Blank Verse – David Lohrey

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Blank Verse – David Lohrey

I’m asked to ignore too much…look the other way.
In fact, I should call my poems empty poems.
“Never-mind poetry,” that’d be a better name.
I’ll write poems about nothing. Poems that say
absolutely nothing but say it well. I’ll write poetry
that resemble Rothko’s paintings of voids, great hollow,
pulsating works of art, undulating existential blobs
from the bottom of the heart, written down but just
as easily forgotten.

Poems celebrating everything that’s good and wholesome,
that’ll be my racket. Easter eggs before they’re broken,
poems about Elvis as a matador printed on black velvet, with
HOME SWEET HOME embroidered in sequins and little
plastic pearls, with hymns to the Almighty. They’ll be called blank
verse and can be served with dessert toppings like apple sauce,
chocolate or maple syrup. Those would be apt subjects for a howdy-doody
poet like me. We’ll call them frozen yoghurt poems and serve them on a stick.

Today’s editors dictate the content of poetry. They remind poets
that anything found to be inappropriate will not be tolerated.
They are little Ivy League Gorkys. I’d be happy to write what
they want but only in exchange for a dacha on the outskirts of Moscow.

These sensitive souls demand a poetry that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
These self-satisfied prudes are backed by their attorneys. “Mustn’t give offense.”
Poetry is to be edited like church letters in the 1940s. They’d change the title
of Ginsberg’s “Howl” to something like, “Help Me!” Hallmark America.

By the time I’m finished editing out everything offensive, I’ll be left with
4 or 5 safe words: the, yet, then, too, and but. All the rest relegates me
to Facebook. Everyone is offended by my rubbish as every decent
human being in 1957 would have reviled Charles Bukowski’s poetry,
or T. S. Eliot’s, Henry Miller’s and surely Jack Kerouac’s, too.
The New Yorker did so and refused to publish them.

The internet editors now take it upon themselves to enforce common decency.
So off we go, back to the genteel tradition, back to placing covers on piano legs,
back to saying nothing that gives offence, back to the times when dreams
meant nothing, back before Freud, when a pickle was just a cucumber in brine.
And for what? The defense of Christendom? Not at all. No! So we can be nice.
And all this on the advice of corporate lawyers and the guys who make cereal.

The purpose of poetry after all is to make others feel good. This was cooked up
by some madman, a recent graduate of the school of insanity. Be sure that the fat
feel good about being fat, that blacks have black power, and the disabled are made
to feel they can do whatever the next man can even if they live in an iron lung.

I’d prefer to go back to the mimeograph machine, or back as far as the quill.
Forget internet courtesy and creative writing school notions of politeness.
Twenty more years of this and we’ll be back to where we were in the 1900s
when Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein left the country. Back then the boobs in charge
were mainly little old ladies holding a Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other.
Now the magistrates of decency have MFAs from graduate
writing programs with certificates in censorship signed by the Governor.
They can have it.

[David Lohrey is the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. He is also an editor for Sudden Denouement and a mentor for me personally – Jasper Kerkau]

Nathan McCool – Response to Mick Hugh’s Proper Disturbia:

I’m just gonna puke it up. All the worthless
words. The studies that didn’t mean
a fuckin thing. All the ways I was
taught to think. The shitty, remedial
lessons I learned in school
that were so pointless.

“Let’s focus on some boring writing that
says nothing, isn’t worth a damn, and most importantly… was given high praise by people
all conditioned to clamor to the classics
and the worlds of happy endings.”

My A.P. English literature
teacher was always so determined to
analyze what every poem meant.
But only in line with what the textbooks
told her it meant.
Things in my stomach still turn to rot when
I have to breathe in the words of people like that.

Our tiny little advanced placement class,
(Mostly just people who could offer
advanced payments for their A’s)
we were supposed to write our own poem
to be analyzed. A poem that fit some bullshit
rhyme scheme that I didn’t give a shit about.
But I did it anyway, cause I’m a sucker for
making a point.

And at the last minute I wrote a poem
titled “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”.
And after the clichés and happy endings
and sad attempts to rhyme “good” with “God”, that teacher read my poem out
loud to the whole class.

And they all got to figure it out.
Take their turns at firing off assumptions about
what I really meant. Until it was determined
I wrote about all my internalized emotions
and the hopes that I never showed anyone
how much I suffer.

And when I was asked to explain my poems intent,
I told them. I proved my point about their
shit method of assuming what someone
is trying to say. And then I laughed uncontrollably
until I puked on the floor and walked out.

Because “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”
was about anal.

 


 

[Nathan McCool is the dark lord over on Instagram at God Of Dregs.]

Glow-in-the-dark Annuals – Mick Hugh

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Glow-in-the-dark Annuals – Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)

You were sitting outside the bar on the patio, picking petals from the daisies in the planter on the railing. I was seated at a separate table nearby, because you had asked me to find another seat. We weren’t speaking for the moment: the conversation had been high-tide with an undercurrent I was too stupid to avoid. I told the waiter I was buying your drinks, and had him fill the table with rum-and-cokes until finally he said Enough; my credit card had been declined. Last week we had left for a festival, driven an hour outside of town, just for you to decide you no longer wanted to go. I turned the radio loud to drown you out and you opened your door and I skidded to a stop on Route 70. You got out. And of course I turned around half-an-hour later and found you pouting in the dust the tractor-trailers kick up along the shoulder. We didn’t speak, but we weren’t angry. I had a difficult time being angry — we met when you were picking sunflowers in the park, and when I finally caught your eye you had irises as thin as mine. Your skin was as thin as mine, and it only took us a matter of minutes to shed our skin and expose the blood vessels that bubbled the beauty into our lives. The little pinches of flesh on your arms and the nape of your neck, soft as dawn and golden. You could sing like Janis Joplin and illustrate the poetry of the pouring rain, and when I reached inside of you I found home and the hillsides I’d dreamt of roaming as a kid. Your mother was a hippy, your father itinerant. We had everything in common in a box of mismatched shoes. And when I held your hand I had looked inside, and saw a little black star in a palm full of rising light. I admit, I was immensely drawn and intrigued. There was nothing for us in this timeline. I bought a trailer on the edge of the city because you were the first I could tell myself I loved. You let it last for four beautiful months. Yet I had seen the timeline. I had seen the fistfights and the holes in the wall and I wasn’t surprised to witness my fears come to life. But what I wanted more than ever was to crawl inside of you. There was a beauty there, and even deeper, something darker true. By summer you came and went as you pleased. Days gone to god knows where, cryptic text messages from the shadows of dawn. I ripped apart your nostalgic doll and left you no choice but to sleep in my car. Cry out your eyes and let me find the reason why I could ever be so stupid. Drink myself into a stupor, you drove me to it. Every night for a week listing names of my friends and every little thing you did with them.
But then again, I knew both of your parents were dead — still, I needed to see the blackened centers of the sunflowers.

[Mick Hugh is a writer/editor for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing.  He is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog.]

Tumble Weed Blues – David Lohrey

There can be bebop and billowing skirts,
hot pastrami and cold beer, but only if
we’re good.

That’s the catch. We’re weighed down by doubt.
Can all this wonder be had for free? It’s
time to take stock.

All the pretty horses can’t put humpty dumpty
together again. It’s partly a matter of will
power, sure.

It’s mostly a matter of power, pure and simple.
And the will is half-hearted. There’s no
zeal. There’s no roll.

Ketchup, but no mustard. There are eggs, but
Benedict died last June of a stroke. Whoever
said we could have it all, lied.

The billowing skirts were not the first to go, but
the girls get tired of playing. They’ve
been recruited by the army.

Now women carry guns. Our next loss is jazz.
Without the blues, there’s no rhythm. The
country’s lost its beat.

Everyone is out of step. The problem
is not the booze. It’s the money. We’re all
too rich for our own good. We’re unhappy.

Louis Armstrong was elated. Count Basie, giddy.
Think back. You remember. Jazz was rollicking: horns
toot-tooting, the pianist on his feet, the drums exploding.

We’re all miserable. Fattened up for slaughter. Now
we wait for the other shoe to drop, as the centipede
crawls toward the exit.

We know it’s just a matter of time. It can’t go on like this forever.
We’ve become too refined, far too delicate, too fat for
good music.

Anyway…no one has the oomph. It’s all petered out.
We’re out of gas. There’s an energy shortage,
you know.

For the most part, pictures will be enough, for a while,
like those of farmers. Nobody wants to get his hands dirty,
digging in flower beds, plowing, changing diapers.

No one wants to turn potatoes, feed the pigs or geld the stallions.
What is there to celebrate if there are no children?
That’s the question.

If there’s no harvest, what’s the point of drinking? And
now they say there’s no purpose in planting flowers.
The suburbs are obsolete, no pleasure in squirrels.

No need for dogs to bark. No need for evening walks. No
need for games of catch. Eliminate the lawns, they decree,
which are nothing more than symbols of Farmer Brown.

There’ll be nothing to remember, not even the sound of crying babies.
Family life is finished. Dirty floors, mother’s milk, chicken pox
are all a thing of the past.

Now the smell of grass must go. It’s no longer the Age of Aquarius;
it’s the age of exhaustion. We’re entering America’s very own
Cultural Revolution. At the end of the day, they’ll be hell to pay.

It’s the age of recrimination. People stand around pointing fingers,
as the time French women were made to pay for bedding
enemy soldiers. They were driven through the streets, naked.

It’s an age of exculpation. We all want to wash our hands of it.
The only music left is what we demand to see others face.
Otherwise we want silence.


[David Lohrey is the Shadow Lord of brain-seizing, heart-piercing poetry, and a medium for the ether words. He was born on the Hudson River, but grew up on the Mississippi in Memphis. He currently teaches in Tokyo. He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, has been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York, and is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.]


Continue reading “Tumble Weed Blues – David Lohrey”

These Days – Georgia Park

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These Days – Georgia Park (Private Bad Thoughts, Whisper and the Roar)

I could recount a thousand times

my heart blackened

before it went red again-

when he told me

what happened to him,

when she didn’t

say anything,

when my head

busted open,

When I

stopped speaking-

but you know,

these days, it’s easier

to look at paintings

and write poetry

than to remember

anything

and did you know

I stopped sleeping

and that people say

nice things to me,

show me good things

and do you know

I just

     keep leaving
[Georgia Park is a poet! She is writes for Private Bad Thoughts, Whisper and the Roar, and Sudden Denouement. Whisper and the Roar is literary collective that Park created to provide a voice for feminist poets. Please take a look at her work and contact her for submissions.]

HUSH By Nicole Lyons

HUSH written by Nicole Lyons, is a searing collection of poems that takes the reader on an emotional ride, through the tunnel of mental illness and reckless love.

Nicole Lyons’ voice undulates from pain to ecstasy, at breakneck speed. Erotic, soulful and authentic, Nicole has written a raw memoir encapsulated in poems. Stepping off the cliff, delving into HUSH, readers will find themselves breathless and wanting more. -Julie Anderson

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 HUSH

The first book from Nicole Lyons is now available here.

Hush cover design: Sherri Smith
Hush cover model: Julie Anderson
Hush cover photo: Paul Empson Photography


You can read a glowing review by Jasper Kerkau here, and if you’re interested in reading some of the galaxy’s most liberating, moving words, I recommend that you follow the amazon link above. Nicole Lyons is the creatrix of The Lithium Chronicles, as well as being a consulting editor and writer at Sudden Denouement.

 


 

Quit Your Job and Become a Poet

            This poetry collection has a beginning, middle and an end. It covers two months’ worth of misadventures in the life of an embittered and slightly arrogant young woman who decides to quit her job to become a poet out of spite after being called a few choice names. Sometimes you will like her, sometimes you may not. Sometimes you may laugh or cry or want your money back. But life’s not very fair that way, now is it?

             This is a coming of age story, and that age is almost thirty.

 

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Georgia Park is creator of Private Bad Thoughts, curator of Whisper and the Roar a feminist literary collective, and a writer for Sudden Denouement

A brief, rave review by Jasper Kerkau can be found here. And if you’re interested in witnessing one of earth’s most epic poets in motion, you can invest in her work here.