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Odd Words March 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street, Writing Workshops.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6 pm Jyl Benson and Sam Hanna bring their book FUN, FUNKY, AND FABULOUS: New Orleans’ Casual Restaurant Recipes to Octavia Books. Filled with folksy art and creative recipes from affordable restaurants captured in tantalizing photographs—with tidbits of history thrown in as lagniappe—author Jyl Benson serves up just the right taste of this fascinating and ever-evolving city. Included are neighborhood favorites such as MoPho, Purtoo, Toup’s Meatery, Lola, Bhava, and Juan’s Flying Burrito: A Creole Taqueria.

& Thursday at 7 pm the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library.

& IT’S THURSDAY NIGHT & THE GIRAFFES ARE ON FIRE…That means it’s time to call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel for a personal poetry reading! Call 504-264-1336 between 8-Midnight CST. [This copy taken directly from the Poetry Brothel Facebook page. To the best of Odd Word’s knowledge, no giraffes were harmed in the hosting of this event.]

& Friday the FREEDOM WRITING for WOMEN OF COLOR (NEW ORLEANS) group meets at a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& Friday at 9 pm brings Slam Up to The New Movement, 2706 St Claude Ave. In case you didn’t know Slam Up is kinda like “underground speakeasy meets bubblegum pop. It’s dirty, jubilant, tender and inspiring. Not exactly a comedy music set, not exactly a poetry slam, not exactly a lesbian folk duo- Slam Up is something all to itself.” -William Glen, Fringe Review.

& This Saturday brings Story Time with Miss Maureen 11:30 am at Maple Street Book Shop.

& Every Saturday at 2 pm two-time national champions Slam New Orleans (SNO) multi-part workshop for youth and teens will engage participants with poetry both through hearing it and creating their own.. Team SNO is a community-based organization and home of Team SNO. The team, established in 2008, promotes literacy, creativity and self-expression by urging youth and adults alike to become vocal about what matters to them. This The workshops are supported by Poets & Writers, Inc.

& Also at 2 pm Saturday The Poetry Buffet returns to the Latter Memorial Library from his carnival break. Poets Stacey Balkun. Elizabeth Gross, Geoff Munsterman, and Daniel Reinhold read from their work.

& Also on Saturday The Dickens Fellowship of New Orleans hosts its March meeting at the Metairie Park Country Day School’s Bright Library from 2:00-4:00 p.m. BLEAK HOUSE, Chapters 43-49 will be discussed. The New Orleans Branch of the Dickens Fellowship holds meetings September through May, reading one of the works of Charles Dickens each year. The meetings include book discussions, movie versions of the novel, and lectures by Dickens scholars. This year’s book is BLEAK HOUSE. Dues
are $25/person (couples $40) payable in September.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series celebrates the life of Sara Beth Wildflower, presented by Lisa A. Hix and Brad Ott. Bring any poems, photos or memories!followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, founded by poet Everette Maddox, is the oldest continuous poetry reading series in the south.

& Monday at 5:30 pm the Robert E. Smith branch library will host its biweekly creative writing workshop.

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books will host a Middle School Book Event, Peter Lerangis and SEVEN WONDERS #4: The Curse of the King. The adventure unfolds in this fourth book in the New York Times bestselling Seven Wonders series!

& Susan Larson, the former book editor of the former Times-Picayune newspaper and member of the National Book Critics Circle hosts The Reading Life on WWNO (89.9 FM) on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. She features interviews with authors of local and national interest. Watch Odd Words on Facebook and Google+ on Tuesdays for a complete list of her guests and features.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room

& Wednesday The Blood Jet returns too B.J.’s Lounge at 8 pm with poets Jonathan Penton and Bernd Sauermann. Penton founded the literary electronic magazine Unlikely Stories. Since then, UnlikelyStories.org has grown into a contemporary multimedia journal of sociopolitical and cultural essays, reviews, interviews, criticism, poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, movies, visual art, music, cross-media work, and first-hand tales of political and cultural activism, now known as Unlikely Stories: Episode IV. It has spawned a print and e-book subsidiary, Unlikely Books, which has published, among other things, the 418-page anthology (CD and DVD attached) Unlikely Stories of the Third Kind. Jonathan currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Unlikely Stories: Episode IV and Unlikely Books, Managing Editor for both Fulcrum and MadHat Press, and a co-ordinator for Acadiana Wordlab, a weekly literary drafting workshop in Lafayette, Louisiana. Born in Hof, Germany, Sauermann graduated in 1993 from McNeese State University with an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry). Since then, Sauermann has taught at colleges in Illinois and Vermont and currently teaches composition, literature, creative writing, and film in the Division of Fine Arts and Humanities at Hopkinsville Community College in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Sauermann was also the poetry editor at Whole Beast Rag, a now-retired online (and sometimes print) journal of art, ideas, and literature. He has a chapbook entitled Diesel Generator out from Horse Less Press (2013), and his first full-length collection, Seven Notes of a Dead Man’s Song, was released by MadHat Press at the Brooklyn Book Festival, September, 2014

& Wednesday at 6 pm The New Orleans Youth Open Mic invites all 7th-12th grade poets to come out and share their work OR support their friends as they share at Tulane University’s Lavin-Bernick Center, downstairs in Der Rathskeller Cafe. This month, we have partnered with the Tulane Black Arts Fest for a double whammy of a feature with 2 New Orleans born and now internationally renowned poets! First we have 2014 National Poetry Slam Champion, award winning educator and top tier TED Talker Clint Smith! He accompanies the legendary queen of New Orleans poetry, HBO Def Poet Sunni Patterson! This is a line up any poetry fan would swoon over! And we’re bringing it straight to the youth! Don’t miss it!

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Indigenous and Endangered August 4, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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A quick Odd Words update, because I’m an overextended idiot and forgot to list this last week. I need to hurry up and type this because for all I can remember I may have forgotten to pay the light bill. I think we’ll have to drop a wrench in the assembly line works so we can somehow slip away tonight from work, bills and book to catch this.

§ UPDATE: Not sure how I forgot this when I’m subscribed to two different Facebook reminders about it: Indigenous and Endangered: An Evening of Louisiana Poetry A Language of Conservation Program featuring Darrell Bourque, Louisana Poet Laureate plus other notable local poets: Dave Brinks, Megan Burns, Gina Ferrara, Kelly Harris, Roger Kamenetz, Brad Richard, and Jerry Ward. Wednesday, Aug. 4 (tonight, that is) from 7-9 p.m.

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy November 14, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Words fail me sometimes. One night’s worth of sleep in the last two days courtesy of the Counting House. Some days I am not sure if a better use of the newspaper is to read, or to wrap a lead pipe and beat my head with. The latter would sometimes be less painful. Maybe I should get a job with one of the city’s sanitation vendors, and let the robotic arms do all the heavy work.

Thankfully others have words for me when I have none. If this poem doesn’t cheer you up, I recommend sitting on the porch reading Bukowski and drinking absinthe until you can just make it in to set the alarm and collapse into bed. Sadly, I’ll probably be shepherding another technical conference call from hell tonight instead. We can all rest in the grave.

Dry Loaf
By Wallace Stevens

It is equal to living in a tragic land
To live in a tragic time.
Regard now the sloping, mountainous rocks
And the river that batters its way over stones,
Regard the hovels of those that live in this land.

That was what I painted behind the loaf,
The rocks not even touched by snow,
The pines along the river, and the dry men blown
Brown as the bread, thinking of birds
Flying from burning countries and brown sand shores

Birds that came like dirty water in waves
Flowing over the rocks, flowing over the sky,
As if the sky was a current that bore then along,
Spreading them as waves spread flat on the shore,
One after another washing the mountains bare.

It was the battering of drums I heard
It was hunger, it was the hungry that cried
And the waves, the waves were soldiers moving
Marching and marching in a tragic time
Below me, on the asphalt, under the trees.

It was solders went marching over the rocks
And still the birds came, came in watery flocks,
Because it was spring and the birds had to come.
No doubt that solders had to be marching
and that drums had to be rolling, rolling, rolling.

This is not hell, this is the street. October 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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I was lucky enough to see with my own eyes the recent stock-market crash, where they lost several million dollars, a rabble of dead money that went sliding off into the sea. Never as then, amid suicides, hysteria, and groups of fainting people, have I felt the sensation of real death, death without hope, death that is nothing but rottenness, for the spectacle was terrifying but devoid of greatness… I felt something like a divine urge to bombard that whole canyon of shadow, where ambulances collected suicides whose hands were full of rings.”

— Federico Garcia Lorca

New York (Office and Denunciation)

Under the multiplications,
a drop of duck’s blood;
under the divisions,
a drop of a sailor’s blood;
under the additions, a river of tender blood.
A river that sings and flows
past bedrooms in the boroughs-
and it’s money, cement or wind
in New York’s counterfeit dawn.
I know the mountains do exist.
And without wisdom’s eyeglasses,
too. But I didn’t come to see the sky.
I’m here to see the clouded blood,
the blood that sweeps machines over waterfalls
and the soul toward the cobra’s tongue.
Every day in New York, they slaughter,
four million ducks,
five million hogs,
two thousand pigeons to accommodate the tastes of the dying,
one million cows,
one million roosters
that smash the skies into pieces.

It’s better to sob while honing the blade
or kill dogs on the delirious hunts
than to resist at dawn
the endless milk trains,
the endless blood trains
and the trains of roses, manacled
by the dealers in perfume.
The ducks and the pigeons,
and the hogs and the lambs
lay their drops of blood
under the multiplications,
and the terrified bellowing of the cows wrung dry
fills the valley with sorrow
where the Hudson gets drunk on oil.

I denounce all those
who never think of the other half,
the irredeemable half,
who raise their mountains of concrete
where the hearts of little
forgotten animals beat
and where all of us will fall
in the final fiesta of jackhammers.
I spit in your faces.
That other half hears me,
eating, pissing, flying in their purity,
like the supers’ children
who take their flimsy palettes
to the holes in spaces where
insects’ antennas are rusting.
This is not hell, this is the street.
That is not death. That is the fruit stand.
There are broken rivers and distances just out of reach
in the cat’s paw smashed by a car,
and I hear the song of the worm
in the hearts of many young girls.
Rust, fermentation, earth tremors.
You yourself are earth drifting among numbers in the office
What am I going to do, put the landscapes in their right
places?
Put in good order the loves that soon turn into photographs,
that soon become pieces of wood and mouthfuls of blood?
No, no: I denounce,
I denounce the conspiracy of these deserted offices
which erase the plans of the forest,
and I offer myself as food for the cows milked empty
when their bellowings fill the valley
where the Hudson becomes drunk with oil.

Federico García Lorca, 1929-1930

(translation of the first half of the poem by Greg Simon and Steven F. White)

(translation of the second half of the poem by Galway Kinnell)

The streets are too quiet September 14, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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An old story now, but powerful and worth remembering about poet and pre-medical student Trenise Robinson When this story was published in the Washington Post in two years ago August, she and her mother were living in Baton Rouge.

Selected to attend the Hurston/Wright Writers’ Week, a prestigious summer workshop in Washington, D.C. named after the African American writers Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival folks picked up part of the tab. While there she wrote and presented this poem (a title is not given):

The streets are too quiet, no longer flashing hypnotic lights
And beckoning with its rum-soaked, flirtatious breath.
Even the horns of men who made cocktails out of rhythm
And drugs now lay rusted on my doorstep,
Their notes a mere gargle.

I sent the person I think is the author a message to her Facebook and asked her to email me and let me know where she landed, but I never got a response.

If the streets are too quiet, perhaps it is because young writers like her remain displaced.

Red Weather September 7, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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“Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather.”
–Disillusionment of 10 O’Clock
By Wallace Stevens

The houses are not haunted, as the opening of Steven’s poem says. Our’s is not the haunting of an ancient house or a lonely crossroads. The haunting is not out there somewhere in the dark. It is somewhere in here, in the dark, inside of us.

In August and September of 2005, something died deep inside of everyone who lived in or cared about New Orleans. It was an uneasy passing, like the troubled death of a suicide or a tragic young death. Some call this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but it is not. There is no “post”, no after. We watch the pictures from Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish. We hear the stories of people abandoned, of promised aid gone awry. We see the houses collapsed or washed by the flood and we remember. The ghosts we keep trying to put away wake up and grab us by the heart.

I heard those ghosts, a low sound like a tone of voice, when the evacuees spoke of their grueling journey to safety, when they called this “their last hurricane”. I hear it in the voices of my friends in the NOLA Blogger community and my older cohort of Orleanians, the people I grew up with who sat out Betsy and sweated Camille. The rest of the country has moved on once the dramatic pictures of the floodwalls overwashed were replaced by something new. New Orleans, America thinks, has once again dodged the bullet: the city did not flood.

The floodwalls of concrete and steel held, but others did not. The chaos of evacuation, our leaders panicking on TV the night before many left; the pictures of water driven to the very top of the walls while ships and barges tore loose again in the canal; and now the chaos of the return, the stories from the towns at the end of the roads along the coast, the relief supplies promised but never delivered: all of this has breached through the scar tissue, the slow rebuilding we have all gone through deep inside. Down there, where the ghosts live, we are awash.

Homecoming should be a relief but it is not. There is too much residual anger at the politicians (we can’t call them leaders) in City Hall, in Baton Rouge and in Washington for their continuing ineptitude. There is too much damage to the east and south, and we must watch our neighbors painful re-enactment of the old story daily, perhaps for the months it will take just to restore them to some semblance of normal life. And now the weather forecasters tell us another storm is pointed at New Orleans.

We cannot know precisely what the poet meant by “red weather”. It is a perfect example of poetic language, something perfectly appropriate to the sound or stanza and to the image, and yet it is not like common language. That phrase is not a brick in the construction of a mundane paragraph. Instead those words are a door into the poem: we must find ourselves what precisely is meant by red weather to gain entry into the poetic moment.

The old saying goes both ways: red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailor’s take warning. Because the sailor “Catches Tigers in red weather”, I have always taken it to stand for both danger and excitement. Now that I live beneath the red and black hurricane flags, this poem and the phrase “red weather” comes back to me. I thought of it sitting on my porch in the calm of the evening, contemplating another storm, another evacuation. And for me, at least, it became clear.

Here on the hurricane coast, when the storms stir up the ghosts of the flood, we live in red weather.

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON July 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Ok, your hopelessly lazy and stupid host seems to have missed a link to some of Darrell Borque’s poetry. Here is a several mostly prose poems posted on a University of Lafayette website. The form is called ekphrasis, a term I just learned yesterday (See, poetry is improving) which involves describing a work of art in one media in another (in this case, poetry about a painting).

Given what he really thinks is going on in this picture, I think the Right Reverend Jindal is perhaps correct in submitting Borque for review prior to offering the State’s Imprimatur. I mean, really, in front of the children?

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN A DUTCH COURTYARD:
MENAGE A TROIS WITH CHILD WITNESS
By Darrell Borque

(A Dutch Courtyard,
Pieter de Hooch ,
1629-1683)

What these people have withdrawn from is large.
Immeasurable is what they have been drawn toward.
A whole town with churches and a marketplace, barges
in the waterways near the loading docks, the guard
drowsing near the banking house with gleaming sword
lie in the precincts just beyond their wall.A red serge
she’s opted for is but one bright, desired thing; a word
in private, full tankards, exchangeable heat.Courage
is what it takes to cash in toil for velvets and leather,
or to catch the beauty of a man’s limb and not flinch;
in the lifted glass she tells them afternoons in the heather
field is a possibility if they play their cards right. Wench
is a laughable appellation in this close company. Whether
or not ships sail, a possibility; glee in moorings, a cinch.

November 2000

We don’t need no stinkin’ poet laureate July 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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In another giant step towards the reinstatement of the Dark Ages, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declined to send up the name of the Blanco-nominated poet laureate to the Senate for confirmation in the last legislative session. The story broke in the INDependent newspaper and was later taken up by the Lafayette Advertiser (but no other Louisiana news outlet I can find).

When asked by the Advertiser, Jindal or someone (it’s not possible to tell from the badly edited story) suggested that retired University of Lafayette professor Darrell Borque might be renominated.

In a quote that syntactically cannot be tied back to anyone named in the story, someone told the Advertiser, “In no way is it reflecting on him,” he said. He’s looking for the best and brightest, and after a review, that might be Bourque, he said.”

This is a dangerous and powerful position, poet laureate, so I guess we have to be careful. I mean, you don’t want just anyone going out into schools around small children teaching them about poetry. I mean, you know what artists are like. Better run this one past the Grand Inquisitor.

I can’t find any examples of his work published online, but there is a reference to him found on Google Books in verspers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality. I guess if you’re going to write about God or spirituality and expect to be renominated by the likes of Jindal you better be the right flavor of Godly.

Now in the great scheme of things maybe you don’t think this is important. Its not as if Louisiana isn’t rife with more serious problems. You may have noticed that here on Toulouse Street we think poetry is important. The schools should expose everyone to it as much as possible because it teaches the power of language and its uses and combines the imaginative with the analytical in a way that I can’t help but believe improves the thinking of those who read or study it.

Perhaps the Jindalites don’t agree, and couldn’t see the point in bothering to send Borque’s name up. More disturbing is the thought that someone in a post like this might be subject to the sort of ideological vetting common to the modern GOP even when patently illegal.

You can spend your time worrying about the War on Terror. I’m much more worried about the Taliban among us, the ones standing next to you in the grocery check outline who would cheerfully take on the task of loading the queers and apostates and liberals into the cattle cars. If this respected retired professor isn’t renominated, it will tell us something about just how deeply Jindal has drunk of the kool aid.

Update: If you came to this post directly, browse to http://www.toulousestreet.net and you can read a poem I found online.

Bukowski’s Bluebird July 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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This is my answer to the poetry challenge posted by Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers to write something in response to Charles Bukowski’s Bluebird. (Cross posted from Poems Before Breakfast)

The poem removed pending publication in The Deal Mule School of Southern Literature.

Creole Beat June 27, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I finally gave up on ever getting to see the library’s copy of Cranial Guitar, Selected Poems by Bob Kaughman. It has been “in cataloging” for so long I have decided that “in cataloging” is a euphamism like “passed on”. “Cranial Guitar, preceded in cataloging by…”. His earlier books, like all those of another famous New Orleans-linked poet Everette Maddox, arevlocked away safely in the library’s Louisiana Collection where I don’t think I am welcome to bring my lunch in while I read.

I couldn’t find a copy to buy in town, either, and was forced to go to Amazon. While Kaufman is associated with San Francisco and the Beats, he is still a New Orleans-born boy and you would think someone might carry a copy. (Same for Maddox, a man who is forever linked with New Orleans). The poetry shelf of Maple Leaf Bookstore, one of my favorite haunts long ago, sits half empty and neglected the last few times I went by. I think I need to go bookstore shopping.

While the New Orleans-born Kaufman is associated with San Francisco and the Beats, here is a poem about Louisiana from that collection.

Early Loves
By Bob Kaufman

Slippery driftwood, icebreaking mudpacks.
Garfish, mothers of cajun whores,
Laughing blood noises, at comic shrimps.
Gliding on leaves of sunken trees.

Dying love, hidden in misty Bayous
Red love, turning black, brown,
Dead in the belly, brittle womb
Of some laughing crab.

A father. Whose, mine?
Floating on seaweed rugs.
To that pearl tomb, shining
Beneath my bayou’s floor.

Dead, and dead,
And you dead too.

No more arm twisting,
Heart twisting laughter.
Dead moss, colors of sorrow.

Later in hot arms, hers,
Between sweaty lovemakings.
Crying will wet moss swamps,
Hidden beneath her arms.

Tears will wash her dirty murdered soul.
God will be called to atone for his sins.

Considered America’s foremost surrealist poet and considered America’s Rimbaud by the French (who have all of his papers in a library), much of what he writes takes more than a few readings, and some bits might take a lifetime to decode, so I best sign off and get started. I think I may have to post up Reel Three of Golden Sardine, an incredible bit of writing about “the Deathbed of the last Buffalo in Nebraska” and the bloody conquest of the West.

And death shall have no dominion April 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, Bloggers, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, New Orleans Saints, NOLA, Odds&Sods, We Are Not OK.
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morris.jpg

For Ashley Morris 1963-2008
All New Orleans mourns for you.

By Dylan Thomas
And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

UNDER THE BANYAN TREE March 26, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Everette Maddox, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Cheer up, @skooks. it’s always darkest just before the 16 ton weight drops from Terry Gilliam’s drawing table onto one’s head.

RUTLEDGE YOUNGBLOOD REFUSES TO LIE UNDER THE BANYAN TREE ANYMORE
By Everette Maddox

Rutledge has made up his mind
this is the last day he will lie
at length in his glinting hair
his eye fixed on a fig
his toes alive in the permissive mud.

Out beyond these roots in a pool
clear by day dark by night
purple eels jiggle:
that is another universe of course
but that is not where Rutledge lives
and neither is this.

Though the air is thick with bells
bizarre with flutes
Rutledge lies on his belly now
billowing like a child’s balloon
and it means nothing to him
that ultimates and ultimates buoy him up.

He will leave in the morning
by the ordinary door
and walk in the shrill gray streets
in the old soot and sunshine.
He has learned all he needed to know,
what he already knew, that he is happy.

Visit 13 Possums.

Young in New Orleans March 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes.
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By Charles Bukowski

starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the streets for
hours,
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, maybe it was,
and in the French Quarter I watched
the horses and buggies going by,
everybody sitting high in the open
carriages, the black driver, and in
back the man and the woman,
usually young and always white.
and I was always white.
and hardly charmed by the
world.
New Orleans was a place to
hide.
I could piss away my life,
unmolested.
except for the rats.
the rats in my dark small room
very much resented sharing it
with me.
they were large and fearless
and stared at me with eyes
that spoke
an unblinking
death.

women were beyond me.
they saw something
depraved.
there was one waitress
a little older than
I, she rather smiled,
lingered when she
brought my
coffee.

that was plenty for
me, that was
enough.

there was something about
that city, though
it didn’t let me feel guilty
that I had no feeling for the
things so many others
needed.
it let me alone.

sitting up in my bed
the llights out,
hearing the outside
sounds,
lifting my cheap
bottle of wine,
letting the warmth of
the grape
enter
me
as I heard the rats
moving about the
room,
I preferred them
to
humans.

being lost,
being crazy maybe
is not so bad
if you can be
that way
undisturbed.

New Orleans gave me
that.
nobody ever called
my name.

no telephone,
no car,
no job,
no
anything.

me and the
rats
and my youth,
one time,
that time
I knew
even through the
nothingness,
it was a
celebration
of something not to
do
but only
know.

from: Last Night on Earth Poems, 1992
Copyright by Charles Bukowski.
It’s pretty widely distributed on the inter-tubes
but remains the properly of C Bukowski. I’m
just borrowing it.

Winter in New Orleans February 8, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, Rebirth, Toulouse Street.
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Winter in New Orleans


Red Against Blue

The small azalea, potted
on my porch, draped
in wilted clippings ripped
from neighbors nearly killed
by that frost insists
on budding, perhaps mourning
the red ribbon removed
on Twelfth Night. Bloom
I whisper and chase
these winter blues away.

Space is the Place January 18, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, home, Hurricane Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes, Rebirth, Remember, Sinn Fein, Sun Ra, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized, We Are Not OK.
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Space is the Place

“The first thing to do
is to consider time
officially as ended.
We work on the other side
of time”
— Sun Ra

I want to march like Sun-Ra
in glittering alien threads
into an Oakland pool-hall
and declare our intention to embark.

New Orleans, as ruined as the pyramids,
rising up majestic in the air
on howling trombone notes of joy
to launch another crescent in the sky.

The sun will strike us colorblind
once we’re beyond the atmosphere.
We’ll cast the last debris off over Kansas
and shower them a carnival of stars.

Together like stranded astronauts
who’ve exhausted the last of our air,
we’ll lift off the mask at last
and dare to breath together.

We’ll claim our place at last
in the ancient parade of zodiac
where Bayou Andromeda
brushes up against the Milky Way

Cross-posted from Poems Before Breakfast.

Bar Scotch January 3, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Everette Maddox, ghosts, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Cover price of seven bucks, plus shipping. I hardly know what to say, except that I instructed my wife the other night that I am absolutely, positively to be buried with a bottle of scotch.

Car Scotch Cover

Thank you Mr. Maddox, wherever you are. I’ve already posted one of the Bar Scotch poems up to 13possums, where I hope to try to recapture some of what was lost when http://www.everettemaddox.org went dark. Look for more poems posted there as I get a minute to type instead of just read.

The Green Fuse December 28, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dylan Thomas, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

Dylan Thomas, “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

It’s an animation, not an actual film but something someone has built from a still photograph plus the audio recording. It matters not.

The dew upon their feet shall manifest. December 24, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Xmas.
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Not everyone in this nation is a Christian, and so many struggle with this season. For those who’s own world view does not tend toward the religious, I offer this gift of a favorite poem that has carried me through many a churchly holiday and more than one family funeral.

If this seems too solemn, then let all of the gods and spirits and sons of men join together and dance. The faster we go, the rounder we get.

Sunday Morning

1

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

2

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

3

Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.

4

She says, ‘I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?’
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.

5

She says, ‘But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.’
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.

6

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

7

Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feel shall manifest.

8

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, ‘The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.’
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

Two Landscapes December 8, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fargo, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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I have known both these places, have walked in emptiness and felt that which fills the emptiness like water rushing into a bowl. In some places we call this god, and in others we call this ghosts. At the dark of the year, I struggle to see the difference.

1) I have heard the inevitable noise in the signal called silence, the crisp, static rustle of snow falling upon itself in perfect stillness far below zero.

2) I have seen what some call ghosts, the emptiness that outlines the shapes that make a place in a landscape, the space without which there is no form. I have felt the haunting when there is nothing in the landscape but the shape of a place and its essential emptiness.