Archive for poetry

Facundo Rompehuevos

Posted in Facundo Rompehuevos with tags on December 5, 2022 by Scot

 

Dedicated to the late Mexican day laborer Jaime Morales.

 

To my uncle not my uncle

I had to lie to the coroner
that he was my uncle
because otherwise
they wouldn’t give up his
ashes

they asked for my name
date of birth, my relation
to the deceased

my name is ________
date of birth is _______
and he was my uncle

I made it all up
picked a name
a date of birth
my mother’s name
and her birth date
at random
said I never knew
my father

the only problem with
this was that I didn’t
write it down and when
they’d ask me again
my answers would change

but you said your name was
______, your date of birth
_______, your mother’s name
_____, her date of birth ____

nope, there must’ve been
a mistake, I said, and all
was forgiven

I filled out the required
forms and they said they’d
email me when his ashes were
ready for pick up, which they
ultimately would never do
and I called them
only to find out their number
had changed, then I’d call
another number, then another
and did this for months
his ashes held hostage
by the bureaucracy of
the local government
where men and women
have grown comfortable
with grief and disdain

all I have is a box
of some of your CDs
a broken flip phone
some mail and my memories
of you in the morning sitting
at the blue wooden bench
with your coffee, donut
and a copy of la opinion

when the nursing home called
they said I was listed as the
only living relative, but you
told me you had a son and
a daughter, and an ex-wife
who hated your guts but that’s
what you wanted – to die alone
and it took me a long time to
find peace with that
that sometimes people just
want to die alone and in peace
to be only surrounded by their
own disintegrating thoughts
to battle with your faith or
lack thereof, to cry in final
acceptance to purge regret
from your slowing mind

although the bureaucrats
threw away your ashes
like incorrectly-filled out
forms or broken paper clips
I save your memories and
take them with me wherever
I go and they will be the
bullets in the gun I point
to the motherfuckers
when their time comes

____________

 

In loving memory to Suicidal Joe, former drummer of Amentia, founder of Skaters Versus Society AKA Suicidal Venice Skaters, and one of the realest punks in the entire San Fernando Valley. SVS C/S!

Suicidal Joe

he was a punk and a skater
with the words SUICIDAL
tattooed on his lower back
in homage to his favorite
band, Suicidal Tendencies

he was half-white and mexican
reluctantly admitting being
half-white in a mostly mexican
neighborhood

we would ditch school and just
stay in his room, getting high
and drunk, while his mother
and step-father would smoke
a carton of Marlboro Reds
on the dirty, old couch
in the living room
watching TV

we always found enough money
to black out on gin or vodka
and beer, paired with whatever
drugs we could get at that moment
often pills and acid, sometimes coke
if we had the money

his room was covered in
Insane Clown Posse and
Suicidal Tendencies posters
and ash trays, guitars, amps
and a drum set, which Joe
would play and we would
reluctantly allow him to play
in our bands that mostly
just existed in his room

One day sitting down in his room
prank-calling his then-girlfriend
saying he had been killed by a bus
while riding his skateboard
hearing her cry, us too numb
on drugs, alcohol and nihilism
to care, I had awoken 23 years later
sitting in a room in Watts
not a single beer or liquor bottle
or drugs in sight, save the psych meds
going on five years clean now
a stack of recovery books half-read
remembering how joe and his
family had to move for some reason
unable to remember why through
the dense cigarette fog of memory
but i heard that he had found god
and heroin, both which would
eventually claim him

we found each other skating
we stayed with each other because
of the secret, unspoken pain we held in
a love forged in trauma and poverty
but also because of music, even though
and I can finally confess this now
that you’re gone, but I’m sorry man
Insane Clown Posse fucking sucks

Mike James

Posted in Mike James with tags on December 5, 2022 by Scot

 

Maturity

Younger, I read signs, stayed off grass, picked no wild or house flowers
Older, I made my own signs of printed, block letter warnings
Now, I ignore instructions, forget absolutes, and give up old thoughts of home

__________

It’s All So Brief

No more afternoon naps
Sweet, gauzy fantasies to wake from
No more magazines, well-travelled postcards,
Bookmarks, questionable motel beds
No more 2 am hemorrhoids even
No more after dinner holding-forth to impress friends, forbear silence
No purpose for ties, shoestrings, tomorrow’s shadows

__________

Five Beds

The Rainmaker’s Bed
The head is in a desert mirage
The foot is in another mirage

The Summer Bed
The sheets are white linen
A beach is nearby
So there’s sand in the sheets
No one minds when happy

The Pillow Bed
Think of accordions
Playing on silence

The Winter Bed
It’s heavy like winter
You sleep beneath white snow & a black bear
The bear won’t wake until spring
The bear is warm beside the snow

The Canopy Bed
No one can paint on the ceiling
From a canopy bed

Pris Campbell

Posted in Pris Campbell with tags on December 5, 2022 by Scot

 

 

Unexpected Changes

He rides his bike daily
down the cul de sac
past our house, this half-man
half-boy the kids call retardo.

He doesn’t seem to notice.

I think of when my own legs
pumped my bike over
the waterway, then north
past Mar A Lago when Trump
with his private club Beach Boys concerts
was still failing in his attempt
to break into that Palm Beach haven
of old money.

The bike route dead ends
at the inlet where our sailboat
entered one rainy midnight returning
from the pink and yellow house
covered upper abacos.

My balance held me in good stead
on both bike and boat,
rather then bouncing off of walls
unless grasping a chair
or waving my arms like someone
on a balance beam.

I miss the sweet smell of grass
when I mowed, soil under my nails,
driving to the store for a sack of coal
to grill chicken with the neighbors.
I miss long chats, longer kisses.
Gone, all gone.

My brain, once an A plus, falls
to an F after short chunks of concentration.
The teacher is strict.
My body buckles, a knight trapped
in a welded-on suit of armor.
I topple, exhausted, into chairs or bed.
My fork weighs a ton.

So many doctors….but in those earlier
days of this inexplicable illness called
myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
that has taken me captive, I’m told
it’s emotional, that I’m depressed….
even ridiculed by a smug faced neurologist.
I long for the hand of my always-kind,
dead childhood doctor.

Thirty-two years now chained to my house,
but not a thief like Marley, friends gone
around corners I can’t follow. I write poems
from this twilight zone of life’s curve ball, play games
with memory. I dream the sea calls my name
and I fall into the surf. Sirens carry me
to new shores where nails from
this crucifixion are at last extracted
and I trace steps down long paths
always hoped for but never taken.

Linnet Phoenix

Posted in Linnet Phoenix with tags on December 5, 2022 by Scot

 

Writing the Sunrise

violet, you had once said,
was the colour of the sun
in the most beautiful sunset
you ever yet witnessed,
overlooking a beach
thousands of miles past

this morning, as I left you
above fields of powder-milk mist,
the sun was blood orange
in a violet mixing-bowl sky,
in an ocean trench of purples
where the clouds held secrets
in mauve shadows of their eyes,
& it was painfully in the now

I didn’t stop to try to photograph
the blush of the clouds’ undersides,
or the pastel smudges of pink
that reminded me of you
drawing fly algaric in a pre-dawn
moment of your inspiration

I remembered, in the witching hour,
wanting to part the ghosts of cloud,
to rearrange those seven sisters
with my cool fingertips raised up
as I prepared to crumble constellations,
&, as you smiled in the dark,
I could have sworn I tasted ultraviolet

Matt Borczon

Posted in Matt Borczon with tags on December 5, 2022 by Scot

 

post
deployment

hard
to
feel
when
you’re
hearts
a
gun

Tohm Bakelas

Posted in Tohm Bakelas with tags on November 11, 2022 by Scot

 

september night, october morning

She buys Sensodyne for my sensitive
teeth and a new blue toothbrush
because my old one was used
to clean crud from beneath
her son’s dirty fingernails…

At night we crack windows open
just enough to taste autumn,
just enough for the room to
grow cold for our bodies
to become one in sleep.

And in the morning
we begin the day
by making love.

Afterwards we talk
about life before
eating breakfast
around one pm.

____________

 

autumn blues

i don’t require much—
just the occasional poem,
maybe just a bird or two,
perhaps most definitely you,
but it isn’t easy for me
when it all leaves.

and if i had to pick
only one to keep,
it’d be simple,
it’d be you.

____________

 

somewhere in a dream

It is mid-October, another brisk
morning. Outside smells of
decaying leaves. December’s
icy fingers tighten around your
throat. Your breath dances in
white porch light. Unseen cars
are heard on distant highways.
And you taste dying chimney
smoke from neighbors’ homes.

You remember your childhood
years, reminiscing all the good
times with friends you no longer
see—raking leaves and jumping
into giant piles, carving pumpkins,
trick-or-treating, runny noses, horror
movies, and school breaks.

You dream of some place you
can all be together that isn’t
somewhere in a dream.

But then your kids call your name.
You’re thirty minutes late to work,
and still standing on your porch.

Gabriel Bates

Posted in Gabriel Bates with tags on November 11, 2022 by Scot

 

 

Oakley

I’m watching
my kids play
at the park,
and I can’t help
but think to myself,
“how in the hell
can these two
perfect things
exist in the same world
that created nuclear bombs
and climate catastrophe
and all the rest?”

I mean,
the news shows me
what’s wrong
with the world
almost every day.

but right now
all I can see
is my son
running toward me
with a stick
in one hand
and a bunch of hope
in the other.

Edward L. Canavan

Posted in Edward L. Canavan with tags on November 11, 2022 by Scot

 

 

lonely heart pines

follow the tire tracks
swerving across the empty field

down around the bend
just beyond the break

you’ll see all the signals unread

the bridge may still be burning,
but cross it anyway

there you’ll find me

head in hands
heart on sleeve

wondering why
i ever left.

_____

 

Edward L. Canavan is a Los Angeles based poet whose work has most recently
been published in Poetry Quarterly, Cholla Needles, and Spillwords.
His second poetry collection entitled “Protest and Isolation” was
released by Cyberwit Press in July 2020.
Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, he currently resides in North Hollywood,
California, where he practices Buddhism and listens to Son House.

Cord Moreski

Posted in Cord Moreski with tags on November 9, 2022 by Scot

 

Teenage Wasteland
for Tohm Bakelas

Eighteen is a few hours away
and with that you’ll leave

with only a high school education
a duffle bag full of clothes

a Greyhound schedule
you’ve memorized for months

and pay saved from washing dishes
and scrubbing away at shit stains in toilet bowls

your mother will be too busy
snorting oxy on the dinner table to notice

your stepfather too hungover to challenge
your manliness to another fistfight

you raise the volume on your radio
and hum along to the music playing

but not too loud
while you glance over your shoulder

then back out your bedroom window
into the quiet, inviting night.

Tim Peeler

Posted in Tim Peeler with tags on November 9, 2022 by Scot

Wood

The ghosts are wandering,
Searching for the concrete floored
Wooden hulls of the factory ships
Tailing ripsaws or driving dowel pins,
Operating a Carolina machine
Setting a limited range of patterns
For legs and arms and seats
Upholstering, sewing,
Carrying that shit into trucks
Three hacks high in summer heat.
The ghosts are looking for missing fingers
For the dope truck pulled into the parking lot
Set your watch by it at 9 AM
For bosses who shit themselves
Over a nickel raise
Then sent a minute-man
To speed up the line.
The ghosts pass through abandoned mills
Like wind over fallow fields
Hunting for all that beautiful furniture
They made but could never afford.

____________

Freddie

He wanted to be a trucker
And he spent most of the time
In his classes emulating
An accelerating tractor truck
With an endless number of gears.
His voice was a cross between
A hillbilly growl and blue tic howl.
When he downshifted
His school desk shook,
The Beta Club girl with cat eye glasses
Who would one day marry him,
Giving him her exasperation face.
By third period he’d had a workout
Having driven through a selected reading
Of Macbeth and a sociological survey
To determine the state of one’s
Familial dynamics,
So he lay his head on his open
World History book
Cheek to cheek with
A Roman emperor
And dreamed a Peterbilt technicolor dream
Honking his horn at every stocky country boy
Who raised his hand in that universal sign,
And the miles and days rolled by
Over and under him
Till he turned 16.

It was so Quiet in the Room

All you could hear was
Two poets
Discussing
Their Pushcart nominations.