Archive for November, 2010

Two Poems by Kyle Hemmings

Posted in Kyle Hemmings with tags on November 14, 2010 by Scot

When the Circus Came to Town

My absentminded father would sometimes
forget me at the circus. Scared, I became distracted
by the elephants, who never lost their way.
One time a camel broke from the line
& ate from someone’s bucket of popcorn.
That camel stole the show
& in my laughter I forgot
that my father and I were still separated.

& if love is like a circus,
that clever camel has become the silence
at the other end of my wife’s cell phone,
stealing the only item on my bucket list
& I won’t parachute into a desert
all alone.

from The Pocket Guide to Existentialism for Travelers

It’s not true that everything settles at death.
mummies under mud, how we disappear like rain.

You left me with four frozen food dinners
of shrimp & scallop linguini, three bottles

of apple cider brine. I must learn to make
pancakes from scratch. Vegetables are a cinch.

Your mother’s lime futon, with its jute webbing
&  flax twine, is sturdy enough for garage sales.

& there’s a boy here whom you left behind. The one
with cool blue eyes, marble-still, the carnivorous love

of a spider conch. He sits in your  favorite spot on the sofa.
No longer remembering me, he forgets where you are

Haiku by Scott Owens

Posted in Scott Owens with tags on November 7, 2010 by Scot

yellow porch light
illuminating darkness
swirl of candle bats


wildflowers in bloom
the tractor stops a moment
then plows them under


dressed in flannel
autumn maples before
they turn to grunge

council of crows
dead on the road
poor choice of venue

whippoorwill, cricket,
howling dog, screech owl,
quiet country night

strops the much-stropped edge
racing blowflies

mountain shadow
fiddle music
sings through the trees

A Day in the Life (November, 1963) by Ben Rasnic

Posted in Ben Rasnic with tags on November 7, 2010 by Scot

A typical Friday for the fourth-grade,
just turned nine, just returning
from a recess of marbles and tag

when one of my classmate’s mother,
hooked on valium and “As the World Turns”
delivered the news to our classroom
that Walter Cronkite had just delivered
to the world—
“President Kennedy is dead”

And for a moment the world
seemed to freeze on its axis
and on the faces of my classmates,
white and puffy as cauliflower
with shocked red weeping eyes.

That’s when the Principal bolted in
helter skelter and ordered the familiar
fallout drill–cowering beneath
rickety wooden desks
as if that would shield us,

as if Russian-made nuclear-tipped
ballistic missiles were no more lethal
than water balloons or the paper wads
from rubber band sling shots
we loved to launch against each other,

the insanity of which
mirrored by the actions of a lone
gunman crouched from the 3rd floor window
of the Texas School Book Depository

or the shadowy figures lurking
under cover of gun smoke clouds
permanently grazing
the grassy knoll.

Charles Plymell on Charles Plymell (part 6)

Posted in charles plymell on November 7, 2010 by Scot

We were driving through my home state of Kansas when I suggested we visit long- time friends, William S. Burroughs and James Grauerholz.  After dinner, Mr. Burroughs signed a copy of his book for my son and asked him about Missoula and talked about how his father used to take him fishing up there. I told him I had gotten the dorm bug when against my better judgment we had stayed at the dorm that was emptying, and I had come down ill. After he signed the book, he said, “and I have something for you” and went to his medicine

Burroughs, Plymell, Grauerholz
Continue reading

In a Silver Suit and with Worn Hat by Ray Succre

Posted in Ray Succre with tags on November 7, 2010 by Scot

He passes terminations, through loves,
through a lockbox degree of life,
heart rollicked shut as a music box to keep its fortune alone,
how all that young quickening was hell in him, now on him,
like house-arrest collar— eyes, nape, and tawny hands
warped thinly under breath’s friction,
in a silver suit and with worn hat,
leaving in the day the tracks of his game-print,
his feet and their rumba down block and block,
avenue to street, the month by year—

these are easily snowed tracks,
stamping but slight on the times,
but stamping, terminations and loves,
to tread still more on the ancient world,
the modern route,
the gamble of a movement on the isolated hill.

Bonfire in the Canefields by M.P. Powers

Posted in M.P. Powers with tags on November 2, 2010 by Scot

When I woke up that morning, there was blood.
In the toilet, on the walls.
I felt like I’d been beaten with a catfish
pole. I staggered
to the washbasin, looked in the cracked

I forget what year it was,
but these were the days when The Raven
and the Dove was operating under a phony business
and Alan Britt, living in a bungalow off Lucerne,
would drink Colt Ice out of a
tennis ball can. A couple blocks north, Michael Grover
operated out of a bomb shelter, where he’d harvest silk
worms and dry his
clothes by draping them over the bushes
in the lawn.

And of course
everyone knows about my lifelong affinity to
corn souffle, long legs, and Art
Schopenhauer, a fellow pessimist who threw a woman
down a flight of stairs for running
her cakehole in the hall. “Sleight-of-hand,” some wit said.
And it always
seems to come down to that. Swapping hyperbole
for fact, or a direct
look in the eye from a hound (human
or otherwise).
And whose to say
what’s truth or trash? A tale of a tub or a sunset
like a roasted horse.

Time was when Misti
Rainwater-Lites strangled a price-gouging garage
with her pantyhose in Lickskillet, Alabama.
And William Taylor Jr., bleeding
a live chicken in the parking lot of Ross
Dress for Less.
“Sometimes I think it’s just easier
to make sense than poetry,” said Thunderclap
Endelfarb, a Jewish redneck
residing in the lower portions of
your Upper Imagination.

And then came Thalestris, Queen
of the Amazons, who didn’t think Alexander’s appearance
quite matched his reputation.
Yet the two of them spending the next 13 days
in bed together.

And I felt a little blood
thumping behind my ear, noted the ghost
in the mirror.
“Art is what you can get
away with.” (Warhol, 1967). Whereupon,
it had come to my attention
some 33 Cubans landed
in the cooling canals of the Turkey Point nuclear power plant
a little after dawn, Thanksgiving
Day (2009).
And quite conveniently, no one ever mentioned Howie
Good’s penchant for opening umbrellas in the back
seat of his Grand

Or when the red
moon drifted over the ash trees. 3 Englishmen
with bad haircuts sashaying through a Rotterdam pastry
shop, the fat one
making threats with the wax
pistol shoved in his pants
until Pris Campbell clubbed him over the head with a Rube
Goldberg-style cheesegrater.

“You know me, blow me,” said Paul Corman-Roberts.
We had been working
on an historical novel entitled Getting Your Rocks
Off: The Importance of
Prophylactics while Dry
Humping, when reports came over the radio that a madman
in hospital gown
was on the loose in the neighborhood.

I opened the medicine cabinet,
took the floss, strung it from one end of the room
to the other. Then I threw
a towel on the floor of the shower, doused it
with scalding hot water and wrapped
it around my head. I came out of there smelling
like lilacs, and the next thing I know
I’m with RD
Armstrong and three stewbums, dragging a shopping cart
through Liberty City.

We had decorated it with blue
traffic reflectors and tied a Christmas tree to the side,
and a ragdoll on the front. And Raindog standing up
in it, dressed like
Don Quixote, waving the short sword
he’d pulled from his sash, threatening
yield signs
as if they were giants.

It wasn’t long after that
we made a hoist down at Bank of Miami, (Mike Meraz
himself as Grover Cleveland),
and ended up in a canefield on the edge of the glades.
The sun
had just gone down, and we spread all the money
on the ground.

Then we lit it up in flames, and as we watched
it burn “all
Halloween orange and chimney red,” one of the stewbums
said to me,
he said, “That’s right, kid.
It ain’t ’bout duh money. Nevuh wuz… Dat’s duh whole
secret ta da ting. Ain’t life

Catching Up With Bill Roberts

Posted in INTERVIEWS with tags on November 2, 2010 by Scot

Rusty Truck: Tell me what inspired your passion with the letterpress and publishing?  When did BOSP  begin and what who was the first writer you published?

Bill Roberts:  I started the Bottle of Smoke Press in 2002.  I had seen some of the amazing letterpress work from Johnny Brewton and Jim Camp, among others.  I love the idea of printing the way that it has been done for 500 years.  Every letter counts.  It is very labor intensive, but well worth it.  The first writer that I published was A.D. Winans.  I contacted him through my friend Gary Aposhian and he agreed to let me publish some of his poetry.  The book whispers from hell became our first release.  Since then, we have published two more chapbooks and several broadsides and other single poem projects.

Rusty Truck: You have published some great poets–who or what stands out in your mind?

Bill: I have published not only some great, well known poets like Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, A.D. Winans, Gerald Locklin & Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but have also published some amazing under-known poets.  Great poetry needs to be supported. There is something really special about reading great poetry from a poet who is not widely known and being able to publish them in a broadside or book.

Rusty Truck: How many different books or chaps are you able to publish in an average year.

Bill: It depends on my work schedule.  Like most in the small press, I have a day job that (almost) pays the bills.  I publish at least 6 books, plus a lot of smaller broadsides, or other single poem projects.  Many of these items are given to friends of the press or sent with other orders.  I love the idea of printing poetry and giving it away.  Of course, I sell the full length books and try to sell them at a price that is fair yet lets me afford to do the next project.

Rusty Truck: How do you know when it’s right?

Bill: It is never 100% right.  I always look at my older releases and wish that I had used a different font or wished that I had printed a border in a different color, etc.  I always push myself to try to do better, but know that I am still growing.  My releases are getting more involved and I am always proudest of the latest release, so I feel that I am moving in the right direction.  If I found myself completely happy with everything that I printed, I would probably lose interest.  It is all about the journey, not the destination.

Rusty Truck: In the day when anyone can be a publisher or for that matter a writer, why do you do what you do?

Bill: I publish and print great poetry, yet cannot write even average poetry or prose.  It is my way of contributing to an art that I love.  Anyone can use MS Word and can publish in their basement.  I am glad to see more people doing it.  Beginning with the mimeo and up to the current technology, great results can be obtained through desktop publishing in your basement.  I wish that more people would join in on the fun and start their own press.  I publish because I love the writing and feel that it needs to be printed and published.  The major publishers publish very little poetry.  It falls to the small press publishers to keep great writers from writing into a void.  I print many of my broadsides and some books letterpress on an antique Chandler & Price press from 1914.  This press weighs 1200 lbs.  The press is not what takes up most of the space.  My print shop (converted attached garage) contains over 100 cases of lead type, paper cutters, ink, etc.  Becoming a letterpress printer requires a commitment of time, money and space.

Rusty Truck: Your latest project, Drowning Like Li Po in a River of Red Wine by A.D. Winans, what prompted or led you to undertake a book this size?

Bill: This is the most involved book that I have published to date.  I first published A.D. Winans 8 years ago. He was the first poet that I published.  I felt that A.D.’s work needed to be published in a best-of collection, but that it needed to be much more substantial than a chapbook.  The original plan was for a 200 page book.  The book grew to nearly 400 pages and we could have at least doubled the size of the book with great poetry.  Many of these great poems have not been published in decades and are only available in long out of print, now rare, short-run chapbooks. This book is being published in two editions:  100 perfect bound paperback copies in letterpress printed dust jacket and 50 signed hard cover copies, ¼ bound in cloth with letterpress printed covers.  The prices are $20 for the paper and $40 for the hard cover.  The hard cover sold out well in advance of the publication.  When the first printing sells out, it is my plan to reprint the paperback for a second printing and would like to keep this in print for as long as Bottle of Smoke Press is operating.

Drowning With Li Po in a River of Red Wine by A.D. Winans

Posted in A.D. Winans, Reviews with tags , on November 2, 2010 by Scot

Well A.D Winans can say what he wants about wearing the label of a poet.  It is what it is and with his new book Drowning With Li Po in a River of Red Wine from Bottle of Smoke Press, I say he is a poet—all 396 pages, all 40 years of poetry worth spanning 55 plus books and chaps.    This is a chronological collection containing poems from every book including an excerpt from Black Lily that the Rusty Truck published.

This collection begins with Carmel Clowns 1970, which I own, and includes the poem Remember Still with this opening stanza:

I remember still how wonderful it was
Running to join each other’s dreams
Sharing our separate worlds of hope
In rooms of music where angels lay

In the 80’s he writes of Crazy John and the Reagan Pslams and in 1997 he issues a poem A Call to Poets when he ends the poem:

take a bookstore owner
to dinner
talk child talk
translate gibberish
put ego aside
put power aside
quit visiting Kerouac’s
and Bukowski’s graves
return to the world
of the living
put the poet back into
make me want to believe
in you again

In the book From Pussy to Politics (1999) he remembers his friends Jack and Bob in the poem I kiss the Feet of Angels:

Kaufman black messiah
walking bourbon street
eating a golden sardine
Micheline drinking with Kerouac
at the old cedar tavern
Jesus wiping the perspiration
from his forehead
the foghorn plays a symphony
inside my head
I hear the drums
I feel the beat
I kiss the feet of angels

Winans has said and writes in the intro of this book: I don’t think any one man’s life is really that important, but what he does with it and leaves behind is.

I agree it is what you leave behind that makes you important.  That  is why I published his  chap Black Lily.  It is why I will seek out and buy his  early work to read when I am old so that I will still remember.

The work of A.D. Winans is about the common man.  This book from BOSP is the definitive history of 40 years of such observations.  When you read a 40 year old poem and it is still relevant, you feel the significance of the writer and his work.

A.D. Winans you are a poet.  Wear the label however you wish, but I have the  documentation, Drowning with Li Po in a River of Red Wine.

(The book will be released in early November from Bottle of Smoke Press–thanks Bill)

Two Poems by Michelle Pond

Posted in Michelle Pond with tags on November 2, 2010 by Scot


Went to Hollywood
To go mainstream
Got nothing but
Stormy Weather
Stream dried up anytime
The movies went South
Went back to Harlem
Looking for sympathy
Think I got any?
Count said
“You got chosen.
You’ve got to go back.”
Went back to L.A.
Another blacklist
Ended my stay
Turned to cabaret
To make my living
Could still make people
Turnout and listen
Raised my voice again
When the 60’s came
Marched with Martin
And sang our pain
Conquered Broadway
Like no one else
One-woman show
Ran 14 months
Won  a Tony, too
Ended the set
At ninety-two
Not the imitator
A jazz icon
Comfortable blowing my own



Saxophone mellows
My mind and my soul each time
I hear its sweet tone

Bass makes sounds deep down
Vibrations go right through you,
Stringing you along

Piano holds the
Key to the tune, creating
Chords in black and white

A. D. Winans Reads at Bistro 33 on November 3rd at 8 P.M.

Posted in A.D. Winans, Uncategorized with tags on November 1, 2010 by Scot

Time:    Wednesday, November 3, 8pm – 11 pm.
Location:  Bistro 33
225 F Street
Davis, Ca

A.    D. Winans is a native San Francisco poet, writer and photographer, who has
been published worldwide, and translated into nine languages.  His work has appeared in over 1,500 literary journals and anthologies. He is the author of over fifty books of poetry and prose.

He was part of the Beat and post-Beat era where he became friends with Charles Bukowski, Jack Micheline, Bob Kaufman, and other distinguished poets.  From 1972 through 1989 he edited and published Second Coming Magazine and Press, which produced a large number of books and anthologies, among them the highly acclaimed California Bicentennial Poets Anthology.  From 1975 through 1980, he worked for the San Francisco Art Commission, Neighborhood Arts Program, during which time he organized the 1980 Poets and Music Festival, honoring the poet Josephine Miles and the blues musician John Lee Hooker.  A poem of his was set to music and performed at New York’s Tully Hall.  In 2006 he was awarded a PEN National Josephine Miles Award for excellence in literature, and in 2009 PEN Oakland presented Winans with a Lifetime Achievement Award.   In November 2010, BOS Press will publish a nearly 400-page collection of his poems.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early at Bistro 33 to secure a seat, and to sign up for a spot on the Open Mic list

Who:  A. D. Winans
What: The Poetry Night Reading Series
When: Wednesday, November 3rd, 8pm.
Where: Bistro 33, at 226 F. Street
Contact: Andy Jones