Friday, September 23, 2016

Andrei Codrescu, Four Poems & Some Polemics

The Disappearance of Gabriel,
mixed-media collage by Daniel Y. Harris 

pre-call notice to a 108th street developer

During the night without notice or even much noise
the Congregation Gabriel Synagogue was gone from
across the street. The old-script gold letters on its frontispiece
gone, only their shadow still visible on the arch under my window.
Next day the brick arch was gone too and all the bricks next day.
A fence surrounded the steel-beam skeleton. A poster on the fence
announced the coming of something that looked suburban,
a cluster of apartments with a tiny park, followed by the company’s
name and number. I want the gold letters G, I, and A.
They stand for Gabriel who helped me move in, Ina who helped me
move back into my body in the new city, and A for my own name.
It was the old Gabriel Synagogue that persuaded me to live here,
it was a point of reference, I get easily lost, and a site for the hopeless
thought that one day I might go to an old schul and read the Torah.
I have a right to those letters, Mr. Developer. This poem is a warning.
Tomorrow I will call and it will be the prophet himself speaking.

august 4 2016 shark activity

I went to my Starbucks on Austin. Woe! A whole wall was gone
opening into a a brand-new Target store.
It happened overnight at the same time as Synagogue Gabriel
vanished. Some kind of tit-for-tat goes on in Queens.
This isn’t growth, it’s the sea of my haunt live suddenly with fins.

Mesmerism for M, rare flower

at its core intelligence
is what touch taught the body
through all the bodies touched
before it arrived here to learn
other bodies through its own
dense pod of touch-knowing
so dense that its force can use
words to make your own hands
be the other’s hands free
to touch your body to its core
but rare are flowers that consent
to such density of sound to bind
what knowingly surrenders
her own hands to another's mind

on frames & fragility & squares & ovals for Ina

I thought of frames because whatever their ubiquity
ineluctability and seeming inescapability
they don’t frame you or me    that is not their job
some things still escape them

the thought of being framed would have sent me fleeing
in horror over hills and into unmapped cities had I known
in advance of its goodwill toward all beloved creatures

and yet there you are
your eyes attentive and not quite in the frame
and something kind not sure there is a frame for
and also surprising laughter
maybe you snuck out of the frame at an unscheduled time

maybe an old fox like myself and a stubborn dreaming child
escaped their frames somehow and rolled away like eggs
shedding old shells while growing fragile new skins

is there an unframed elsewhere?

and then our rolling dance is interrupted
by a hospital and a deep cut

I forget all about frames and think
of the moment when you forget the pain
and open again your arms and legs in the oval
that has somehow replaced know-it-all frames
with a sieve pierced by rays of not-knowing
in circular motion around my there & your here


Letters for Enrique     

yes on the other hand
“letters can be blueprints for birds”
yes on the other hand
the handprint of plato is still on my face
he was not gentle his writing gave language
the trophy in every fight

the unspeakable can’t even come in the back door
he instructed his servants to take its medicines
with their eyes closed and place them under a bush
he could inspect later with his snake-stick

oh medicines under a bush like 50s spy microfilm!

and if butterflies are a blueprint for Sanskrit
that language too must imitate the sound of a bell
in a mind empty before its waking to forms

all letters then busy making birds and beings
in a hurry like bakers before the deadline for a wedding

hurry up bakers

only I know that there is a lot of flour in the heavens
so hurry is not necessary and neither is the wedding
there are more birds and butterflies than letters
and not all of them were named by fans of literature

an alphabet longer than Audubon is a certainty

without a script       on the other hand
even as the unborn and unnamed are slapping
the little Jesuits at their desks without a pause

rimbaud was on to something that was us after he
gave up language for a stewpot of snakes

—Andrei Codrescu

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Echoes of Desire, image by AC Evans


Boum! One little look, and… boum!
Charles Trenet – Ray Goetz

Yes, it’s me! The Albionic Man,
The human junkyard… now,
I have to scribble a few last words…

Allright darlin?
The last transit van from Venus arrived
At The Electric Laser Clinic, no problem.
Here we go again – no signal, and…boum!
Easy way trips in slow motion,
Echoes of desire and mod girls on scooters
Refresh your everyday revolution.
Storm the town hall, body and soul, baby.

We live in a world of shadows
But, encased in zodiac scaffolding,
She doesn’t care about life or anything.
Meanwhile, here at Thermo-Station Junction,
A full moon is obscured by cloud,
Banishing memories of extreme caution.
Her bare midriff is a diversion route in free-fall.
Café, gallery, theatre – stay connected, and… boum!

I wrote a new chapter, but did you notice?
A view of blue sky is an abrupt change in feel.
The studio is here – Allright sweetie?
Scary claims, pull handle, push door.
Spark outrage with this strange equipment.
Solutions without boundaries a speciality, and… boum!
Forget The Albionic Man, that backless loafer,
With his illegible scribbles.

We live in a world of shadows.
But she doesn’t care.
No, really… she doesn’t care,

She doesn’t care at all.
Not at all.

—AC Evans

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ed Coletti, The Awful Truth

Exceptionally Rare Bird, image by Ed Coletti

The Awful Truth

                                    in the key of “b”

It’s still hard for me to have a clear mind thinking on it.
But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.
                        —Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


Big Bill busted-up blown
beyond Battery Park
blinded blast-bound brief bit
bombed boy begun in Bronx
bomb-borne beyond Berkeley
badass-babinski banker-accepted
biochemical brassring bingo
bigleague bet-the-barn farm board
(before Bush bet the bigger bundle)
befell befalling biodegrading
bagpipe-bugle bell-book blaring
big bond brokers belly boarding
Brooklyn Bridge and Britain-Boston
bonds bonding bodies bonded
be-falling bog-men befouling bottomless
blasé bookish brownstone buildings
barbaric balkanizing baggage
bastardly bedouin brews bad beer
bam blam Batman’s burdened balls
besotted by Bin laden’s boorish bravado
bacillus breeding bad behavior
back-diving baptism-by-brashy-boarding
beguine begun by Bush big brother
biliously bought the bingo-card,
beginning Baghdad’s biracial bleeding      

Before such blasts
both buildings built
blowing bout-to-burst
bubbles beckoning boldening
barking bedouin braves’
barely-believed bonanza
bridging Benghazi with Baghdad’s
brief boredom bought and brought
brutish British black arts
beneath Brooklyn Bridge
bufoonist Bush brother burger
beer bourbon-blunted brigand
beast-bought boiled buried
bindage-bridled brigandly blackjacked
barbarian bed-wetter bout to be blessėd
Boston-bound Blakey boom blowing
boom boom band born
bye bye before beats beatnik
blacklisted by bully-boys
breezy bard be-ins being in
blacklisted by bully boy bard-ons
Baghad-By-Bay berated by
bankers bleating badass bandaid barf
ballumbus/broadway bookstore
bonanza Baltamont-blunted back to
Brooklyn back back back to
benzine’s burn baksheesh burp
bummer of blood-barking
beasts burdened brought bellowing
Barbarossa’s bankclerk bagmen
barbarian-bombarded battered
bingocarding bet-the-farmers
by-the-brass-book blelievers
'bout to be biblically befallen
balckguards’ blackarts
blackheaded bald blockheads
bemoaning blown becalmed boredom
burdened betimes by bloody
breakneck brutes befouling bite-sized
brides and birthday bliss
beam brandished by
burnished bronze
boat bell below
burning buildings
‘bout to bishop-blunder
beserkly Bowery-bound
by-the-by between
batches of barrage balloons
brief beliefs believers believe-in
bunches of beautiful boy babies
’bout to be beneficently born.

—Ed Coletti

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Charles Clifford Brooks III, Three Poems

The Unbalanced Man in Postlapsaria, 
image by Daniel Y. Harris 

Confessions before Second Service

My Impala is making funny noises.
It’s parked now
on the best side of Rome. 
A carnival goes on Broad at 4pm.
Artists gravitate toward Second Service
and try to pass off their
hacked theatrics
by acting the musician,
the poet, the dancer who
can’t find the right fans.

I admire their tenacity.
Yet, anticipate another,

Jennifer is almost eager
to accept she’s exceptional.
Reading Beowulf-woven poetry,
her boyfriend is the host
too boozy.
I don’t judge the crutch.
He is a loser.

This small city is a triangle
of rivers that rear up
an inspired wind.
It seeps up from smirks and suicides
a few tap into.
I sit and accept
this haunted hour.

The next sixty minutes
consist of sunlight,
open air, and unoppressed
by another bastard
who believes Bukowski is king.
I spot the plus-size seductress
I assume will vomit vampire poetry,
or how she hates penis.
(Mine hasn’t hijacked or hung anyone.)
Why is it kosher to curse my
thin corpse,
but gluttony is forgiven
because a “gland” can’t
cut out cake?
(I will be hated for this.)

I get more grief for having hair.
Called “gay” for being wifeless:
I didn’t breed, so it must be.
No, it is because
I don’t hate women.
I can’t sire another soul of my cancer.
The truth of it
is too sharp a truth to divulge.
I do not want to read, anymore.

I am not vain.
Vanity enjoys the envious.
I find it vile.

Clear the chaos for kindness!
I kneed these negative notations
into the sidewalk,
smile, and straighten my tie.

There are clowns
at every circus,
but we still attend
for the acrobats. 

The Transparent Mess of an Unbalanced Man

I do not know the temper or time
or tolerance – enough -
to swallow another shot of society.
My good sense lacks an inch of space
for stories written to argue
ignorance is the key to independence.

I am not an agent of havoc.
I am a harbinger
hardened against whistling arrows. 
It is not personal.

The transparent mess I’ve
mopped up around my room
lacks the zygote and responsibility
of a self-reliant sociopath.
In time, the brothel I abandon
will be rebuilt as an altar,
while my arc of ethics
will not.

Often the act of creation
has no cuts from caring too much,
no warm arms,
no laugh: It is an act.  It is ambivalent.
The repercussion is without reproach.
Laws let simpletons know there are consequences.
The cathedral of divine dissidence
will preach the need
to be still,
and stay unnoticed.

The Savior does not
slight us for celebrating
the pleasures
He openly provides. (Moderation)
My epigenetics catch that, chew that,
conclude that stenotypes are unfortunate
but often earned.
Act the opposite and be the exception.

I swing the proper tackle
to stand the oppressor.
The present, as the past,
is, and will be, absurd.

My skin is the color of a slave owner,
and my slim shape said to be sinister.
I have all the earmarks
allowed to be hated.
I am not the whip or one owned.
I do not accept that
ancient obligation.
I feel it is an ordeal worth arguing

I long-severed my empathy
for their self-induced conflict.
I am not in their
uncouth cult.
I am the cold shovel
cherished by an undertaker.
I am not injured
by the envy
of idiots.

Atlanta Windows, Our Earth,
and the Chariot that Got a Boot

Up at her home, still sweaty,
the evening is a bulge
of what 20-something
felt like.  I leave her
navigating an
orchid petal-strewn pathway. 
She took on the world,
my last book written,
barbecue eaten,
I am at the midpoint of my life,
and the right way
will find me.  Up! Up, spring!
She feeds chickens, conquers every white color,
then tells me
tasting a poet beats it all.

Tomorrow I’ll
feel the loss of frost
I foolishly felt obligated
around family.
The oldest kin
spins out
early, too early. She came in,
you, I struggled that god’s death.
I keep unexplainable hours.
This day is an epic: Lunch
and dinner
served with onion rings.
Two cats crawl
past a grandmother and young boy.
Closer to Little 5 I find neon
and shoes with fire sewn
into the toes.
You held me when I couldn’t
even feel my grandfather’s ghost.
This season plays a lead role,
with you wound in it,
making sure my compassion keeps on.

You, girl: You.
Nature has a knack
for the perfect words,
but I think these are close:
We are treading water.
We are laughing in comfortable waves.
I am the eye
of an actor, but I see
with you in the same mask.
I make it in letters,
this shorthand that you understand
well enough.

Atlanta always takes back the Adams
and Eves who made
an orchard of anything illegal there.
I did.
She, you, get a pass.
Paid many times:
Many times
since college.
Yellow bloom!  Soft pinks
and abrasive, flaring red!
Armatures invite danger.
The government jobs gave us
plausible, I was somewhere else.

The South is cool, even in the city,
as long as a handle
on trouble is quiet.
Pen the hour, the pulse,
and the groan of growing
in a man, loving a woman
well ahead of my curve.

What’s holy is how we see
His want for us to want it all.
Hunker down.
It’s stress relief.
An hour away
she’s arching her back for me.
You are the girl in flannel,
with my parents, a princess,
and, for me,
face down.

The sincerest April evenings
are when work
and love
and work (again)
feel like Christmas.
We aren’t victims
of the Void we can’t avoid.
You forgive me,
and I find the whole of
Ball Ground
a bastion of boyhood joy.

Integrity is tithed
in doing good deeds.
Fornication is a fascination
The night nods in agreement.
Zip your fly, and be on fleek.
Your life
sits astride no line.

There is a calamity
in the opening of flowers.
Unlike Van Gogh’s smeared
we are allowed contentment.
We own all the calm.

Our moral muscle’s inability to forgive
claims the happy, the lonely,
the best, best brands of sinners:
The brilliant, venomous, and loyal.
Atlanta, sweet sugar plum,
be autumn for me.
Come, full moon, the goddess sight,
and let me make the night
a childhood fear, today’s phobia,
an unclaimed kite.

—Charles Clifford Brooks III

Charles Clifford Brooks III is the author of The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics. It was nominated for the Pulitzer in Poetry, and Georgia Author of the Year. He has since founded The Southern Collective Experience to lift the professional sense of the senses.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

J. Karl Bogartte, The Golden Hour

A Derisive Luminosity (44” x 58”) 2014, image by J. Karl Bogartte

The Golden Hour

Darkness burns mazes into the avenues where your solitude nests, unveiling the youthful siblings of uneasy inventions, seductive ciphers and vague spyglasses whispering endearing phrases... the cello attracts rival veils and slips of the tongue.

Your presence is deceptive, a garden of delirious stains.

The invention of night, the ageless question of impossible balance, the pilot’s daughter eating crystals: To fill the world with light, the void with imaginary bodies glowing in the dark...

She has not been spoken of for many years, she is mything vitreous and tapping pawns for tallow, she is quickening her fluidity, to divert and disguise. Light poured into lacerations the way shadows enter clothing, for only a moment, or two, only a hidden space. A translation, for throwing phantoms into invisible walls.  She is myth-ratcheting amorous, chiding brutal structures for mountainous beckoning, to corrupt with pleasure.

The ancient horned flower of your psyche attracts the devoted milking machines, the aboriginal veins of a fabric that propels your footsteps as determined as her threads slipping into light, vanishing in the blink of an eye.

Dark and greedy, the always secret and ever vanishing body of torrential mirroring.

The glow between living and ceasing to live, emulates the long-legged cascade in her whispering circuitry, the gaze of rain is corrupted film, caught in the act, disguised by pleasure purring in gradually brightening passwords. The catapult of an unfinished sentence, turned to provoke, to stroke and latent in state, the light separates your body from its own darkness.

The perfect alignment through the axis of its twin, quartered and shelled in the gasping for breath and emerald, adored and pandered for pleasure and sight unseen, she licks herself in meadows of ermine and chimera, aching, angelica posing in the likeness of her bees sipping, through every sense of pulling ravens out of her body for kindling.

The perverse pleasures of the captured bride dove-tailed in the mathematical equation of the city held up for example by the stars.

The scorpion-headed mannequin, your shadow striking inward for contact with the natural world. The empty animated gloves shaking out contentment in the garden, eyelids of entropy emitting seeds and slow rituals…

Dark gravitational assignations seduced into amulets the color of glass, evolving in sequential chiaroscuro, tempting blood where (in the Manor of Sighs) the barbarian sign language seizes the images of your being in the rich, antiquarian lucidity of your extinction. Your face, or the features of night in the fever of graceful spirits that still come to drink the liquid of life out of your hands, the pendulum... An evening of theater runs ahead...

Trapping belladonna between the lines, between her legs, between phases, to embrace the blindness of your murmuring, pushing out between her lips, the lost hermeticism of albino checkmates.

The weapon you most cherished was feminine. The wedge forced into the appearance of things was ambiguous with its dark insistence and wind‐up astronomy, clicking and whirring about in circles and broken up by triangles into long, interminable caresses that went on forever, imitating a newly discovered galaxy quivering in the nearness of wolves.

There is only the daughter of Icarus, without mirrors, the shadow of uncertainty that surrounds the ribcage of a philosophical paradox, only the stone of a primitive light, only the glance that hatches in the fire, the optical mainspring of a science that runs amok, only the ciphers leading the fossils of daybreak, and the glowing of those beings you feed each morning, the pools of blood dripping out of your dreams. Flight is only the body torn by light, powered by obscene gestures. A choreography of wish fulfillment.

There is always the diamond-cutter’s unremitting caress, always those great moths entering your eyes in a frenzy of unconditional attraction, clearing a space for the ermine of humor, and the misplaced objects of great value.

Among the various diversions and unforeseen discoveries, when the shallow end of a gesture foreshadows a long and hazardous recovery, and sudden landings in desolate places, it is your eyes most of all that appear as an interlocking resolution, or the honor among thieves.

The dark elopes, hydroplaning, self-eloping, shaping the ghost hunters. She lives outside of the hour light-embalmed within her shell and taken by the hand in secret. They double-side in a miserable silence. The cave that writes a reflection across your eyes. Deserted... In her divide is the rattle and the awkward torch of precise gesticulation. An unnatural dance among innocent victims. Cherished presence smeared on your face.

—J. Karl Bogartte