Archive for March, 2021

All Around Cowboy

Posted in Scot Young with tags on March 18, 2021 by Scot

“Scot Young may not want to hear this, but he isn’t a cowboy, not in the movie poster sense anyway. This book, his first, is the history of the man he’s become, stronger than his heroes Richard Brautigan and Charles Bukowski, educating young people, publishing countless others without thought given to personal reward, often helping them when they’re not in a position to help themselves, opening his heart and sharing a great love of literature, Scot Young is a great poet, but anyone can do that, he’s an even greater man, so I take it back, maybe he is a cowboy, but let’s be clear, John Wayne would never have the balls to be Scot Young.”

-John Dorsey, Author of The Prettiest Girl at the Dance


Also available on Amazon


“I find myself reading and rereading the poems in Scot Young’s amazing book, All Around Cowboy. Scot renders the fundamental “stuff ” of life and death in a way that is poignant yet never sentimental. He grew up in a hard place, much as I did. I can identify with his experiences. His lines concerning beer joints, rifles, car wrecks, country music, love and sex, initiation, rock-and-roll, whiskey, drugs, recovery, surviving, and, ultimately, thriving always ring true. This is a book of extraordinary honesty. It’s also a remarkable achievement in terms of consistency of tone and style. I highly recommend All Around Cowboy.”

-W.K. (Kip) Stratton, author of The Wild Bunch and Betrayal Creek




Scott Wannberg an American Original

Posted in S.A. Griffin, Scott Wannberg with tags on March 7, 2021 by Scot

My Pal Scott by S.A. Griffin

Most of us, if we are lucky, are talented. We work at our craft, sweat it out, hone it, knock out a few runs, get on base. Sometimes we even knock it out of the park. My pal Scott Wannberg was one of the very few gifted people I have ever met. In the game of cosmic baseball, he was the home run king and could place the ball anywhere he liked. And like the Sultan of Swat himself, he always made it look easy rounding the bases.

Born and raised in Santa Monica, CA, Scott entered the world with poems in his bones. A big man with a bigger heart, Scott held a Masters in creative writing from the University of San Francisco, yet spent his working life in bookstores, primarily at Dutton’s Books in Brentwood for 23 years, where, according Elaine Woo’s obit in the L.A. Times, “he molded the reading habits of a wide assortment of customers and petted every dog that crossed the threshold…”.

Scott was the source of the river leaving behind thousands of poems in his wake, yet I have no idea how much Scott actually created, nobody does. But what I can tell you is that he was the most alive person I have ever known. Like Van Gogh, obsessively creating with fantastic color, and bold, unique strokes, taking in whatever and whoever was around him channeling his ordinary experience of living into extraordinary poetic language. Notorious for spontaneously writing poems in the moment, and often for folks he’d just met, he’d lay it down with lightning speed scribbling words on napkins, cardboard, paper plates or whatever was handy. I would imagine he must’ve written literally hundreds of poems this way.

Photo by Jeffoto 1992Kid Mingo was a Carma Bum and a big man who stood about 6’ 3” and tipped the scales somewhere upwards of XXXL at his passing. He always rode shotgun and like a big shaggy dog hanging his head out the window, loved the road and the wind in his face. Together with the other guys, we were on and off the road for 20 years together, crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada in my 1959 Cadillac Sedan covering thousands of miles, gambling from the inside as process. Scott was process and lived it, believing that the ongoing dance we are experiencing was never about anything but the journey itself. When we talked about writing and poetry, he most often spoke of William Carlos Williams and his commitment to process in search of a true American idiom, a search that Scott shared with the good doctor of New Jersey. When I went thru all of Scott’s books after his passing, the most annotated books he kept were all authored by William Carlos Williams. They were also the only books he annotated. However, I did hear him say to poet MJ Taylor while being interviewed on blog talk radio that it was Charles Bukowski who really opened him up and showed him the way early on. It was Bukowski who helped him understand that anything and everything could be included within the worlds of the poetic. That common language is really uncommon if you just let the words remain alive inside the lines as you lay them down. This was how Scott brought all things to life and light, by allowing the experience of the words to breathe life into him and the poetry that sprang so freely from him as the river flows.

At home, he always had music on when he wrote, and beginning sometime in the 1990s, he began documenting whatever he was listening to as he wrote. According to the Big Ace, the music somehow triggered the images and words for him. Makes sense. As you read his work, you can recognize the narrative melody and percussive rhythms in his language. Scott loved to sing and would almost always open his readings by singing something a’ Capella, usually a tune by the great John Prine.

Scott was also a great letter writer, maintaining a lifelong correspondence with his San Francisco State professor, poet, mentor and friend Daniel Langton. In turn, Scott mentored many poets over the course of his life, most especially the younger set. He really received tremendous pleasure out of his connection with the younger poets that he met and had the unique ability to make everyone he encountered feel as if they were his best friend. I would suggest that Scott was not just my best friend, but the world’s best friend. He loved people, and they loved him.

A voracious reader, Scott loved dogs and cats, television, politics, potboilers, westerns, noirs, history and was a world class cinephile. His favorite film was The Wild Bunch, his favorite actors were Strother Martin and Whit Bissell. His favorite band, The Grateful Dead. His favorite scotch, Lagavulin. His favorite weed, whatever was burning in the bong. On his birthday his only request was that I make him mac ‘n cheese, the way I learned to make it as a young boy watching my Grandma Elsie put it together on her cast iron stove.

Scott’s parents had both passed and Dutton’s had closed. Unemployed, and facing a number of health issues, Scott could no longer afford to live in his native Los Angeles and so relocated to the small coastal town of Florence, Oregon on August 1, 2008 close to his uncle Ken, where Scott passed away on August 19, 2011. Like many greats, he went with his boots on, penning poems to the end, some of his very best.

An American original, Scott was the greatest, the stuff of myth and legend, his legacy and lasting impact on many, immeasurable. I will never meet his like again in this life, but do look forward to hanging with him in the next, where the milk is good. I was so damn lucky to walk with him, receive his transmissions, call him friend and brother, his gift to me. Here now are his words, his gift to you. Enjoy.

S.A. Griffin
Los Angeles, CA

The above is a  rewrite of my intro for All Your Misplaced Utopias by Scott Wannberg (Bottle of Smoke Press). Originally written October 20, 2011, reworked for Rusty Truck October 26, 2020.


Riding That Old Cadillac Highway 
with Captain Griffin

we were so called poets
dancers of some strange rhythm
making ornery lovely noise in the vortex
did your parents ever regale you with their vortex myths?
we are definitely so called humans
plying the Cadillac highway trade
unleashing our ooga booga upon an unsuspecting public
under the stars of Taos in ‘89
 we all went shirtless
as the insurmountable Bobbo Staron led us
we tried not to cringe
we tried to lick the magic stamp and put it on the envelope of time and space
I was shotgun Mingo
 singing John Prine with the howling flora and fauna
no radio lived in the Caddy
our vocation was to make up our own play station
before iPods came marching down the super technical byway
we were on our own impressionistic continual random play
long before the 2 Jakes, 
a very inferior sequel to a great film
there were the 2 Mikes 
and the 1 Doug
 Bruner Mollett Knott
prospectors of verbal and visual gold
Bonzo sometimes rode in our hearts
and Sparky’s grandfather houndstooth 
dancers exercised in our bone marrow
I am a wayfaring wordsmith road
heading in any direction you can handle
anarchy’s common-law intimate other
raiding midnight ice boxes of consciousness
we are so called art forms
splashing peculiar colors
across uneasy easels called the world
a Carma Bum might be a toothless reprobate
or a stunning virile used book written in magic
in between, a lot of tunes made their precarious way
onto the inner ear dancefloor of our time here
which will only end when the proverbial fat lady
loses the right to sing
did your parents ever regale you with their proverbial fat ladies
and their never ending biography?
I rode shotgun with Griffin
the new world lay at our feet
the rules of the road keep renaming themselves
the weather claims it can behave
I am an active verb
slumming with cantankerous adjectives
I am the old soft shoe
trying to remember which foot I supposedly call home
we are poets and tinkers and mad men and mad women
bank presidents grovel at our feet
cops look the other way when we smoke metaphors
we were much too animated for Walt Disney to manage
riding that old Cadillac highway with Captain Griffin
is one exercise workout program
that the whole family can endure together
sometimes you get static in your reception
sometimes the Wheaties don’t make you feel strong
it’s just another endless game of golf at times
but then that last hole in one
opens up an all-night place for you to play
and that poetry you swore you never really knew
breaks out all over your skin
the unknown world at your door
claims it’s going to be around a spell
you’re going to name it with your art, baby
it might be brutal,
it might be tender
but your art will ride the killer wave
without falling into the sea
your art will be riding in a Cadillac
that never really runs out of gas
it’s the story of the world as i was told it
by all talking dogs and their creative writing teachers and editors
it’s your own personal story
behind the wheel
I’m riding shotgun with you
maybe I’ll be singing John Prine
maybe I’ll be singing you
that’s it for sure
I’ll be singing me
through singing you
this burst is for my brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers
in the lingo process express
we be mad, we be gentle
we be broken, we stumble home whole
we come with stories and poems and song
we are your origin and your departure gate
yeah, that’s it, for sure
I’m learning your tunes
as I take Sparky for a much needed walk
through no man’s land
through Armageddon
through point of no return
Sparky pisses on lack of imagination
he begins to sing John Prine
I hear a Cadillac in the distance
naming the new highway
of our heart’s ability to retain memory

–Scott Wannberg


Paying the Rent Can Get Monotonous

The jukebox seems to be broken,
the same song keeps rolling on.
Tell the haters they’ll have to return,
we want them to get their money’s worth.
I don’t believe I can appease them,
I don’t know how to behave.
So many people hop up and down
even if they’ve
their legs.
The choir could use a little more practice.
I hope you have your cell,
the location for the resuscitation
keeps getting moved on the hour.
Everyone I stumble across,
claims they’ve seen it all
I don’t have any plan,
and I have trouble maintaining my Ps and Qs,
but there are certain other letters
that like the way I make noise,
and if you see me wandering
don’t forget to
ask my name.
The party refuses to go home,
and the words all need some sleep.
I heard the moon was looking
for a few good werewolves.
I wish I knew how to comb your hair
so you wouldn’t continually wince.
The planet would like to eat you for dinner,
but it’s busy
with which

–Scott Wannberg


Save the Wails

Time to cut loose and scream
got to blow the lid off and right now there’s a 3-lids-for-1 deal.
Get your so-called friends and some neighbors,
it’s time to wail!
Let out the dead stuff,
the sky says it can take some of it off your hearts.
Do you trust the sky when it shines so?
The big storm is impending,
the experts all agree.
I once met an expert trying not to walk under a ladder,
the ladder kept walking right behind him.
Do you believe ladders can walk without nurses in attendance?

Time to shove it all back into its tube,
not just anyone is capable of such.
The honor guard is mutating in your garden.
The healers are all confused as to just what time their appointment with you
really is.
Death’s valet just finished washing the limo,
I think it’s your turn to carry the load.
People stand in line for hours
to find out who they actually are.

Save the wails,
enrich your cries,
the gulls see you.
The store owners are considering staying open another half hour
so you can collect your valuables
and remember how it was
when you flew
across the promise of a country
that looked good in anything it chose to wear.

Time just came home with a silver cane,
it hobbles across the gym.
Give it your dirty laundry,
tell it which room in the house it can get real sleep in.
Please screw the lids back on the jars when you’re done eating,
I’m tired of slipping in spilled mayo.

There used to be a river
that refused to sink us
no matter how deep we dove.
That river relocated one day,
I hear something scared it.
I hope it wasn’t something I sang,
you know how my voice can roar.
If I don’t watch my feet
sometimes it seems I walk through everything
only to fall down
just in time for
the lights to blow.

Scott Wannberg

listening to Michael Whyte CD mix for Scott, Volume 1


The Things You Remember to Forget

Beware of people who love to tell you I told you so,
they go up and down on pogo sticks
across the weary spine of the country.
Some of them are downright rude
jamming their rules and regulations up your tender ass.
Others comb their hair precise,
speak in alien tongues.

You fall on your knees in front of the TV,
Yes master, where have I failed?

The things you remember to forget
pile high in the corner.
Some have names that mean something,
others simply grunt.

Syntax and context are due to be executed
by a firing squad come dawn.

I last saw Jesus in New Orleans
in some FEMA trailer,
he wasn’t looking all that good.

I guess some of you don’t want to leave the party.
Put a new CD on, we got orientation tomorrow morning.
When I find out who I am,
dogs will leap high.

–Scott Wannberg

Blue Mesa, Peter Ostroushko


Scott Wannberg was born in Santa Monica February 1953. A big man with a
big heart and an even bigger presence, he attended Venice High School and then went on to receive his Master’s Degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University in 1977. A Carma Bum from the beginning, Scott rode shotgun with the Bums from 1989-2009. He was a poet’s poet and a human’s human who spent his life working as a sales clerk and book buyer for independent bookstores, most notably Dutton’s Books in Brentwood, where he held court and worked the stacks for almost 25 years until its close in 2008. His book Nomads of Oblivion made the Los Angeles Times bestseller list in 2000, and in the late 1990s, Los Angeles Magazine named him one of the “Top 100 Coolest People” in Los Angeles. In August 2008, he relocated to Florence, Oregon, where he passed away too soon at the age of 58 in August 2011. Widely anthologized, his list of titles includes Mr. Mumps, The Electric Yes Indeed!, Amnesia Hotel, Tomorrow Is Another Song, The Official Language of Yes and Scott Wannberg, The Lummox Years 1996-2006. Scott’s voluminous work is housed at UCLA as part of S.A. Griffin’s archive, the first acquisition for their Punk Initiative in 2015.


The color photos were taken by Lorraine Perrotta, both in Los Angeles. The black and white was on the Carma Bums 1992 Nowhere Tour of Words in Santa Fe, NM, taken by Jeffoto.   The guys in the b/w photo are (L-R) Mike M Mollett, Doug Knott, Scott Wannberg, Michael Lane Bruner and S.A.Griffin in the outhouse of love showing how we are all chained to one another for better or worse to one another and the process. All poetry copyright by the Estate of Scott Wannberg. All the appreciation and love goes to S.A. Griffin for making this tribute possible at the Rusty Truck.

Three Poems by Scott Wannberg

Posted in Scott Wannberg with tags on March 7, 2021 by Scot

Hard Luck

Hard Luck’s getting married to his high school sweetie.
All participants in the ongoing crime attend,
history books babble and fall from their shelves.
Guess we’re on our own.
Improvise some future
we can readily hum.

The coast road is erratic
can’t keep its answers straight.
The goodbye room is full of nervous waiters
wondering what today’s special looks like.
All those animals Noah took aboard the ark
were Pisces.

Hard Luck won’t get out of his rocking chair.
Maybe it’s a bit late.
The bones creak.
The groom and the bride
mumble something unintelligible about faith.
If only somebody around here would enunciate.


Listening to Tom Russell, Songs of the West




Over the Edge, and Then Some…

The luxury liner promises to stop sinking
as soon as you truly get clear.
The Children Of The Great Depression
offer a sleek new line of
alluring lunch pails.
Time remembers where you
parked the

It’s getting near that part of the movie
when the semi-likeable co-star
is about to conveniently disappear
for no reason other than the box office appeal
of the actor rendering such character
waned more than the

Disappearances once
ran rampant
in this end of the
but now they only
mostly come out
and sometimes,
they’re not nearly as exciting
as their
have you

Where do the believers go?
Down to the end of the Damn Right Road,
where the drinks
and going over the edge
you do


Listening to Kimmie Rhodes, West Texas Heaven



Hate it When You Lose

Here comes mister I got it made.
Seems he keeps showing up just about this time, every day.
His shadow has made many a naive young thing pregnant.
He has a glib aura, a touch that compels one to cringe.
I’d sick my dog on him, but my dog is on vacation
and he never told me where he went.

Here comes sister I see all your bullshit moves.
Her left eye is infrared,
and I wish her soul was well read,
but it lurches, lumbers, lists to one side,
even if there’s no discernible wind.

The wonders of any world you got,
they pace nervously across the widening crack in the basic
Call the contractor,
tell him we need to rethink this whole deal.
Quit venting, unless you got clean clear air.

Here comes the bona fide idiot kid,
he says he’ll reveal how hard his life’s been,
in his new book
that the A list critics are salivating about.
Maybe I could hold his coat
when he punches himself in the face.
You know, just about now, I could commit perjury,
but since nobody asked me to swear to tell anyone’s version
of the truth,
I suppose it’s a moot point.

I know you hate it when you lose,
but losing is such a popular sport these days,
so don’t feel all that unique,
or left out.
I’d just love to blow this town,
but the exit signs keep burning out
when I try to figure which
way I need to go.

The doctor will see right through you now.
Nobody is really all that sick,
they just aren’t sure which room the savior is
holed up in.
Maybe the savior ran out of per diem money,
it gets very thin on the ice, and
the clowns just don’t have what it takes
to make you laugh, anymore.

Can you make it up the mountain?
They claim things are rarified there.
You’ll get a whole new outlook,
your brain will glow with giddiness.
We’ll be able to look down on the struggle,
the wind will flap our wings.

Here comes the percentage player.
His entourage shrinks, but he pays no mind.
I’d give him my last good tip,
but he never favored my lips.
Time to plug myself into the socket that never lies.
Time to erase all the pain.
I know you hate it when you die.
You do it so well.
I watch you do it every time you get up.
I’d share my turkey leg with you,
but the buck stops here,
and the doe?
She’s rummaging through the goody bag,
looking for the holy chocolate,
that never melts in your hands,
only in your heart.


Listening to David Olney, One Tough Town



Lawrence Ferlinghetti is Dead, Long Live Lawrence Ferlinghetti! by S.A. Griffin

Posted in S.A. Griffin with tags on March 4, 2021 by Scot

Howling Allen Ginsberg
got shot out of history’s atomic canon
and never stopped flying
Ferlinghetti prints the poem as news hysterical naked
and gets busted for publishing obscene odes

the law fought the poem and the poem won

without this greeting at such great beginning
there would be no Beat Generation heard ‘round the world
and I would have descended a very different staircase
and would not know my wife
nor most all my friends

Ferlinghetti climbs down from the gaunt tree of war
and with his poet’s eye sees fists of Hiroshima and Nagasaki blossoms
shadowboxing in the dark and declares god
a fraternity of one hung up on eternity
a frightened lonely child
pissing himself

the poet’s dog lifting his leg knows
that democracy is deconstructionist porn
for masturbating objectivists
and as of this writing
the poet himself has shed his bony skin
and is no longer making this carnival scene

and from those of us here
still snapping in ripe time
most gratefully and lovingly we bid you
good night sweet paperback prince
may choirs of scat seraphim
sing thee to thy authentic angel headed rest
everything ends lost and found
as rebirth and revolutionary wonder

Oh, man!


Frank Stanford Makes Me Feel Lazy by John Dorsey

Posted in John Dorsey with tags on March 4, 2021 by Scot


the truth is
i’ve never kissed a girl
along the arkansas river

the dead probably consider
every winter storm
to be spanish fly

this poem should be longer
it knows nothing about generational poverty
it has never been the kind of dog
to chase its own tail
or snap its jaws at fleas
devouring the air
under a sweetgum tree
every spring

it should be made
of stronger bones.


incognito youth by Giovanni Mangiante

Posted in Giovanni Mangiante with tags on March 1, 2021 by Scot


scrapping stains
off of bathroom tiles
we ripped apart
the remaining potential
we had,
and then we drank
all night
to cauterize
the wound.




Giovanni Mangiante is a poet from Lima, Peru. He has work published in Anti-Heroin Chic, Heroin Love Songs, Rat’s Ass Review, Three Rooms Press, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Raven Review, Cajun Mutt Press, Crêpe & Penn, Open Minds Quarterly, and more. He has upcoming work in Newington Blue Press, and The Daily Drunk. In writing, he found a way to cope with BPD.

Drifter by JAMES DIAZ

Posted in JAMES DIAZ with tags on March 1, 2021 by Scot


good god
he’s swinging the sink
out the window again
and just how many blue birds
can one man chase around the yard
until the cops arrive
lovable little creature
of the neon mountain
come chew the size of this hurt
down for me
cancel all my debts
lend me a good pair of shoes
for the road I’m walkin’ on

how hard did you drive those dreams
into the ground,
must have hurt when no one saw what was comin’
and you had no clean clothes
upon release
shufflin’ along the highway
aching to be
but only dyin’ in time

there is a pure flash of life
you chase like a dog his tail
linger on what could have been
like the yellow
patch of light on the surface of the water
you aren’t really there
but you are still a sight to behold
ragged brother
I know what went wrong
I know it ain’t ever gonna get better

three drinks in
it’s the one thing I have left to give you
a poem that ain’t gonna lie to you no more
not tonight –
tonight, brother, I can feel the cold
coming off your bones,
I’m handin’ over my shoes
cause some things words just can’t fix.




James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and All Things Beautiful Are Bent (forthcoming, Alien Buddha Press, 2021,) as well as the founding Editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared most recently in Cobra Milk Mag, Bear Creek Gazette and Resurrection Mag. They live in a far too cold and snowy upstate New York, where they are waiting patiently for the Spring. 

Two Poems by Dan Denton

Posted in Dan Denton with tags on March 1, 2021 by Scot

It’s a January Day

it’s the removing
of a fresh blanket
of new snow
every morning

the careful way
you pluck
the windshield wipers
letting them fall
three times
against the glass

it’s the tires
always leaking air
in January
as if tire air
migrates to Florida
for the winter

it’s the 24 years
of kicking snow clumps
off already
too heavy
work boots

the 24 years
of doing two days
worth of work
every day

it’s a life
of only making enough
to get by
a week at a time

it’s an aging pick-up truck
with arthritic brakes
and an engine
in desperate need
of a massage

it’s a tiredness
that rides shotgun
uneven railroad tracks
sleeping streets
ice cold factories

where machines growl
before you’ve even
had time
to warm up



America is Ranch Dressing

America is
Applebee’s margaritas
at 7pm on Tuesday nights

America is
a dollar store
on every
50 cent street corner

America is
a dying
Frisch’s Big Boy
in every neighborhood

America is
rising 2×4 prices
because Wall Street
all the sawmills

America is
Olive Garden wine
and an endless bowl
of pasta

a c-pap machine
with a smartphone app

civil war politics
in local elections

tinder hookups
in a meat grinder

social media
and oxymoron

America is
50,000 dollars
in student loan debt
and no job
to go to

America is
ranch dressing
in your stocking
on Christmas morning

Two Poems by Nathan Graziano

Posted in Nathan Graziano with tags on March 1, 2021 by Scot

A Crib Sheet for Middle-aged Dilemmas


When asked if you want to look at a picture of yourself,
the correct response is to chew off both pinkie fingers.
When your teenage daughter prefaces any conversation
by asking you if you love her, you knit her a wool scarf
and buy her a one-way ticket to Buffalo in February.
When your wife asks you if it looks like she gained weight,
answer her using the metric system, compliment her hair.
When you find yourself staring into a mug of draft beer
and wondering how 45 years disappeared, stare harder.
Realize you were never as cool as you make yourself
seem when retelling the tired stories from your college days.
Realize your life is half over, human skin naturally sags
and it’s now better to ugly cry than lie about your age.




My Great Idea


Last night, while flopping like a fish on the futon
in the basement, after a small but spirited discussion
with my wife landed me in exile, I had a great idea
for something to write, something of real consequence.
But as Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School shot colors
and voices and the cartoon music through the room;
as I found the one cold spot on the waif-thin pillow I snuck
from the bedroom, I forgot to write down my great idea
as my eyelids fell like white screens followed by sleep.

The next morning, the great idea knocked on my mind,
asking to be let out, but I was too late to the door
and by the time I straightened my spine and stood up
to find a pen, my great idea was gone, nothing remained.
So I went upstairs to apologize and make some breakfast
but my wife was gone, too, and my son ate all the bacon.


Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and kids. His most recent book Fly like The Seagull was published by Luchador Press in 2020. For more information, visit his website: