« Posts tagged poetry

A Muffled Beep Beside Me

Is the title of a poem that debuted in print along with the editorial brilliance [compliment directed towards the team with whom I had the good fortune of working, BTW] in Giuseppina magazine 21 : The Acceptance Issue.

And not that you asked . . . but yes : In my continued assault against the expected, this piece was composed in a form not open but rather fixed, or — despite how deliciously perverse I consider usage of the term, a myriad of connotations attached to it as stead-fast as a spiked cilice to the inner thigh of an Opus Deistrict.

By no means is it my intention to imply that free verse is inferior, but rather familiar. Hence, exploring the paradoxical freedoms of composing within a limited; i.e., formal poetic structure . . . namely, one of my own creation? Oftentimes the experience is nothing short of numinous.

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numinous (adj.) : describing an experience that makes one fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted — the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired

Alive, Within The Spaces Amid Love

Nice to kick off the new year with a reminder that Cottonmouth Kisses hasn’t . . . well, you know : kicked it. In this case, thanks to the blog The Spaces Amid Love for posting an excerpt from the poem “Danielle, I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You.”

And since it’s been a while since this little bugger‘s inception, here are a few Cottonmouth Kisses reviews . . . “For Your Convenience.” : Via Marcus Pan of Legends MagazineKevin Killian of Small Press TrafficAra Taylor for The Bellingham HeraldCara Bruce of The San Francisco Bay GuardianRichard Davis for The Lambda Literary Review [ previously Lambda Book Report ] † Cathi Unsworth of Bizarre Magazine

Thanks, all!

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Dead Letters ; Twenty-Six Are

A new poem, published in Incurable Disorder : The Art of Elizabeth McGrath [Last Gasp] . . .

Composed in a strict poetic form I created, the details of which can be found HERE. ⟣ Thanks!

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National Poetry Month Continues : with Justin Chin

Back When I Knew Who I Was 

i was content to spend my afternoons
wondering what co-dependent meant
not realizing that those lazy
humid daylight hours was better  
spent figuring out the physics
of dependency and codeine dreams

back when i knew who i was
i was much better than i ever thought i was
i could conjugate fuck like nobody’s business
       fuck me, fuck you, fuck it, fuck him, fuck her
       fuck them, fuck yourself, holy fuck, goddamnfuckit

i could shovel dead pets off the driveway
     that my aunt ran over on her way to choir practice
     and not shed a single tear
i could choke down every family fight about money,
every caning that would come for no reason after those fights,
every time we were forced to go to my rich relatives for dinner and we’d
find ourselves in the kitchen cooking and doing the dishes.

i believed i knew the meaning of alcohol
i believed i knew how to get out of every scrap
i believed i wasn’t gonna make 25
i believed in 18 molecules of carbon
21 molecules of hydrogen
3 oxygen and one fab nitrogen
all in a sweet mixture enough to make me
feel like jennifer beals in flashdance
twirling my ass
in front of the snotty audition,
praying for a stinking place in 
the dance-a-thon of actuality

back when my balls were the size of brazil
and my ego was the size of the antarctica
and my courage was the size of phlegm
i learned to trust few people
learned to want little
and to need even less
i learned to say “FUCK IT”

with such ease and venom
the most cynical rattlesnake
would have its underbelly turn emerald
in two seconds flat.

you could wake to find yourself in some sweet danger,
in some piss-flavored version of addiction
designed to make up for lost time,
lost ideals, lost lovers, lost causes, lost saviours
but -shit- these days,
all i find is myself back when i was
back in the conga line of perpetual desire
the territory of an incessant need
i crave my one habit of a good man
and i want to secede from
the grip of addiction philosophy,
from the colony of “i should’ve known better”

fuck that 12-step thing, i say,
i like to keep my options open
and i like having the option
to get absolutely fucked up
when i feel like it,
and not feel like i fucked up, dammit.

do things change that much?
can some stupid sign from the almighty
whip you right around?
maybe i should be looking for visions of jesus
in billboards of spaghetti sauce,
visions of buddha in men’s semen,
maybe i’ll be a much better person
if i knew who i was when i knew who i was
but who the fuck do i think i am?
i can’t even piss straight into the bowl,
can’t even tell my lover that i want to cook him
breakfast for the rest of my life,
can’t even cross against the light,
     (ooh, walk to the light, walk to the light….)
can’t pay my bills on time nor balance my checkbook
can’t dance, can’t mosh,
can’t get fucked up like i used to, not that i want to anyway
can’t take it like a man, whatever that means.

all i can is kiss who i was
back when i knew who i was
goodbye, one great big tongue smooch
and wish him a good journey
as he walks to the light
and falls off the edge of the earth
and into a peaceful hell.

i’ll meet up with him later.

Justin Chin, from Bite Hard
     Manic D Press, 1997

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And Up Next, In Honor of National Poetry Month : Sparrow 13 Laughingwand

from the anthology Signs of Life [ Manic D Press : 1994 ]
as well as Hell Soup [ Manic D : 1996 ], Sparrow’s collected works, self-described as “ranging from Hillbilly childhood to savage sissy.”

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In Celebration of National Poetry Month : Gazpacho by Michelle Tea

1:30 a.m. gazpacho in my room
red and green and tasting
like tucson like too much
parsley and cocktails on
the porch, mezcal, tastes
like tequila someone played
a trick on we bought it cheap
in mexico two bottles per gringo
over the border gazpacho and
burritos enough to feed the
neighborhood and i did because
the neighborhood was crashing
at my house showing up at sunset
to eat at my cinderblock table but
it was cool i could afford it could
afford to pay rent buy groceries buy
jugs of red wine to get them all drunk
bongs of pot to keep them all stoned and
gas tank full for road trips i
was making lots of cash and we were all
cool liberal fuck liberal we were
radical, anarchist cookbook beside
the moosewood cookbook on our bookshelf we
knew all about things like the
distribution of wealth and like i said i
was making tons of money and they weren’t
making any they were unemployed because
finding work is hard or they’re students of
in the emergency stage of the sexual abuse thing or
some other piece of laziness doctored up as
politics you know capitalism blah blah blah so
i was supporting an ever-changing band of lethargic
sunbathing potheads because i was making so much
money and yeah i was making it by leaving my body
so that strange men could fill it like a kind of
demon spirit but fuck it was my choice no gun
to my head no linda lovelace scene here and
i was really into communal living and we were all
such free spirits, crossing the country we were
nomads and artists and no one ever stopped
to think about how the one working class housemate
was whoring to support a gang of upper middle class
deadheads with trust fund safety nets and connecticut
childhoods, everyone was too busy processing their
isms to deal with non-issues like class
and besides,
you don’t think rich families have problems
you don’t think rich families have secret rapes and
alcoholic dads and feed their kids bad food with
sugar and preservatives i mean when you
get right down to it we’re all just humans,
all on the same path to destruction because
our mother earth is being raped (is it ok
if we borrow that term from your
oppression, it’s reall powerful) anyway,
the class trip is just divide and conquer,
blood money is just a redundant phrase and all work
is prostitution, right? and it’s just so cool
how none of them have hang-ups about
sex work they’re all real
open-minded real
revolutionary you know
the legal definition of pimp is
one who lives off the earnings of
a prostitute, one or five or
eight and i’d love to stay and
eat some of the stir fry i’ve been cooking
for y’all but i’ve got to go fuck
this guy so we can all get stoned and
go for smoothies tomorrow, save me
some rice, ok?

Michelle Tea

from the anthology Signs of Life [ Manic D Press : 1994 ]
as well as The Beautiful [ Manic D : 2003 ], a collection of Tea’s poetry

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It’s National Poetry Month . . . Shake The Dust.

“This is for the hard men
Who want love
But know that it won’t come
For the ones
Who are forgotten
The ones for whom the Amendments do not stand up for
For the ones who are told to speak
Only when you are spoken to
And they’re never spoken to
Speak
Everytime you stand
So you do not forget yourself…”

 

Anis Mojgani

 

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Rubaiyat For Rocky

Repeat of the screen grab, except with linkage in working order : “Rubaiyat For Rocky” is from the book Cottonmouth Kisses. Thanks to Beauty Nursed On Darkness for the spiffy lay-out / introduction to the Tumblrsphere.

Apologies for the didactic, but simply “For Those Whom” . . . [blah blah blah]

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My Contribution To Paleolithic Swishin’ and Dishin’

Details about the project/anthology in which it appears
And nerdy stuff about the form in which was written “beneath the cut”. . .

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Only Pictures

Mad gratitude to Beauty Nursed On Darkness for the post [ditto 115 Tumblrers, for the notes!] Much appreciated, indeed . . .

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Millennial Love Story

Thanks to Beauty Nursed On Darkness for the blog post, and to The Battered Suitcase, where the poem first appeared.

For information about the form in which this piece was written, please click HERE.
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For Kathy, Upon Reading The Village Voice [ February 23, 1976 ]

Performance. The performative.
I need more performance art in my life.

Reading this clipping sped my pulse, made me feel
both as if I were a spectator and a participant in the event.
[ Each is the other, ultimately. ]

A nod to your ghost, Kathy Acker…

I never told you that several lifetimes ago, back when I lived
in a dry county in Nowheresville, Arkansas —
so eager to claw out of that place
the tips of my fingers ached

I stole a San Francisco telephone book from the local library
[ planning, as it were, my ’ great escape ’ ] and
was so stunned to see your name / number listed, I
had to call and confirm you were you.

Sorry I hung up, but not-so-sorry
Caller I.D. didn’t exist yet in that
ancient history

What…I don’t know what else
I could or would’ve said

My favorite writers, artists :
I guess I view them the way most people do “rock stars.”

Even the term ‘rock and roll’ induces eye-rolling on this end, but
I’d stomp my feet and raise a lighter
for an encore

of your life, for
your life cut short —

This world is a cancer : it eats everything
precious, everything
every thing

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Because We Ain’t Simple And Love Ain’t Simple

TWO FREAKS IN A MEAN GOD’S SWEATY FIST

next morning over grits and aspirin
i remembered          jack oh shit honey
i can’t believe i fuckin did that
convulsive recall cut through whiskey obscurity
like the knife
my knife in my hand and jack grinnin it off       just us
friday night drunk again except i was pitbull furied
about a blank spot
i was holdin’ up steel to my lover
i was serious
what do you mean he asked me at the table
so i had to say before god and my coffee
i threatened to cut you last night didn’t i man
more sorries and panicky lovetalk started runnin out of me
until the grin came back        he said oh
that’s right    i’d forgotten all about it      he held that little smile
so long i wanted to scream motherfucker but  i started cryin
instead
he’d been as loaded as me        didn’t know what issue
brought together me and him and the knife and something mad
enough to shank eight years of us
somethin that backed down when he just said
you know sparrow if i felt like it
i could get really pissed of about this            the movie stopped
there for both of us
he was holdin me while i came apart again
me and him know each other clear
to the marrowbones and black mirrors by now
me and him go on anyway
eight years or twenty thousand
sparrow and jack is the road we’re goin down
without a simple love poem in sight
because we ain’t simple and
love ain’t simple
love has vicious motherfucker midnights curled up waitin in it
like when we were naked makin war words
about how if
ordinary common people are shit and i hate everyone
i must hate him too
right then i did but he was the one
who said i hate you first and got up to leave
i gave him my back like the finger      told him thanks
for tellin me one piece of truth tonight anyway
and i would have said more but he kicked me off the bed
before i could and if love was somethin simple
it would have busted like a wine bottle right there
it took us two days to cry about it together
but that man has hands that make me forget sometimes
how much i hate my body
that man can keep tellin’ me after the first thousand
times i told him that was a
goddamn lie
that man is as smart as me and too weird to ever be boring
with his head full of politics and priestcraft and philosophical
terrors
he can tell me about because i’ve got em too
me and him know each other all right
it’s our damnation to
it’s our damnation to know that hate walks beside love
like a shadow that has teeth
it’s our damnation each to live in the other’s
valley of flames
because our demons are crazy drunk
on love for each other
the same way we are
two freaks in a mean god’s sweaty fist
it’s our damnation practiced to perfection
we’ve done it for years
we’ve done it for lifetimes and some of ‘em ended like this
could have
but we keep comin’ back
we’ve got stuff that ruins us for anyone else
we need each other’s weirdness and rage like dope
it ain’t simple           it’s got thorns
it’s got roots that wrap around bones and boulders
all the way to the heart of the earth
sparrow and jack is the road we’re goin’ down
together in this poem
this car with the back seat full of monsters
that were always driving drunk
the hit of murder keeps us awake for the ride
sparrow and jack it the road that starts and ends
in the worlds we have where the other one is the only man alive
and those are worlds
big enough for all the pain we throw around
because we’re men and we can’t help it
all we can do is wrap our arms around love
even and especially when it smells like shit and looks like
the black sponge soaked in blood at
the center of trust’s shattered bones
and around each other after the storms die down

—Sparrow 13 Laughingwand

from Hell Soup: The Collected Writings [ Manic D ]

*Please note: some line breaks “auto-corrected” by WordPress.
[ Apologies, Apologies ]

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DRESSED TO THE TEETH

I have tired of my face pressed
to the windowpane staring watching
waiting gazing at this bloody month
of winter unwinding itself before me
pumping lost love letters and
lipstick stains on private parts
in its flow I
have tired
of it
I am tired
so I shamelessly step
from a life lived by
scrupulous selection into
the apocalyptic fury
outside inside: a
cinematic panshot
the remains of myself given over
to frosty pink lipglossed hookers skirting
about in see-through blouses and
micro spandex wrappers slit
to the curve of ass cheeks jiggling in
twenty-five dollar anticipation of
some john who’d like a snack to eat
I’m the only one who seems to
be paying either attention or them
and I want to brush my teeth
brushing off a Suzy Wrong with
a flyspecked complexion who
can barely speak English
pleading “you want sucky-
fucky?” and poking her
chopsticked fingers at me
my boots shuffle by
dry on chipped concrete the
sidewalk cracks resembling
veins lonely for someone’s teeth
I make it to my fluorescent-
lit mailbox and
laugh as if I’m mocking
the whole codependent
romantic notion, trying to
pretend I don’t know damn
well that yesterday’s date
was February thirteenth
Valentine’s Day licks its
vampire chops and
drools ropes of red tar like
severed arteries
my stomach churns with
nervousness as I stick
my mailbox with the stake-
shaped key and twist
and turn and
peek inside its
guts there’s
an offering of a single
crimson-colored
square piece of paper which
I yank out like an abortion
and head back across
the street toting
the casket of red death
beneath my arm and
grinning shit at the call girls’ hissing
“Here, kitty kitty” my
thoughts are frisky-frenzied and
distant my heart races with
all the possibilities of an empty-
cornered envelope
the intoxication of remembrances
an address to return to and
memories to address
with an abbreviated
version of a smirk curled
in the corners of my mouth
I shove my thumbnail unseal
pry but what I find
inside yanks my tongue
out and smashes
my ribcage from the
impact of that pot-bellied bastard
cupid sprawled out on
a generic greeting card
the message “I’ve got an eye
on your sweet tooth, Valentine”

streamlined in the shape of
an arrow and “Best Wishes
from Dr. Stepka, d.d.”
some-
thing-or-other down
at the bottom the
sweet slogan in script letters
words that
curl and close themselves
around me:
all my living breathing something
turning nothing, empty-
gutted like last year’s
heart-shaped cardboard box,
a shell that once housed
chocolate treats now
graveyard of past lovers and friends
packed to the hilt
I stiffen with the ghostlike
reminder that love
is a noose
dimly or definitely or
disguised like
those letters of “Best
Wishes…”
are lies
in peppermint-colored curlicued drag
to drag a sucker in but
then again I’ve
never even cared about
the trumped-up sweetheart
scene, have always known that
bit is
no disease for me
I head towards my
place, cut out
scissor-stepping hard and
brisk and cold
a rapid streak so
quick I can’t unveil or even see
the emptiness of dark mascara-
clustered eyes surrounding couldn’t
can’t be anything
like me
I step
feel the whirring of flared nostrils
step and
force a smile
I step
sway my arms as if I’ve got snake-
eyes beneath my sleeves
because being sincere
solves nothing
I step and
step and make
it to my stoop and
solve my problem of the moment
by leaving it behind:
Valentine’s Day a past
now passed
shot down like
this gunpowder night that
sighs with its
softbound sounds from the gutter
wheezes coughs and
spits out a slit-
stained backdrop for
a crumbling city
St. Valentine’s a
myth forgotten a
false belief outgrown
like training bras or hopes
for true love treadmarked
by the sole of my shoes
that step
I step and
for a second before I kiss
the delusion smack-dab on the lips,
I am afoot with
reaching my remembrances
dressed to the teeth
in fabulous

vacancy

Clint Catalyst, from the book Cottonmouth Kisses

Thanks to Beauty Nursed on Darkness for the post!
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From The Vaults : Spectre Magazine, Issue Six

with Tina Root
[ vocalist : Switchblade Symphony, Tre Lux, Small Halo ]

a tear sheet from Spectre,
one of the underworld’s most exquisite publications

[ founded/produced by Jennifer Chen ]

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Switchblade Symphony, Clint Catalyst, Spectre magazine, goth, gothic

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