Archive for May, 2012

THE PAST AS HOUSEGUEST by LYNNE SAVITT

Posted in LYNNE SAVITT with tags on May 28, 2012 by Scot

is staying quietly in the back bedroom
we invite him out on evenings when
air thick as upholstery weighs on us
he brings a joyful breeze & broken
carnival lights to remind us nothing

is as bad or good as we remember
soft lips of a once gentle lover harsh
criticism slaps blade of kitchen knife
baby’s breath flower or human lace
tastes as sweet as ripe nectarines

my sister says we are like our mother
who spent her life pining for college
beau & at 83 years old still searched
for him on the internet under retired

professors no i tell sister recall
long lists of men who pursued us
joints big as cigars trips black bras
backseats good meals bad lays not
the same as mother’s undone fantasy

we’ve lived & earned the right to invite
past to sit at table tonight eat up i tell
him have some red wine all too soon you
must return to your sequestered bedroom
listen to ceiling fan whine softly wait

until the next time we invite you
to be part of the repast of the present

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Memorial Day 2012 by Bradley Mason Hamlin

Posted in Bradley Mason Hamlin with tags on May 27, 2012 by Scot

I cut the grass
in the
backyard

trim the roses

and despite
my shades
and baseball cap
it’s hot
and I
start thinking
about the
bottle
of Paul Newman’s
Chardonnay
chilling
in the fridge

and the blonde
I’ll
share it with

tomorrow’s
Memorial Day
where we honor
the men & women
who have died
in service
to our country

while eating hotdogs
hamburgers
beer
and potato chips

it’s a good thing
and it’s good
to be
American

so I mow
I cut the thorns
and the rose
petals
fall.

A Beat Memior by Marc Olmsted

Posted in Marc Olmsted with tags , on May 27, 2012 by Scot

SHIG’S PLACE

Then, most important, lovers over half-century/.…
“He taught me to meditate, now I’m an old veteran of the thousand day retreat –”
–  imagining his funeral, Allen Ginsberg’s “Death & Fame”

Phonecall 2 AM –
the famous old
poet, friend for
23 years,
calls to
tell me he may
be dead in
a month – terminal
liver cancer –
result of Hepatitis
C –
“You’ve been so good
to me over all
these years” he says
I’m startled
“You’ve been so
good to me.”
“Then it’s been
a good thing.”…

-(excerpted “BONES” from my What Use Am I a Hungry Ghost?: Poems from Three Year Retreat)

____________

At the back of the bar was Bob Kaufman, legendary black Beat poet that I’m not sure I was aware of yet.  He was quite loaded and seemed quite mad.  “Allen!  Allen!” he shouted across the room, and sat down on the floor of the bar, reciting a poem from memory.  It was mostly incoherent to me, except for something about the ancient pagan god Dagon.  Ginsberg listened attentively with one finger raised and pressed against his lips.   It was a characteristic gesture I would see countless times.  When Bob was done, Allen turned to me and said, “Good poem.”  Kaufman suddenly leered at me, “You’re with Big Daddy, huh?”  I probably blushed, but in fact I was terrified.

We walked in the cool North Beach night, 1974..  Allen said, “I’d kinda like to sleep with you.”  I confessed that I’d “never experienced sodomy.”  He said not to worry.  He later told me that hearing me use the word “sodomy” gave him quite a thrill.

I arrived with Allen in Shig Murao’s apartment on Grant Street.  Shig had been busted for being behind the cashier at City Lights bookstore when Howl was initially confiscated.  He was a very kindly Japanese hippie who made himself scarce in the second floor apartment.  The place was mostly bookcases full of first editions.  After looking at some of my poems and making kind remarks, Allen signed Yage Letters for me as an intro to Burroughs (who was coming to town to read) and suggested I touch Bill’s heart when I met him.

Allen and I retired.  He showed me how Neal Cassady would let him screw him, which was facing me and thrusting between my legs.  Afterwards we lay together.   “Don’t be mean to me,” he said.  And we slept.

In the morning, he taught me Buddhist sitting, both of us naked and facing the bookcase on Shig’s tatami mats, awareness of my outbreath dissolving into space.

____________

Teenager 20 – nearly gave up writing after running into academy wall of college – same old story: your mind ain’t o.k. as is – met Allen Ginsberg who gave permission – sanctity of the ordinary-basic haiku moment, H. Miller’s matchstick in gutter, Howl’s holy bum and asshole refined through Buddhist practice – everything’s o.k. but we still need discipline – I was big confused pain early 20’s, later relaxed due mainly to that original permission, a meadow for me to see I didn’t have to be tortured, though took a good 10 years and will always be a mess, probably, still in better shape than that kid who first saw him lead drunken Trungpa Rinpoche to stage – Ginsberg’s contribution: beyond poetry, politics, to show the space of mind both exist in, where problems unravel, poetry rises and self lets go – a chance for us all to the last outbreath.

– My contribution to Best Minds: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg, 1986 (for his 60th birthday)

Luck With the Day by William Taylor Jr.

Posted in William Taylor Jr. with tags on May 27, 2012 by Scot


We didn’t have much
luck with the day
it came apart
so easy in our hands

and we can blame
the heat
the hangover
or the blank faced
hipster kids
sprawling outside
the bars on Polk Street

all I know is
tonight we’ll drink
too much wine
and sleep
the sleep of the
blissfully gone

dreaming that
should tomorrow come
it will be made of
sterner stuff.

Blues Poem II: Everyday Weekend Blues by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on May 27, 2012 by Scot

And it’s three in the morning and all you got
is your own plain self and your two black dogs
and another shot of that harsh brown brandy
that makes it all go down, like it or not.

And that sweet girl of yours that you loved so long
is gone like a memory of a long-lost song.

So this is what it’s like to sing the blues:

The dogs come in with mud caked on their paws
and you wipe it off still smelling of booze
and you clean it up, the paws, that is, and the rest,
That’s just what it is, it’s yesterday’s news

There’s something like a song boiling inside
all angry and bruised, so call it a poem and just give up.

This must be what it’s like to sing the blues.

The Improbability of Poetry as Religion by Scott Owens

Posted in Scott Owens with tags on May 12, 2012 by Scot

Poetry will never be a religion,
though its adherents are zealots
and believe it can lead to epiphany,
salvation, the thing with wings,
though its mythology is complete
and just as sordid as any
faith worth its salt,
full of desire and incest,
fallacy and betrayal,
though it engenders spirituality,
morality, sanctimony,
though it places the word first.

Still, none have gone to war for poetry,
or hell for not believing in pantoums.
None have been denied matrimony,
public office or citizenship
for practicing metaphor, assonance,
the shameless pursuit of meter.

No, poetry will never be a religion,
for it knows no heresy or sacrilege,
asks no one to die for it,
and offers no unassailable answers.

Beat Memior ( part 2) By Marc Olmsted

Posted in Beat Memior, Marc Olmsted with tags , , , on May 12, 2012 by Scot

AMERICAN MUTANT SPAWNED

By Marc Olmsted

Costanzo Allione, Italian documentary filmmaker and future husband of meditation teacher Tsultrim Ewing (They met here for the first time), was shooting what became a great film on ’78 Naropa, Fried Shoes, Cooked Diamonds.  Beat translator Nanda Pivano came along.  She was the connection between Allione and Ginsberg, and had set up this meeting in Ginsberg’s apartment.  Allione was in Allen’s apartment with his crew catching the conversation of Burroughs, Timothy Leary and of course Ginsberg himself.  Part of the time, I was also running around with a Super 8 camera making what would become my short collage American Mutant.  Gregory came in with his 16mm camera and announced, “I’m gonna shoot everybody’s feet.”  And proceeded to do so.

The  film crew caught me over Burroughs’ shoulder.

The New Wave hip look came up again when this interesting queer had wrangled his way into Allen’s kitchen to hang with Leary.  The guy had a weird sort of glam look, not quite on the money with it – but he was clearly not a hippie even with Prince Valiant hair – maybe it was vague eye make-up or his clothes, but it was some different quality that was glitter queer like the New York Dolls (whom I didn’t even know about yet and were actually straight anyway).

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