Archive for poetry

Three Poems by Alan Catlin

Posted in Alan Catlin with tags on October 23, 2017 by Scot

Branch Water

They liked it neat with
Rebel Yell shooter backs,
they said, expecting to get
a laugh.

They usually did.

They had reputations as,
cowboys with a hard on
for the world, that needed
to be upheld.

Fighting was what they
enjoyed most, what they did
best, though they would take
the odd woman if one was
around.

There usually was.

The places they hung out in
always had women who went
for Real Men.

Men who traveled with concealed
weapons, loaded gun racks
and a couple of cases of chilled
Lone Star.

You never knew.

Partying for them was a kind
of religion, was never dull,
was script grist for prime time
TV shows and novels with
named like Midnight Texas
and Living Dead Texas Style.

Swore they had sex with
demons and vampires.

Had the scars to prove it
though the puncture wounds
they were so proud of were
from the business end of a
long handled fork used at
a BBQ gone as wrong as
cookout could

and the scratches on their backs
were from messing with razor
wire fences on walls they had
no good reason to be trying
to scale.

Every roadhouse along a
hundreds of mile flat line
carried Branch or they’d know
the reason why.

Just put a bottle on the bar,
lay out a long row of Yell
and duck.

That wasn’t the name of an
actual drink yet but it would
be soon.

_____________

The Drowning Pool

This is how it begins:
a sedan through underbrush
up against a tree, a steaming
radiator, full moon reflected on
a lake, driver’s side door sprung
open, air bag deployed, blood in
the ruts where grass should be

This is how the movie proceeds:
a hand held camera shakily following
path of car downhill as in every horror
movie ever made. Feet cracking dead
sticks as they go. Pant legs scraping
against shrubbery, scattering leaves.
Hands moving obstacles impeding
progress. Rhythmic, labored breathing,
and the sound of a radio not quite tuned
into a station playing what might have
been country and western music in
another life.

The man from the car stumbling toward
the lake. His button down dress shirt
torn at the shoulder, blood splatters
on once white cloth. Trouser legs
ripped to the knee, to the thigh, soiled
from contact with wet forest floor.
An open head wound free flowing
down unnaturally pale face. Eyes
trying to focus on what lies ahead,
conscious of what follows behind.

This is where the stationery camera
focuses on the moon on the water,
establishing a shot contrasting to what
is about to happen on the shoreline-pursuer
making contact with the man from the car.
Thrashing on shore then a splash.
Then another, louder splash and a muffled
voice speaking words that make no sense.
Red bold type letters superimposed on
the once again tranquil scene:
The Drowning Pool. Unrated.
What happens next is up to you.
_____________

 

Locked Outside the Doors of Perception with
The Memphis Blues Again

True sailing is dead.

For the music is your special friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your special friend
Until the end…
–J. Morrison

After hours, outside some forlorn
whiskey bar, some go go club, their
lack of focus suggests one too many
Alabama Slammers for the road,
too many close encounters of the mosh
pit kind, low grade concussions with
a down-the-drain spiral in their eyes.
Their spiked heels and platform shoes
betray them, making walking part of
the impossible dream of their lives.
That dream where they could time
machine transport themselves back
into LA in the Summer of Love
where their only goal in life would
be to gain admittance to whatever
bar The Doors were playing and fuck
The Lizard King senseless. On stage
if necessary: all the unfiltered spot
lights hot and focused, the pot smoke
raw and thick as china white and
plain rot gut neat consumed in the hold
or on the burning deck of a ghost boat
sailing off the charts to nowhere,
moonlight in their eyes, powdered
crystal for brains.

____________

Alan Catlin won the 2017 Slipstream Chapbook Contest with his “movie book” Blue Velvet. Next up in the series, Hollyweird, a chapbook to be published by Night Ballet Press.

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necessary illusions by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on October 23, 2017 by Scot

—I am tired. My heart is sick & sad. From where the sun now stands in the
sky, I will fight no more forever… Chief Joseph–Nez Perce

standing just out of range of a street lamp
i watch the shadows of tree branches
move along the empty avenue
almost every night
i come to stare at this vacant lot
the spot
where the lighthouse baptist church once stood

i open the back door to my mind
& dream-walk through the wreckage
scattered
across the floor of my memory

one drunken saturday night in 1985
my father
lonely for god
broke into the little wooden sanctuary
& doused the whole place
with gasoline
then he took a seat
in the front pew
lit a lucky strike
& burnt the son-of-a-bitch
down around his ears
the last “zippo party”

i don’t know
when my father’s heart
turned as black
as a piece of granite
from that sad “wall”
but most of his last days
were used up in a rage

when the whiskey was talking
the old man raved about
“search & destroy” patrols
wiping out entire vietnamese villages–
when there was no one left to waste
the cigarette lighters were thumbed open
& everything standing
was burnt to the ground
“zippo party”
a few more ‘dink’ hearts & minds pacified

there was a time
when i believed
my father was a hero

there was a time
when i believed
in simple right & wrong

there was a time
when i believed
in america

there was a time
when i believed
in all of the “necessary illusions”

enough to put my soul on the line
enough to go out
& confront things
i did not understand

another war
tied to another lie

bent under the weight of things
that can never be set right
i slide a shaky right hand
inside my jacket pocket
& retrieve a half-pint of i.w. harper
i raise a toast
to the lighthouse baptist church

a cold breeze sends
dead leaves skittering
along the gutter

i stare up the street
to where the white lines
are swallowed by the darkness

“vanishing point”

somewhere a lost dog howls
i step from the curb
a windblown bird
into the crazy night

 

Letting Go by Ben Rasnic

Posted in Ben Rasnic with tags on October 23, 2017 by Scot

I believe that somewhere
a Spanish sports commentator
is still shouting “GOAL!”
for a shot made in 2007

and that somewhere
in a crowded sports bar
“tastes great!” and “less filling!”
continues to echo in the din.

I believe that somewhere
a place still exists
where it is still cool to say,
“Keep on truckin”

and that somewhere
Rob Lowe is actively
morphing new personalities
who still have cable.

I believe that somewhere
in an underground dwelling
in the Phillipines a Japanese soldier
remains ever vigilant

and that somewhere
my first love is happy
and healthy and occasionally
grasps a kind memory of me

because sometimes
it’s hard
to let go.

OVER-SLEEPING by John D Robinson

Posted in John D Robinson with tags on September 22, 2017 by Scot

Fucked if I can remember
his name but he was an old,
ugly and wiry muscle
bearded fellow who told
me that he’d be woken
by the voices of a guy and
girl screaming at one
another at 02:30 am:
‘I opened up the window
of my room overlooking
the street, 3 floors up and
shouted: HEY! Stop that
screaming at each other,
I haven’t fucked
anything for over 20
years and if you don’t
stop arguing and go home
now and fuck then I
will come down there
and fuck the both of you!’
‘That was a fair call’
I said ‘How’d it go?’
‘I overslept’ he said.

Two Poems by Mather Schneider

Posted in Mather Schneider with tags on September 22, 2017 by Scot

FILL IN THE BLANK

In third grade, us kids were given a piece of paper
to teach us about similes, and thus
to understand life better.

On the paper were written things like:

“________ is as green as grass.”

And

“It was as hot as ________.”

We were to fill in the blanks.
At the end of the page we were to invent our
own similes completely from scratch.

For my own simile, I wrote:
“Tony Posino smells as bad as a garbage can.”

Tony Posino was a big kid in our class
who liked to beat up other kids and threaten us
and steal our stuff
and it was true he smelled
like a garbage can.

I turned in my paper and later got a note from the teacher
and he took me out
of class and had a talk with me.
He told me that was a terrible thing to say about another human being
that I should have respect for people
that others didn’t have it as good
as I did
I could not go through life with that mentality
and my parents should have taught me better.

That teacher, he really knew how
to lay it on a kid.
I felt so bad I cried.
I thought I was an evil person who would
never have any friends in my whole life
and never know the meaning
of happiness and probably end
up completely alone and then go to hell.

That teacher sat there feeling
good about himself
for correcting a wayward 8-year-old soul
while I wiped my eyes
and walked home hoping no one would see me
thinking,
stupid similes,
what good are they?

I’ve been ducking people
like him
and Tony Posino
ever since.

____________

 

MELL’S STORY

Charlie was at the Iguana drinking.
Charlie’s a Yaqui like me
but he’s blind.
He had his cane hanging on his knee
and his girlfriend Katey was there,
she’s an albino,
she’s white like you.
Well this drunk guy notices Charlie’s blind
and decides to make a move on Katey.
She’s an albino but still not bad looking.
She whispers to Charlie,
“This guy’s getting close,”
and Charlie whispers back, “How close?”
And she says, “Real close, he’s right there.”
“Right there?” Charlie says.
“Yeah, right THERE.”
Charlie stands up real slow
and stares straight ahead with those milky eyes
and he reaches around Katey
and grabs the guy by the neck with one hand
and hauls him out the door.
It was about three in the afternoon
and we all followed him to watch.
Charlie had the guy pinned on the sidewalk
and he says, “You had enough? You had enough?”
And the guy grunts something, you know
and Charlie lets loose
and we all go back inside and leave the guy there.
He wasn’t really hurt bad.
Now, I’ll admit
a one-armed guy beat me at pool one time
at Skinny’s Pub
and I like Charlie and no disrespect
but if I got my ass kicked by a blind guy
I would be so embarrassed
I don’t think I’d EVER go back in that bar again.
But, this dumb-ass just came back in ten minutes later
like nothing happened.
But he didn’t do nothing that time.
He just sat at a table
by the wall
and rubbed his eyes.

Three poems by Bradley Mason Hamlin

Posted in Bradley Mason Hamlin with tags on September 22, 2017 by Scot

Cat Piss & Vodka

Listening
to “Disco in Moscow”
by the Vibrators

I find
a matchbook
on the floor
in my office

I discover
many strange
things
on the flooring
of my headquarters

but
I don’t smoke
so
I picked it up

smelling vaguely
like cat piss

not me,
the matches

from
Black Sparrow
with a Bukowski poem
printed
on the backside

about
running
with the hunted

well done,
and this poem
won’t be as good
as that one

but
Hank isn’t able
at the moment
to drink
iced vodka

and
not quite
give a fuck.

____________

Bukowski Haiku

 

Bukowski beaten
but better than Kerouac
beaten but not beat.

____________

California Jungle

Listening
to punk rock
on the backyard
patio

she
soaks up the shine
in a polka dot bikini
while drinking
a beer from Chico

45 Grave
soundtracks the sun

as I read
Tarzan and the Golden Lion
(our Bengal kitten
stalks the veldt
of our lawn …)

just
as Burroughs
cries forth with epic
cruel world passion:

“… he placed one foot
upon the carcass of his kill
and raised his voice in
the terrifying victory cry
of the apes of Kerchak.”

the kill
in this case,
a lion

as
the jungle cat’s claws
chased
a crazy sexy hot
jungle princess

an
evil wicked beast
deserving of
the spear of destiny

if only
every
kill
could be so
clean

never destroy
that which doesn’t
need destruction

simple, right?

like,
totally, deep
thoughts …

from
the brown bottle
bottom

and
on this warm California
summer day,
north of Tarzana

you’re welcome.

 

The Hijacking of America 2016 by Ben Rasnic

Posted in Ben Rasnic with tags on September 22, 2017 by Scot

 

Avaricious right wing evangelicals
and megalomaniacal pseudo-politicians,
brothers & sisters
from the same shared womb,
the same blue blood lines,
the same empty eyes
casting cattle stares
into carnival mirrors
rippling grandiose apparitions
depicting the chosen one.

Performing mass hypnosis
at circus tent revivals & paid participant rallies
they spin assorted tricks up the sleeve
pick pocketing collection plates
with sleight of hand
artistry conjuring up a carefully contrived
name & face of the enemy,
having baited weak minded congregations
into a mob mentality
with the smell of fear
and dangle of shiny promises
to fix everything
and everyone
who is broken,
all the while smiling
through wolves’ teeth,
lip syncing the prelude to America
descending into darkness.