. 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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Louisiana Born

Trying out some new homegrown spice...


I remember being born in the soft yellow guts of a bloated catfish,
Pushed into the dark recess of a rotten
     cypress stump with the rest of her pale brood,
Grasping at the new uncertainty of life,
Wrapped in those slimy gray whiskers and held against blubbery lips,
She whispered my name,
Lifted my head above the black skin of the swamp
     to be baptized in the shared blood of a thousand mosquitoes,
The fresh smell of rotten wood and stagnant water,
The guttural croon of antiquated alligators drunk on love,
Pregnant mother thunderclouds sickly purple and swollen,

The mill whistle sounds and mother calls us in for lunch,

Rice and gravy and pork and carrots and always mashed potatoes,
Homemade shoestring bows and twig-arrows left at the door,
Dirt under our toenails and in the creases of our necks,
Sunday morning sharp in clean clothes never worn elsewhere,
Displayed for local grandmothers who grin with someone else’s bright teeth,
Carving my name with a paper clip into the wood of the pew,
Stealing hidden glances at her sitting pretty with her parents
     but considering donuts after Mass just as earnestly,

I remember watching tug-boats churn through the deeply
     thick gumbo brown waters of the river,

Where my father would drown kittens we couldn’t afford to keep,
Worming my toes down into that malleable silt
     until I grew from the Earth itself,
Discarded trash from passing ships caught in the trees like
     silly Christmas ornaments,
Otters and lonely mallards circling one another in the eddies,
Abandoned rope swings where older kids had braved the cold mad currents,
The older kids that I would one day become,
The distant shore and the tree line of another world,
The levee at my back like an impenetrable wall against reality,

On the back porch a fiddle band plays ,

Fat fingers drumming on the upright bass to the
     swaying summer skirts of dark-eyed girls,
The electric lights and the pale blue moon
     bring sheen to the sweat on their faces,
We left the dance floor and I followed you into the sugarcane,
Those rows of sharp-edged stalks whistling like an ocean,
Kissing you on the soft dirt where armadillos
     sometimes find their evening meal,
Hungry for your lips and the taste of home,
Hart Kingsley and the Creole Cousins singing us to sleep in the distance,
Yapping coyotes hunting field rabbits to wake us in the morning.

1.2011


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hot Dogs and Nachos

Finally, and not soon enough, the last of the fabled Regal Series poems... And for a lowly, poor college kid working behind the concession stand at the movie theater, what awful, fetid, revolting icon better represents the experience than this wholly un-delectable treat? With sticky yellow fingers I wrote this down one day...


Everywhere you go
you can get hot dogs and nachos.
It’s only here that you can
sit down and enjoy them.
Or is it only here you can get them?
Or is it enjoy them?
Is it nachos at all?

Man, I’m having a ball just trying to
figure this whole thing out.
But that’s what life is about.
Or is it hot dogs and nachos?
A brilliant combination,
just hard to find –
together.

Or can you find them easily?
Or is it just the hot dogs
that are easy to find?
Maybe it’s just easier to
sit down to enjoy them.
Or do you sit down with nachos only?

I dream in hot dogs and nachos,
in chili and cheese.
I enjoy them both,
but not when I sit down,
and I never
eat them here.

1.2004


Monday, January 17, 2011

Deer Hunting USA / Time Crisis

Two more from the Regal Series - Again, I'm inspired by the mundane goings-on in the lobby which I had to man for seemingly endless hours. The arcade machines run on loops, over and over again, until they have wormed their way into my brain, and eventually onto the page...



Deer Hunting USA

When’s the last time you used an orange, sawed-off, pump action shotgun
to hunt down digital deer in a covered wood?
When’s the last time you had seventy-five cents?
Money well spent.

Be a big game hunter.
Shoot the buck in the neck.
Collect your trophy
and know your money’s well spent.

Insert a coin and watch him run.
List your initials to remember the fun.
These bullets don’t penetrate or shatter the glass –
There’s no dent.
You know in your head your money’s well spent.

You wanna get in the game?
Make the Idaho Top 10?
Here’s a hint:
Winner’s don’t use drugs.
Their money’s better spent.

2.2004


Time Crisis


Time Crisis –
Break out the twin guns,
Look distinctly American,
Mix broken English and Japanese,
Brother and brother,
Die side by side,
Lover and lover,
Walk away bored.

Time Crisis –
So many dead,
So many bullets,
Left spent on the ground,
How did this happen?
How were we taken over?
Where is an army?
What can two men do?
What is the crisis?

One.
Two.
Now Three.
Time Crisis.

2.18.2004

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Regal

Another from the Regal Series - a fun little poem about my work behind the cash register, which I seldom took seriously and rarely ever did I do what I was told...



Fictitious movies play behind me
like the real one across the counter,
Crowds are my upper
while mid-day is my downer,
If I fail to mention “combo”
it’s a strike against my credit,
While quick work with the broom and pan
is an added bonus to my merit,
These shoes, this shirt, these pants
don’t flatter me if you please,
I feel as ugly as a dog
and might as well have fleas,
But the movie keeps on rolling
on the screen and in the lobby,
It’s only fitting that my betrayal
is against a popular American hobby,
I can hook you up on a weekday
but not for a new release,
I can get you a drink if you bring a cup
but don’t ask me for some treats,
Of course you know I’ve seen ‘em –
every movie in the back,
Of course you know I clean ‘em –
but don’t take that as a fact,
Everyday I head to Regal
a paycheck for a monotonous game,
My ploy’s so close to its ending now
but everyday is still the same.

So smile and say hello,

Smile and say hello,
Can I ring up something for you please,
Oh yeah,
And would you like a combo?

11.2003

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Untitled Movie Theater Lobby Poem

Another from the Regal Series... This one is about a young couple and there interactions in the quiet lobby as I watched them from behind the cash register...


The child sits happily
and munches on his chips.
Do you love him for his young moustache?
Do you love him for his pride –
his experience with the cinema?
Do you love him for the level of “geek”
he has fallen to?
Do you love him for the subject
of the conversations you have with him –
those insanely boring moments of dialogue he enjoys
and you loathe?
No, you do not love him at all –
you wish those chips were poison.

11.2003