that spans across many individual books. You have to really be aware of how each part interacts with the other, whether it's individual ads in a campaign or poems in a book (whether that book be a more traditional collection of individual poems or something more extended/conceptual).

There's also the fact that corporate and marketing lingo is some of the weirdest, most mind-blowing shit I've ever heard. Total goldmine.

But the biggest difference between copywriting and poetry, for me, is that I often feel restricted when writing copy. I may come up with an idea or a line, but so many people above me will have their feedback that I have to find a way to incorporate, and there's also the whole staying on brand and within the voice aspect as well. And that's cool. But poetry, for me, is in large part about freedom. I really don't have anything to lose or gain career-wise with poetry so I feel generally free to do whatever I want. Of course that feeling winds up compromised by various factors and circumstances, as it must, but I'd like to think that that sense of freedom that I try to start from still remains somehow at the core of my poetry.

from Interview With Poet Justin Marks (Poetic Asides by Robert Lee Brewer)