Poetry

“Get in on the Fun” and one other poem published in X-Peri

get in on the fun-xperi

A fun and exciting blog for experimental writing of all kinds, X-Peri rolls out new work every week. This week it is my turn, with one video still and two texts: “Get in on the Fun” and “Special Times.” The editors have titled this assortment “Two Facebook AI Units Before They Were Unplugged”–because that was my inspiration for this series of text work. These pieces attempt to create a new, ritualized vocabulary out of common words and phrases, representing a kind of transaction or negotiation. You can read the pieces here.

xperi-robot texts

“Sparkle Plenty” and 10 vispo published in Otoliths #57

otoliths spring 2020

Another massive installment of Otoliths, something of a journal of record for the international avant garde lit scene, was just released yesterday. This is Issue 57, for Southern Autumn 2020 (as it’s edited in Australia). Tons of new visual poetry, text work, poetry, poetics, etc (all the unclassifiable stuff) for passing the quarantined time and sharing with your socially isolated friends.

vispo otoliths spring 2020

I’m very pleased to be part of this issue “Sparkle Plenty,” a long poem based on a restricted vocabulary drawn from American magical thinking in a form that could be some programming sent from one Artificial Intelligence to another. Only 2 of 12 stanzas are represented below. Also, ten pieces of visual poetry with asemic calligraphy, part of a much larger set of work that may comprise the log book of a human colony on an extraterrestrial world. You can check it out here.

Sparkle-plenty otoliths

“Reaching for the Sun” published in Chiron Review

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Just got the new issue of Chiron Review, #118 Spring 2020, in the mail, a bit in advance of the official release date. Lots of great work in this print-only poetry journal, one of the best of its kind remaining in the under-the-mainstream scene. I’m very pleased to be included with one of my poems, “Reaching for the Sun.” It’s another installment in a series about an imaginary relationship between the narrator and a woman named Billie. You can purchase copies of the issue from the Chiron Review website when it’s released.

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“Keeping It Forever” and “Holding On Tight” published in Rat’s Ass Review

rats ass sum 2020

Online poetry journal Rat’s Ass Review just released its Summer 2020 issue, crammed with loads of great poetry, much with that straightforward, real life focus found in the best outlaw work. I’m pleased to be represented with two poems, “Keeping It Forever” and “Holding On Tight.” These pieces are from a series about an imaginary relationship between the narrator and a girl named Billie. You can read the complete issue here.

keeping it rats ass sum 2020

Flashback: Article on poet Buck Downs in Washington City Paper

city paper - buck downsThat time my article on DC poet Buck Downs and his poetry postcard project appeared in Washington City Paper (June 26, 1998). You can read the full article here.

Buck has a distinctive style of gnomic, fragmented poems that hint at deeper mysteries and insights. Third party presses (Edge Books, Furniture Press) have brought out collections of his work, and he has self published chapbooks, on-demand books, and his postcards. I still get poems on postcards from Buck, always a great read.

At the time, I was still trying to establish myself as a freelance writer, and I was frustrated by the lack of coverage for really cool stuff going on around town. This was a window of opportunity, of course, and this article on Buck’s postcards was one of several pieces I managed to place in the weekly alternative rag. The editors typically shoved these pieces off in the “Artifacts” section, with word counts not exceeding 500 words. Nonetheless, these little articles served as some form of documentation that interesting stuff actually happened in DC.

Flashback: “Rusty Love” wins Fourth Place in World of Poetry contest

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That time my poem “Rusty Love” won Fourth Place in the World of Poetry contest. When I wrote this one, I deliberately tailored it for what I perceived WoP would like: something rhymed and sentimental. The title was cribbed directly from the name of an actual person–the property manager of the apartment complex where I lived in Winter Park, Florida. If I’m not mistaken, the real Rusty Love was retired, like most of my neighbors there, but she seemed pretty cool, driving a convertible and wearing youthful looking clothes. Her evocative name suggested the outrageous conceit that leads off the poem: “My love is like a rusty nail.”

Here is the whole piece in all its horrible glory:

Rusty Love

My love is like a rusty nail:
It is old but will not fail.
Tender is the tree, and I am wet;
Rain falls on me, but I won’t weaken yet;
We’ve years to go, and miles, more miles,
than can be counted on the branches of its head.
Quiet times, and times that break a smile;
Animal times, and times of flying fowl.
Quickening times, hears and times that part meanwhile.
I never doubt my love’s location;
She is in me, and I am her vocation.

As you can see, the opening analogy leads to an even weirder one, ad it spirals our of control for a while. I have no illusions about this award, either. Given World of Poetry’s modus operandi, I was probably one of about a thousand (or even more) “fourth place” winners.

This article has been delayed for months because I couldn’t track down a copy of “Rusty Love.” Finally, while going through a box of old postcards, photos, and junk, I found an index card with a pencil draft. It’s possible that I revised the piece when I typed it; the middle section, where there is no rhyme for “head” or “fowl” seems like something I might have fixed. Or I may have decided it was “good enough” for the purpose of competing in a World of Poetry poetry contest.