miss the Crank Poetry
Slam, Part 2!
It was Tom's Idea
Send him your hate mail.
Drinking in the park
one afternoon, we were laughing at a bunch of Hiparchists
dancing around with their dogs. Suddenly, Tom's eyes lit up (no small
task considering that sloth and drunkenness were the standing orders for
the day.) It was his most vicious idea in weeks.
"Go on AOL under
a fake name and ask all the poets to send you their stuff," he said.
"Say you're putting out a new journal or something. When you get
some good ones--some really stupid ones--sit down, get drunk, tear them
apart and publish it."
"A Poetry Slam,"
I slurred. "Crank Style."
The following poems
were solicited in the Writers' Forum on everyone's favorite online service,
America Online. The original request was posted under the name "PoetPblshr."
"Fields of Macabre,
a small-press poetry journal now accepting submissions for possible publication
and discussion. Please send no more than 6 poems, no more than 40 lines,
to: PoetPblshr. Subject matter tends toward the gothic, macabre, etc.
Please include short bio which includes age, location, previous publishing
experience. pax vobiscum, Daniel Licht (PoetPblshr)"
After getting a dozen
good ones, I closed the account.
from Shelly, 28 years old, San Francisco, California
like an ancient
and solitary tomb the doors to my heart
remained rusted shut...until you...
you came into my life like a whirlwind
consuming me in the fiery intensity of your eyes
you probed the very depths of me
where my emotions were buried beneath the dust
you explored the inner caverns of the canyons of my mind
and unearthed an overwhelming love long since dead and
like a scoundrel
you smiled as you stole my heart
from the pyre in my soul
you filled the voids i never knew existed
with a love that made me whole
my love for you grew like the gnarling knotty roots
of the sturdy timeless oak
as love became a tentacle reaching out and disrupting
the barriers built by time
i was lost in
the tangles of our love...
i sat on the
park bench for hours
watching the filthy pigeons
strut aimlessly about
as if they knew
what you and i will never know
i asked them for the answers
but they mocked me
i met a store-front
prophet who said i'd go to hell
if i ever thought an unclean thought
or lived a sinful life
and i laughed at the madness of it all
did we get lost in the world
that together we disowned
just when you
think you know the answers
to questions you don't know
inevitably the questions will change
and you're left wondering
how you ever go here in the first place
trying to escape the reality of it all
the street people know more than you and me
they found their answers in the bonfires
of a thousand cold and lonely nights
and now they hide in the sobriety of their intoxication
i sat on the park
bench for hours
too amazed to speak
the filth of the city permeated my soul
i heard the voices
all around me
they were ringing in my ears
i realized that the voices
were my own madness
my own sadness
and the tears of those who would not be heard
You are the perfect
example of what I envision the bad female poet to be: overweight with
cats crawling all over the place. And even if you're not overweight, your
poetry certainly is. Maybe some forced rhymes would help. Or try some
dragons or cats or flowers or the moon or even some vagina references.
Oops! I just realized that you do have a slipshod vagina allusion, and
it still didn't help.
Your longer poem reads
like the lyrics to a new Bad Religion song, only your words aren't big
enough and there are no catchy rhymes. Maybe you can get a job writing
for BR, as I hear they're awfully busy with all those bands making it
big on Epitaph these days. In fact, I hear the folks at Epitaph are SO
busy they can't even meet simple advertising deadlines! Find their address
in Rolling Stone and send your stuff there. Or if you do get the hang
of the rhyming thing, maybe Hallmark could use you.
"John," a 25-year old Grad Student
from Upstate New York
marks the spot --
I'm looking for a war.
doctor, can you
the vicious terror of the bore?
christ, I am scared
out of my skull.
prat prat prat
goes the rough tongue of the lazy cat --
he tries to lick the grit from My eyes
but they have swollen shut from allergies
(the worst affliction
I can hope for these days)
I join the throng
a legion of swollen-eyed,
runny-nosed, antihistimine addicts
who roam along in a pathetic daze --
glad when we stub our toes on the steps of the doctor's office
so that we may sue him for
libel, or malpractice, or divorce
(or was that our parents we were suing?)
no one really
remembers these days
we don't even
pretend to search for brains to eat anymore --
most people, when you shake 'em,
maggots fly out their ears to the floor with a plump tapping
though, I've heard
tell maggots are full of protein...
huh-huh. He said maggots. maggots are cool."
huh-huh, huh-huh, yeah. pass me that inhaler, butt-head."
musty stillness covers
bareplank walls --
into your eyes:
you brush away the frozen debris
to slowly uncover
with its very own
people & places past,
quickly smothers your reflection.
you wipe away
countless cares and myriad memories
with a casual flick of your hand,
and peer intently at
the image accuses
you through the coldhard glass
and you start in surprise,
slicing your thumb
on the jagged splinters --
as thickblood spatters,
soaking into frozenground,
the image wavers,
smiles at you gratefully --
you gently replace it in its nest of debris,
and quietly return
into the howling
stupefied city / drools halitosis / into a cracked and / empty
/ coffemug, / forcebreeding / its stillborn / vapors / with the
ghosts / of beans past.
I see a spark of potential
in your somewhat raw verse. While your writing is not "grammatically
stylish," perhaps with time and experience, you will find your stride.
Hey, wait a second,
you're 25 years old?? A GRAD Student!?! Oh, Christ! I thought you were
in HIGH SCHOOL!! Are you kidding me?? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? You're
25 years old and you're writing poetry with Bevis and Butthead allusions??
You want to be a respectable poet, but the best you can do for poignant
satire is crap about Generation X?
And what the FUCK is
up with that "a.m. necrophilia" thing? Was I SUPPOSED to laugh
at you? Are you a comedy writer, John? Or are you just another BAD FUCKING
Just give up and get
a real fucking job.
Barbara, who would provide me with
more information only if I was interested.
Once I feasted
freely on you;
sucked the honey from your mouth,
ate up the adoration in your eyes,
devoured your every word...
I swallowed your essence,
and nourished myself by transfusion.
In greedy hunger,
I licked the salt from your body
and tasted what love was like.
I grew fat on my contentment.
You are gone now---
Voracious cells, grown mad,
have consumed you - totally,
chewing through places
even I couldn't reach.
Tonight, in my
I nibble on carrot sticks & celery stalks
and later run skeletal fingers
over jutting ribs
and bony pelvis in the dark.
My life has been
reduced to this.
|On the phone you
squeezing through the narrow black veins
on the map of your life,
the journey is constant agony.
"VACANCY" in flashing neon
signals your loss of innocence.
protected by darkness,
you give yourself over to degradation
while choking back the desire to turn lights on,
looking for mirrors, seeking reflections...
the reason why no longer matters.
waking up together is terrifying,
leaving you exposed to yourself.
the moon alone does not spill your blood.
you've begun to accept despair as your right,
and must invent yourself in order to exist.
you trade yourself in religiously,
every two years for the same model,
and are always saying goodbye without meaning it.
it is not by accident that you leave open doors
you call yourself by different names,
yet each scar you bear is a name-tag.
suicide is no escape...
Oh, women, you think were born to suffer--
if you weren't a masochist,
you'd be a man.
write that "I grew fat on my contentment." Come on, now, didn't
the Ho-Ho's help?
You conclude an otherwise
OK poem with "I nibble on carrot sticks & celery stalks."
In my opinion, you pushed this already-weak metaphor much too far. This
poem sucks ass.
While I genuinely like
that super-chick line "the moon alone does not spill your blood,"
it was wasted in a poem that also includes "'VACANCY' in flashing
neon signals your loss of innocence." Ugh, momma.
I think that perhaps
you should reconsider your stance that "suicide is no escape."
It IS an escape. It really is. Go ahead and try it. Or at least have a
drink and lighten up.
Brian, Winner of the Worst Overall Poet,
(b. June 12, 1962) Was raised in Lancaster Co., PA, studied Libral Arts
at the University of Arizona at Tucson, while, working for the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Tucson from 1981-1988 in the Tribunal Office. Is a self employed
Computer Consultant, and works for the Carondelet Hospital System in Tucson.
He has been writing and publishing poety and short stories since 1982."
to the Candy Abide
Sleep my child
and soon you will see
a place where candy will grow on a tree
The place the unicorn calls it's home
and many other strange animals roam
Close your eyes and lay down your head
so the angels can come to guard your bed
And the horse with a horn will give you a ride
to the place they call the candy abide
Close your sleepy
eyes and dream, dream, dream
and take a long ride by the soda pop stream
Where licorice trees grow in groves
and the bread is made into Teddy bear loaves
The grass is yellow, blue, green, and red
where only the children are allowed to tread
So close your eyes and be off to sleep
for your ride is waiting and it won't keep
I remember the
place from years gone by
where marshmallow clouds float in the sky
and the rivers are lined with chocolate banks
and the pumps there all have candy cane cranks
But I have grown and can go no more
it now is your turn to go and explore
and find the tin soldiers who march in a row
so be quick and hurry before you too grow
Holy fuck, Brian. That
was terrible, even for a children's poem. And for God's sake, at least
get your its vs. it's straight.
tears come into your eyes
And the blues chase your smile away
When happiness seems forgotten
and you can't face another day
When everything that was perfect
starts to go all wrong
just sit back and close your eyes
and hum a gospel song
when the beautiful
colors of nature
seem just shades of grey
or the joy of being with a friend
seems to have passed away
when your heart is heavy in your chest
and your minutes are an hour long
just breath in
deep and close your eyes
and hum a gospel song
Not alive, just like lead.
So I hum a song,
but not for long,
because your grandma is
just plain fucking dead.
So shut the fuck up, ok?
Of Our Souls
I sit, and allowing
my mind to wander
through the words and songs of ages past,
I hear that same gentle melody; which has
always inspired the minds of minstrals and bards.
Though the songs
are varied in their topics,
as are the tounges diverse and strange.
the emotions as deep as the midnight sky
can still be felt in every word and phrase
in every refrain, carved from the souls
of generations past.
Wether of battles
or of gods or the tourture
of love or hate, the praises of admiration
the torment of affection unrequited.
These songs reveal the heart of "man"
and all men who've ever walked
and felt the throbing of emotion in their mind.
And on these the
pages of our souls
we bleed the essence of our being.
Revealing life as a simple reflection
of the ages past.
and songs of ages past"
"minstrals and bards"
"tounges diverse and strange"
"Wether of battles or of gods"
So, Brian, D&D fag, were we?
AND a chronically bad speller??
Cynthia, Winner of the Worst Overall Poet,
Watches, shy sometimes bold.
Her cloudy veils are blown by playful breezes.
Lichen forms our pillow,
Fern fingers caress silken thighs
Rain wet lips trace spidery pathways
From snowy breast to my love for you and back.
While we, in breathless urgency,
Sway with the tall grass in our dance of time;
The envious moon watches, sighs and...smiles.
Christ, Cynthia! If you must invoke
such sappy, crappy overwrought images,
AT LEAST LEARN HOW TO SPELL "FOREST," YOU DUMB CUNT.
beauty of that November day
Did not escape her eye.
The wispy clouds, softly grey,
Passed her orchard by.
Oft-times she wishes
They would notice her there.
Sometimes she wishes
They would carry her away.
Maybe, from that orchard,
They will lift her to the sky,
Taking her along with them
To where they swiftly fly.
Maybe from that orchard,
Dressed in Hoarfrost lace and alone,
She will not escape their eye
And they will come and take her home
winter wind whispers,
It flutters and fluffs about.
Freeing the fulsome lady flakes to
Dance in their frost white gowns.
A singular perfection, are they,
As they lift, then take wing.
They are beauty itself
In their waltz of creation
With the unborn flowers of spring.
that was so beautiful, so serene,
so peaceful...it made me believe, for a moment,
that my miserable life just might be better come Spring...
Alas, tis not so. Fuck you.
But without the rhymes.
Only lilacs and reasons
For the endless succession of time
And the oncoming of seasons.
"he" is, "he" should be rewarded for
returning without the rhymes, if nothing else.