today we don’t write to be apologetic
to be charming or polite
enough is enough hence we rhyme
scream and shout for a change in paradigm
we are here to make noise
for as long as it takes as loud as it gets
till you stop
to hear our voice
our poetry has purpose
it has wrath anguish awe
for humanity seems to have gone astray
on and on day after day tumbling down
this Cimmerian path
dearth of compassion inflicting the Earth
our poetry bleeds hope it abounds
in ecstasy sparkles with idiosyncrasy
when it becomes about
the power in small gestures
vivacious acts of solidarity
in nature’s dynamic balance
linking together such tenacious cat’s cradle
we are here to describe & reinvent
to protest & celebrate by translating
rebellious feelings into winged words
like the logomaniacs we are
step out of your plutomania
& experiment “freeading”?
In honor of the annual International Poetry Festival in Trois-Rivières, Québec
Dans la Ville de la Poésie a Québec,
there is a magical portal that opens up
into a parallel universe of bards.
Its inhabitants breathe, drink, sweat & bleed
poetry every minute of every hour of
every day. The realm of Zénob vibrates
with stanzas. It thrives on bohemian heartbeats.
At the break of dawn, when the portal closes,
for a long few hours of quietude & renewal, I
can imagine those walls reciting, the chairs
falling to their sides in laughter, the bottles
of wine and whiskey brought to tears, the tables
enthusiastically applauding & asking
for more, eager to hear what is to follow.
Poetry returns night after night after night,
verse after rhyme after words enchantingly
combined, dans la belle Ville de la Poésie.
In the midst of all the horror and great sadness about the tragedy that occurred in Orlando last night at the gay bar Pulse, I keep thinking of a poem Frank O’Hara wrote in 1955 called “At the Old Place.” This daring piece is one of the earliest and most exuberant poems about a gay bar I can think of:
AT THE OLD PLACE
Joe is restless and so am I, so restless.
Button’s buddy lips frame “L G T TH O P?”
across the bar. “Yes!” I cry, for dancing’s
my soul delight. (Feet! feet!) “Come on!”
Through the streets we skip like swallows.
Howard malingers. (Come on, Howard.) Ashes
malingers. (Come on, J.A.) Dick malingers.
(Come on, Dick.) Alvin darts ahead. (Wait up,
Alvin.) Jack, Earl and Someone don’t come.
Down the dark stairs drifts the steaming cha-
cha-cha. Through the urine and smoke we charge to the floor. Wrapped in Ashes’ arms I…
With apologies for the delay, I’m delighted to announce the recent publication of five of my poems, four of which are from last August’s Tupelo 30/30 Project, in the beautiful Eastlit – a journal and website focused on creative writing, English literature and art specifically from or connected to East and South East Asia.
I’ve included a couple of samples here, but kindly invite you to go directly to the Eastlit webpage to read the full set of Xiamen & other poems, inspired by my life in this fun and exotic city.