. The Poet's Beat .

. The Poet's Beat .
"A working class citizen is apt to see this country for what it's worth... A miasma of interlocking variations on differing demographics and geographies unlike any other inhabited space in the world. The American Dream. The rolling footloose hills and the upstanding Apache badlands where criminals cut bread with priests and the children of Hollywood. I am no different. Yet I am still brazen enough to think that the world is a playground built by the rugged hands of a hard-working man in order that my fantasies be materialized." -- P.P. Vonnersdale

Thursday, December 16, 2010


This is for you, Tank, where-ever the hell you are...

The Tank chewed his food like a machine,
Masticating with tightly coiled springs and levers,
Shifting places along his jaw line where tight the dark blue skin stretched,

This town is a struggle, he told me through

   a mouthful of high school cafeteria bread,
A lump of slick dough turned orange from the mixture of

   spaghetti and meatballs pooled at the entry into his throat,

He was alive with conviction,

You just try to live this way, he said,
No one ever said we only get one go-round on the

I’m getting’ out,

His yellow eyes were distant,

A waxen sheen coated his forehead,
Discordia played in his brain,

He ran the mile after school and beat the boys by

   a hard minute,
Pistons in the sugarcane trenches,
Snatching sweet stalks to chew on in the golden moments of

   his aftermath,
When sweat would turn his red shirt purple,

You still remember, he asked me once,

Remember when you had that dream you could fly?
You woke up and felt heavy?
I had that same dream too,
(I didn’t dare believe that he was crying)

He said,

Remember me when you’re older,

Alex Grandville died on July the 2
nd, 1972,
In his sleep,
When his father placed a pillow over his head

   and held it there.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sweet France, Her Glory Gone

If you are a sincere loyalist of the French-speaking peoples of France, this poem may not be for you. Written in 2003, at the apparent height of some pseudo-anti-French rebellion in the depths of my soul, this poem was as much a tribute to those pencil-thin mustachio'd men and long-fingered cigarette-smoking women of the land of the original romantic language as it was a satire on the elusive, uncomfortable and ignorantly unquestioned antithetical position most Americans had about those foreign shores. Long life French Fries! Long live poetry! Enjoy...

A thousand Franks will die tonight.
And a thousand more tomorrow.
A million tears from Chirac’s eyes.
His noble land in sorrow.
Romantic France has smiled her last.
Corruption’s at her gate.
The Keys to Paris are in my hands.
Her children shant again be safe.
My hounds are poised o’er the kill.
Their dark eyes set on Toulon and Nice.
The destruction of these towns –
Small meals for hungry beasts.

In lovely Dijon
The criminals dance in the street.
In the wake of my passing
No thing will remain but their feet.
All sewers will be clogged.
All toilets will overflow.
I will ride in on a blackened turd
And not a soul shall know.

The pillars of Lyon will fall.
And tomorrow Le Mons will burn.
A thousand Franks stand atop those pillars.
In Le Mon, a thousand more will take their turn.
If the rats are to follow the Piper
Than Death is to follow behind me.
From the nuts in all the nut-houses
To the squirrels in all the trees.

I’ll unpave the roads in Montpellier.
And leave gravel in my wake.
I’ll crush those lovely southern mountains
And dry up all the lakes.
I’ll make a mockery of Strasbourg.
Nearby Germany will cough and laugh.
I’ll strip the women of their clothing
And deny them two week’s worth of baths.
I’ll shave the beardless children –
Those spokesmen for their beloved France.
I’ll unleash an insanely rattled Kevin Bacon
And crown him the King of Dance.

Oh, dear old Jacques,
Will you ever set things straight?
Will you convince your aging wife
To lose a bit of weight?
This lucid battle cry an overblown epic
Intended to stir your souls.
Sweet France has dug herself
Into one too many holes.

Poor Clermont-Ferrand will fall.
It’s sister, Saint-Etienne, shall too.
Woe to the tears of France.
What else was I supposed to do?
Her fish have bellied up.
Her snails have gone on strike.
And now like an ex-American patriot
I’ll do whatever the hell I like.
Listen for my echo in the mountain pass.
Give breath to the silent word.
Keep a sincere vigil on your porcelain rims.
Watch out for the blackened turd.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Lament for the Soldier

A simple soldier's tale - albeit dark and macabre. I wrote this when I was twenty-three and many of my friends were in or joining the military, and maybe I was feeling left out, or maybe the state of the war, even then, made me feel the lack of hope this poem seems to suggest...

The third day,
The fire cracker,
The pain,
My life rearranged,
A bullet through my vein.

A soldier,

Just like me,
His luck,
Now I’m fucked,
In the back of a medical truck.

The fifth day,

I’m going home,
The day ends in night,
No point to fight,
In war nothing’s right.

A medal,

Some words,
A slap,
Should I be happy on my back?
One leg I lack.

The second month,

A lonely house,
Questions still,
No answers to fill,
Each hour brings a new pill.

The first year,

The last day,
A different time,
This gun’s mine,
One more war crime.


Friday, December 3, 2010

A Political Song

Time only seems to make me older, and as I age, and the years accumulate, so too does my disdain for American politics and the system of governance I am a part of. I wrote this poem in a passion of anger once, fueled by some blatant idiocy showcased on the stage that is Washington DC, but I can no longer remember the specifics. As I re-read it now, I think it does not come across as angry enough...

There are whoremongers afoot
     perched in the upper echelons of our government,
Like thieving eagles hording a nest that is not their own,
Mocking us with their repulsive claims of representation,
Tyrants in the cloaks of gentle kings,
They boldly dare us to believe in lies

    and forfeit justice,
Surrender freedom,

They articulate in terms of love,

But their blood is black
   and poison,
Daily does the fissure widen,
Until the gap between them and us

     is a distance no bridge can span,
And our voices are lost echoes that die in the crossing,

What twisted mores do we abide?

Under the banner of peace our soldiers are slaughtered,
Devotion to their country is used against them,
A family is starved in order to save an industrialist,
Long live the Financier,
To abolish sickness we are all pronounced sick,
And our children are introduced to irrational fear,

They ask with hollow eyes and perfect smiles

     that we relinquish our ability to think for ourselves,
To resign our common sense,
Forgo the promises of our forefathers,
Until we are a country weak and brittle,
A prey to our enemies

     and a farce to our allies,
Controlled by those drunk with power,
Long-toothed vampires of vain glory

     siphoning the very life from their own heart,
Kicking out the legs of the chair they sit in,
The throne they have made it into.