Archive for April, 2017

XERF by Brandon Whitehead

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2017 by Scot

If you go out into the Sierra Madre Desert,
to a point absolutely nowhere special,
you might just find an old man sittin’
in a cracked plastic pool chair
under a pink toy parasol.
He comes out every night
with a pack of Lucky Strikes
and a case of Iron City beer
(don’t ask where he got it…)
and stares at the sky until sunrise.

He’s sittin’ on the border, you see,
listening to good ol’ XERF.

It was back in the 30’s
when a goat-gland loving bible-thumping
serial killer from Kansas named Brinkley
went south to spread the word of God.
He bought himself an AM transmitter
in Villa Acuna, just south of Del Rio.
50,000 watts was as big as they allowed
him in the States, but in Mexico Doc got 500,000.

He’d throw that huge sucker’s switch
right at sundown and half-a-million watts
would strum out like Jehovah’s bass-line.
It blew the birds right out of the sky,
made rancher’s barbwire hum and moan.
Cowboys listened to the “Texas Night Train”
through their bunkhouse bedsprings,
Norwegian fishermen cranked up
Boomin’Paul Kallinger
to shake the ice off the Bering straights.

Yes sir, the KGB learned English
from Wolfman Jack (true story).

Now, the man get to hear it all again,
the shows, the music, the voices
as if he was still a boy
and the world bright and new,
because long ago in a valley called
Inchon, the North Koreans gave him
(a fresh young PFC then)
a gift to remember them by,
a chunk of bullet forever lodged in his skull
under his bald pock-marked scalp.

You see, if he turns his head
just right, that bit of iron
needles across the sky
like an old radio tuner.

There, trapped in the aether above
is XERF, and a time he can still understand,
before computers and hippies
and those people on TV who smile too much.
So the man sits out here
listening to electromagnetic phantoms
echoing through the sky,
not bothering nobody,
not the border guards
who watch a flat land all day
and couldn’t catch a cold
if they tried or the VA doctors
who have asked him
“So, where were you hit?”
for four decades running
or even the coyotes
who keep trying
to steal his shoes.

____________

 

Brandon Whitehead is a writer. He lives in Kansas.

 

Hokey Pokey Muse by Jeanette Powers

Posted in Jeanette Powers with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

I haven’t your knack
for the easy uselessness
I haven’t your quack
quack quacking
duck duck goosing
and dodge
ball-games and board games
or how you bend over
backwards to limbo
you are so inbetween
how your right arm in
and then right arm out
as if you were born to it
and jigsaw about as though
your piece fit
every empty slot
all hokey pokey
and London bridges
you are always sent over
red rover
you turn yourself around
and falling down
you are the blackjack dealer
of reindeer games
and I
am red nose
last chose
benchwarmer.

Autobiography of Kansas by Becky Plate

Posted in Becky Plate with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

I am Amelia Earhart,
married to Clyde Cessna, of course.
Our home is in the Flint Hills,
and my kitchen is the Oasis on the Plains.
I was educated at the Shawnee Indian Mission.
I stand tall, taller than most think, tall as the Osage, the Children of the Middle Waters.
I strike like tigers let loose from Fort Scott, free men fighting to stay that way.
My voice, when I shout, is the sound of the spillway at Tuttle Creek dam,
and when I sing, I am a young and conflicted Judy Garland.
When I whisper, I am the wind that never stops blowing o’er the breadbasket of America,
and the wheat sways and rolls at my command in great long peaceful waves on and on and on.
I am a railroad of Mexican steel and black tulips.
I am Brown vs Board of Education.
I am Sternberg’s dinosaurs,
and therefore, clearly more than 5,000 years old.
My beloved pets are Victor E. Tiger and Willie the Wildcat.
My cousins are Wheat Shockers and Jayhawkers.
These are my parents, Gus and Gussie Gorilla.
My step-brother is an Ichabod, stung by a Hornet just for being a terrible mascot.
What the hell is an Ichabod anyway?
I am a field of sunflowers.
I am the annual traffic jam to get there,
totally worth it to get me in your profile picture.
My local flavor is that of a Cozy burger,
never mind the smell.
My PE teacher invented basketball,
and my president won the war.
I am gettin’ the heck out of Dodge with Wyatt and Bat.
I am Sporting.
I am going fast and turning left.
I am flying if I have to go all the way to Hutch.
I am drunk on elderberry wine.
I am the Big Red One.
I am the Big Top Pen.
I am the officer’s college.
I am the world’s largest ball of twine!
I will write your name in chalk from the Badlands.
I will sing you to sleep with the song of the Meadowlark
or hum you a few bars of Home on the Range.
Sing you to sleep under the stars,
and tomorrow, we will go there together.
We will go there, no matter what the difficulty.
I am all four seasons like I really mean it,
and sometimes all in one week.
I am not a cow town.
I am cattle country.
I am buffalo country.
I am the Tallgrass Prairie.
I am the Little Apple.
I am LFK, a blue dot floating in the red sea.
I am the start of a patina on the new copper of the Capitol Dome,
and I am all that transpired under the copper of the old one.
I am here waiting, hanging on the edge of a storm front,
waiting with the crazy eyes and wide open arms of John Brown,
waiting for the Freestaters to rise again.
I am a farmer.
I am an artist.
I am a teacher.
I am an engineer.
I am your mother.
I am the namesake of the city!
I am not just I-70 and I-35 and all that they intersect.
I am 24-40.
I am K99.
I am that spot on US-59, down in the valley between Richmond and Garnett,
when you drive over the Pottawatomie Creek Bridge,
where the radio loses the signal
always when you favorite song just gets to the hook.
And you, my dear friends,
you, driving through,
you, weary travelers,
you, welcome creatures,
you, fleeting inhabitants,
you are the song.

READY FOR LIFT OFF by Brett Underwood

Posted in Brett Underwood with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

 

 

Take your wait off
Strap your wings on

Gotta get away from you Cretins!
Flying higher and higher

While faceless slaves
feed the beast
Grow, slaughter, cook and serve
the feast

Sew the walkabout threads
stripped from wheels
Spin willy-nilly wobbly heels
Shuffle feet
Scuttle butt
Talking the talk
Walking the walk
Clod-kickin’ nomads
Riddling clichés
In piecemeal-economic class
majority of days
Knotting and tangling
Screaming and steaming
Angels falling in teams
Coaxing hope from men and children
Suffering guilt and schemes
for flavored vodka
to put out the flames.

Faceless in frenzied crowds
not their piglets for a tit
Sweet silk web of perks
Splinters in their lips

It’s a wooden cow
Eating the genius grass of now
Leisurely-gone-mechanical
Madness habit
Horses clip-clopping through the sky,
Hot on the trail of a giant carrot,
Bobbing
On the end of a string
Tied to a stick unseen.
Burning spear becomes the sun.

Continue reading

RIDING WITH BOOM BOOM by George Wallace

Posted in George Wallace with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

The facts are simple
they speak for themselves
but facts don’t always tell
the whole story —
he was a bluesman
he played the blues
he was sixty years old
he lived alone in a
split level shack in
Kings Park Long Island
Long Island New York
with a ramp in the front
on account of his bad
back, and a maple tree
in the yard which his kids
used to swing on when
they were little & before
they moved away.
He liked his chopper
he liked his Jack Daniels
he liked his bass guitar
& he liked his kids &his friends
& a woman or two
& he liked putting on his
riding gear & going out into
the Long Island Expressway night
to Ride Baby Ride!
& the cops say they didn’t target him
& the cops say they didn’t track him down
the cops say they were just
protecting the public when
they came to his house
to haul him in, said
someone phoned &
told them he was
behaving
irrational.
Irrational.
Irrational to be
the person they don’t
want you to be. Irrational
to refuse to swallow the
9-5 routine. Irrational to fight
the leather belt they strap you
down with when the psych doctors
come around to pick you apart.
irrational to cut loose, to escape,
to be passionate, to ride out free
when the blues & the booze
& the passing lane just
aren’t enough &
you have got to get
away from the pain
of living in this fucked
up rational world.
Facts are simple.
They speak for themselves.
But facts are never enough,
they just do their job.
Like the cops do their job
like the doctors do their job
like the liquor & motorcycles
& the blues do their job.
He was 60 years old.
He played the bass guitar.
Everybody says he was
tons of fun onstage.
But sometimes the bass guitar
isn’t enough to make the blues go away.
They took him in, there was a struggle.
So they say. He hit his head on
something. So they say.
But what he hit his head on
the cops aren’t saying —
Or how a 60 year old
with a bad back
can even put up
that kind of a fight
against a bunch of cops.
His name was Ports, Larry Ports.
That’s a good name.
It’s a simple name.
It speaks for itself.
But names are just facts.
All they do is do their job.
Names aren’t enough
to cure what ails you
in a fucked up rational
world. That‘s why his
friends called him
Boom Boom. That’s
how he rode. That’s
who he really was.
Last week the cops said
someone named Lawrence
Ports died. That ain‘t Boom Boom.
Boom Boom ain‘t dead.
The cops can‘t kill Boom Boom.
All over America tonight,
all over the world,
men will be riding
motorcycles. Women
will be getting tattoos.
kids will be drinking Jack.
& bluesmen will be
playing the blues.
I don’t know where you’ll
be or what you’ll be doing
Tonight. But as for me? I’ll be
riding with Boom Boom.
Getting irrational.

____________

 

George Wallace is writer in residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. He read this title poem for his 2014 Nightballet Press book ‘Riding With Boom Boom,’ (first appeared in John Burrought’s Crisis Chronicles) on Saturday night at the KC Poetry Throwdown.

The prodigal son goes to the disco by Roy Beckemeyer

Posted in Roy Beckemeyer with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

all blurry-eyed, Quaalude-floppy legs,
“That’s the way I like it!” she chants,
pulls him over, crumples his polyester
jacket, pats his breast pocket for a packet
of pills, a roll of bills, crooks a finger
through his gold chain, leads him
out onto the floor, the mirrored shards
pimping out flashes of color, the bass
ringing in his ears. Hell, he hasn’t seen
daylight much less sunlight for weeks,
his half of his old man’s fortune down,
now, to small bills and coins.

The blonde’s interest is already
drifting off toward another pimply-
faced kid fresh off the caravan from
the Negev. She turns to the girl child
she’s training up, says “Don’t feel bad,
for him, my pomegranate, my hennaed
ewe, it’s the sons those old bastards
always welcome back with open arms.
It’s their damn sons that they forgive.”

 

“The prodigal son…” first appeared in Prompts: A Spontaneous Anthology, Jeanette Powers and J. D. Tulloch (Editors), 2016, 39West Press, KC, MO.

 

Roy Beckemeyer, from Wichita Kansas, has been plugging away at poetry for 60 years.

Poem by Don Wentworth

Posted in Don Wentworth with tags , on April 26, 2017 by Scot

cherry blossoms
In front of the cancer center
thee automated reminder

____________

Don Wentworth is a Pitttsburgh based poet who writes brief haiku-like poems that celebrate thee revelatory nature of everyday life.

About Dad by Donal Mahoney

Posted in Donal Mahoney with tags on April 18, 2017 by Scot

 

They’re in the kitchen,
drinking coffee, the kids,
in their fifties now,
figuring out what to do
about Dad who’s
in the parlor listening,
counting all the marbles
they think he’s lost.
The six of them flew in
to bury mother.
They won’t go back
until they figure out
what to do about Dad.
At the funeral they saw
Father Kelly kiss Dad’s
wedding ring, the one
he’s worn for 60 years.
Father Kelly bowed
over the wheelchair
as if Dad were pope
and told him he’d be over
Tuesday night as usual
for checkers and a beer.
Best two out of three
goes to heaven first.

Reality is Not Right in the Head by Sudeep Adhikari

Posted in Sudeep Adhikari with tags on April 18, 2017 by Scot

The glass is scissored. I can hear
my unconscious in bass-drops, and
super-silent moans of trees on a stepped dance floor.

You hear and see things.
The United States of Schizophrenia
is dropping “The Whore of All Bombs”
on your shimmering infinity of fluorescent sand.

The oppressor is not an outsider.
It lives somewhere inside you, etched
and embossed in your head
by the invisible hands of crystal diodes,
and sensually stripping hyper-links.

Reality is not broken. It is tripping, and tripping bad.

 

____

 

Sudeep Adhikari is a structural engineer/Lecturer  from Kathmandu, Nepal.   His recent publications were with  Jawline Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Yellow Mama, Fauna Quarterly, Beatnik Cowboys, After The Pause, Poetry Pacific, Silver Birch Press, Underground Books and Outlaw Poetry. 

TONYA PATTERSON by Mather Schneider

Posted in Mather Schneider with tags on April 18, 2017 by Scot
 
She’s seventeen years old
and at midnight
she falls through the high school gym skylight
into the dark
like a hard swallow.
 
The next morning
they find her
on the parquet floor,
 
the same floor
where the cheerleaders dance
at home games
 
where we play dodge ball
like killers
 
where we do wind sprints
until our guts heave.