Monday, July 23, 2007

Taking the Rocket Poetry back...

Since Street Roots has its own blog now -
  • Street Roots blog

  • So, I guess I can do whatever I want with this Rocket Poetry thing.

    Sometime in 1995 at the age of 20 is when I wrote my first poem that I thought was worth a shit. I had written lots of scribbles before, but for the first time in my life I actually thought it was possible to do nothing but bum around the country, do drugs and be a published poet. I mean, Neil and Jack did it right?

    Of course, the buzz eventually wore off and it got harder and harder to get high, so I took more drugs - which didn’t help the getting published part. The writing was great or was it? I don’t remember.

    At 20 I was pretty much wide-eyed and full of shit. Most of my friends were either going to college or learning a profession. I was following the last years of the Dead and bouncing between small towns in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois – working shit jobs and trying to find myself. I hadn’t mastered the hammer and nail, nor did I know rat’s ass of the English language. What the hell was I thinking when I thought about taking up writing as a profession?

    The problem was living in places like Bentonville, Arkansas, Neosho, Missouri, and Bunker Hill, Illinois you didn’t exactly have an audience. The attitude was if you wrote poetry, you were a queer motherfucker and don’t come around here with that silly shit. Ok, I said. Well, what if I write about what the people in these small towns are experiencing? Nothing ever came of that except that I tried to capture those times the best I saw them. And while I’ve had my assed kicked by good ole boys more than once in my life, I can honestly say it wasn’t because of the poetry.

    I eventually left out to Denver and eventually the west coast. And of course most my working class friends give me shit and think I have forgotten about my shit-stained roots – being a writer and all. These are some poems from those times…

    Wal-Mart poem

    Wal-Mart is having a sale
    John Wayne war movies
    Two flags for a dollar
    Get your supplies, 22, and shells

    Limp dick pills, tread mills, hurry on down
    We have dog collars, and video games too
    Learn yourself young how to kill (with a joystick)

    Come on mama, Wal-Mart is having a sale
    Ten local businesses for the price of two

    Reduced prices in hardware
    Tire shops, oil lube, boob tubes, photos and more
    Netting, sewing, arts and crafts,
    Hunting and fishing, grocery goods
    A super sale in sports ware
    Jewels for the shopping fools
    Wayne Newton CDs, DVDs and over-seas sneakers along with the glue

    Come on kids Wal-Mart is having a sale
    School supplies at the corporate rate
    #2 pencils, pens, pads, paper, magic markers and a wallet for dad
    Buy an USA Pride T-shirt
    United We Stand in an outfit made by a seven year old girl

    Have you heard Wal-Mart is coming to a town near you?
    They’ll be happy for you to work in blue for the yellow tag sales
    You’ll be dancing to the minimum wage department store blues
    10% off all the guns and knives and camping gear too
    You may need the supplies when the benefits don’t help you through
    Smiles, drug tests, and non-Union shifts
    Come on America, Wal-Mart is having a sale!

    Twisted Moments Of Reality

    A gentle rain falls in the silence of the evening light
    Chilly winds whistles in our ears
    A special announcement on the AM radio interrupt Jack Buck’s play by play
    As the weatherman secretly gets his kicks
    Storm warnings and tornado tips

    The trees wallow and the stop signs clap
    The wind whips up
    Smiling, clutching our hats
    Watching the lightning flare up the sky
    Laughing and hearts pounding
    Suddenly ‘twas black as night

    It begins to hail and the thunder pounds
    Our emotions strong like the barking dogs heard miles away
    In the distance a rising moon peaks through a dangling telephone wire
    The streetlights swagger and the fire engines howl
    Running through the streets....
    Spreading the news!
    “A Train Is Coming! It Brings Hell!”

    Hearing the far off moan from a cow
    Dirt flies ten fold like Midwestern soil feels to the plow
    Bloody hands
    Bent mettle racing reaction
    Off your feet!
    Find shelter on the dime!
    Swinging debris…
    Young girls screaming!
    That prairie shaking wind robbing us blind!

    Coming back to our senses
    Drizzle, evening light
    Soaking wet
    Breeze races down our spine
    A split second to recall what laid before our eyes
    Only asphalt foundation with lifetimes of accomplishment swept through time
    As poor Mr. Farmer John’s early harvest crown, uprooted!
    Throw all ‘round, spread out over this town
    The power company and police walking the streets
    Not gaining anything
    As Mrs. Peacocks one hundred year old home lie on her 75-year old soul, calm and dead.

    Keep It Going Through the Night

    Cold and hungary
    A life longer dream died tonight
    Thought of a song, think I’ll cry
    Keep it going through the night

    Israel rode louder and longer
    A foul battle cry somewhere in the Pennsylvania night
    Canyons and water filled with blood
    Sixty-men listened to the riddle torn Apache Chief
    before the devil in the blue uniform came calling from above
    Keep it going through the night

    Mother Jones, mother time knows no boundaries
    Another family dries their eyes of the developer’s lies
    Seal way farmers deed. Who is proud?
    Wall Street spells out Satan’s victory
    Land and legends left to crumbs
    Felt it well above the forts and bends
    The Illini’s death for the Detroit skyline
    Sew a nations lifeline on the flag
    Become an empire short to none
    250 years later watch it crumble to the mud
    Keep it going through the night

    Santa Domingo brought death and blood
    Rebels and God brought the light
    Nat Turner and federal blockades
    Dixie is alive tonight, not like when Fort Sumter cried
    The rush of Sherman’s ride - killers killing killers in full stride
    Generations of denial, bloodshed and carpetbagger con lives
    Keep it going through the night

    At the market, bombs and Fed lies
    Working wages for the bread lines
    Kissing snakes, clones on parade
    Weather patterns and the 700 Club bring donations
    If its’ the end of time what do your fear?
    Some busker singing of a better land, maybe west
    Down the forgotten coast on a foggy tide
    Calling out to those who have no pride
    Keep it going through the night

    Flash lights and tackle boxes
    Some realness behind the light
    Catfish pull my line down dark
    where simplicity meets the deep
    Mercy give me a break, art is all I see in anything
    Keep it going through the night

    Friends with who I grew, people who inspire
    Tears and lovers lost in life, missed in flight
    Flying above the hardened people touched by night
    Foreign wars and tornado alarms
    Talk radio, and LSD out under the stars
    Out on the farm you play it loud, play it hard
    Avoid lineage and enjoy the crowds
    Tearing down relations with backwards mouths
    Create trusting barriers and watch them fall
    Keep it going through the night

    Lunches packed, cliquey clack
    “Do you remember me?”
    “No, well let me think awhile back.”
    As the sweat drips down the bill of your hat
    Working under a hot Oklahoma sun
    A poet’s lunch, smoking grass, tit for tat
    This life deals the cards you may play
    If you don’t show for the game
    Your life can become a prop
    An actor acting with no name
    Keep it going through the night

    And if you’re afraid, it’s OK!
    More have gotten through than expected to
    Don’t let them get to you
    Drive somewhere off the map
    She’s painting, I’m writing
    Its worth it today, tomorrow really can’t say
    Balancing this reflection, it bends and cracks
    Beware my friends of the unseen attacks
    Keep it going through the night

    1 comment:

    John Bursell said...

    Love the poems. It's always nice to hear about an artists early years and what they went through. You are an amazing person, never give up my friend!

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