Pooka by Jason Baldinger

Posted in Jason Baldinger with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot

 (for Matt Borczon)

I’ve been doing a piss poor
Jimmy Stewart impersonation
all day, him reading
the first few lines of Howl
I try again as I spark
a joint, hotbox the Silver
Bullet Calivan. Silsbe
reaches for the Van Morrison cd
we play the first track or two
then he says alright let’s get right
to it and plays Almost Independence Day
we talk about all his guttural
moaning, his interjections, his
ejaculations as he sings it’s impossible
to replicate, it’s always overdone
it’s always perfect. Today though
it’s the title track of St Domenic’s Preview
that’s put a nail in my heart, when Van sings
Everyone is determined not to feel each other pain

We have to walk through a cloud
of vapor smoke to get to the coffee shop
upstairs, there are snacks from the
event in the hallway and the barista
seems confused I want both a regular
coffee and a regular tea. Black and black
Borczon is talking about being in the naval reserve
with the Syrian chemical weapons strike his people
are clamoring for answers, there’s a storm
coming, there’s a war about to dawn
I hear your poems now and I think
this is not about what you’ve already seem
this about dread, a premonition of what
you’ll see, what we will all see again
whether live or on the news, in our living rooms
he remembers talking to a group of soldiers
reminding them democracy is something
you fight for, but don’t mistake this as a democracy

Van and the road have me thinking about
America, I was in a house that was a stop
on the Underground Railroad this morning
with this administration, I think more
on the meaning of freedom than I have
before, I see coming wars as good
for business, good for a cabal of
rich white men, they have no concern
for us, for the citizens of an alleged
democracy. I’m in a bar with Stolte,
his lady and Silsbe and there
are paintings of Jimmy Stewart movies
hanging, Stolte is not familiar with Harvey
one of my maternal grandmothers favorite
movies, and now one of mine. It seems
that democracy as we know it is a Pooka



Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs. Somewhere in time he has traveled the country and wrote a few books

“new” world by Jim McGowin

Posted in Jim McGowin with tags on April 26, 2017 by Scot


only the necropolis decides
who gets to go to the pinnacle,
the engendered or endangered ascension,
a treacherous ruse that cloaks itself noble in
sloppy approximations of belief,
and people can’t sock away enough comfort
in their barbed wire yards,
dragged tangled, clinging or cast away by
a tide of serpent’s tongues
flicked heavily against lost orphans
who collect garbled star chanties
hanging like effluvia
racing above synthetic heavenly peaks,
until the foundering meat brutes,
honorable to the pure blood
setters of infliction,
come preaching about deliverance
via homicidal sensations of
falling into pottery shards
and bones broken against the flags,
ordered by mechanical
gunmetal garnished
trigger eaters,
all in the name of
a fraudulent word game.


Jim McGowin does art among other things and lives in St. Louis MO

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

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
Madness habit
Horses clip-clopping through the sky,
Hot on the trail of a giant carrot,
On the end of a string
Tied to a stick unseen.
Burning spear becomes the sun.

Continue reading


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
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.