A Poem Thread

Probably helped that drafts of Beat poetry were often rendered verbally in front of small audiences, before they ever wound up being published. Hearing how such was meant to be elocuted by the authors themselves, and that traveling about, maybe aided the ultimate editor in deciding that what looked like prose really did qualify as a poem.

Of course, some of the stuff outputted literally was performance poetry. But Ginsberg usually wrote his material down first, even if he did recite it early before crowds. There wasn't improvisation thrown in, which is a key aspect of the other.

If only Roger Corman had done it first...

- - - - - - - - - - -


Tomorrow's such a drag...lol!
The frenzy of Black Friday is over. Time to "swing" into the dread of next month's ongoing shopping spree and preparations.
- - - - - - - - - -

Yuletide Noir (2024 version)

Winter sinks down, the snow builds up.
Don't drink the slumber in old Odin's cup.
Stay awake, catch a midnight muse.
Slap the poor thing with your holiday blues.

A Viking theme, a masquerade.
Not a gunman's gal nor a kingpin's maid.
Yet you're here, you know how to play.
Racketeers revel till it's Christmas Day.

Thor meets Baldur, they're speaking low.
Guess who eavesdrops beneath the mistletoe.
Dirt is sweet, but loot is the best.
One cache hidden is worth two gems possessed.

Jingle some bells, swear some gang vows.
The season is arching its heathen brows.
Dance downstairs, clean the Norse lord's sleigh.
Find yourself a gift before Christmas Day.

Streets aglitter, houses adorned.
Carolers sing like a snitch to be scorned.
Roll your doubts, chance the game of fools.
Point is to vanish under Midgard rules.

Sermon runs long, much to atone.
Huginn and Muninn have already flown.
Rappel cliffs, make your getaway.
And you might live to count to New Year's Day.

When Skadi stalks, her prey is doomed.
The other mobsters seem quaintly costumed.
Dodge arrows, and Ullr's bribed Feds.
Everybody here is missing their meds.

An icy waste, it stretches far.
Reaching the end erases who you are.
Take soiled gold, go where palm fronds sway.
And you might live to count to New Year's Day.

by Bob Perelman, 1999

Aliens have inhabited my aesthetics for
decades. Really since the early 70s.

Before that I pretty much wrote
as myself, though young. But something

has happened to my memory, my
judgment: apparently, my will has been

affected. That old stuff, the fork
in my head, first home run,

Dad falling out of the car―
I remember the words, but I

can't get back there anymore. I
think they must be screening my

sensations. I'm sure my categories have
been messed with. I look at

the anthologies in the big chains
and campus bookstores, even the small

press opium dens, all those stanzas
against the white space―they just

look like the models in the
catalogs. The models have arms and

legs and a head, the poems
mostly don't, but other than that

it's hard―for me anyway―to
tell them apart. There's the sexy

underwear poem, the sturdy workboot poem
you could wear to a party

in a pinch, the little blaspheming
dress poem. There's variety, you say:

the button-down oxford with offrhymed cuffs.
The epic toga, showing some ancient

ankle, the behold! the world is
changed and finally I'm normal flowing

robe and shorts, the full nude,
the scatter―Yes, I suppose there's

variety, but the looks, those come
on and read me for the

inner you I've locked onto with
my cultural capital sensing device looks!

No thanks, Jay Peterman! No thanks,
"Ordinary Evening in New Haven"! I'm

just waiting for my return ticket
to have any meaning, for those

saucer-shaped clouds to lower! The authorities
deny any visitations―hardly a surprise.

And I myself deny them―think
about it. What could motivate a

group of egg-headed, tentacled, slimier-than-thou aestheticians
with techniquies far beyond ours to

visit earth, abduct naive poets, and
inculcate them with otherwordly forms that

are also, if you believe the
tabloids, salacious? And these abductions always

seem to take place in some
provincial setting: isn't that more than

slightly suspicious? Why don't they ever
reveal themselves hovering over some New

York publishing venue? It would be
nice to get some answers here―

we might learn something, about poetry
if nothing else, but I'm not

much help, since I'm an abductee,
at least in theory, though, like

I say, I don't remember much.
But this writing seems pretty normal:

complete sentences; semicolons; yada yada. I
seem to have lost my avant-garde

card in the laundry. They say
that's typical. Well, you'll just have

to use your judgment, earthlings! Judgment,
that's your job! Back to work!

As if you could leave! And
you thought gravity was a problem!


"You lose them over and over,
sometimes in the same day.
When the loss, momentarily forgotten,
creeps up,
and attacks you from behind.
Fresh waves of grief as the realisation hits home,
they are gone.
You don’t just lose someone once,
you lose them every time you open your eyes to a new dawn,
and as you awaken,
so does your memory,
so does the jolting bolt of lightning that rips into your heart,
they are gone.
Losing someone is a journey,
not a one-off.
There is no end to the loss,
there is only a learned skill on how to stay afloat,
when it washes over.
Be kind to those who are sailing this stormy sea,
they have a journey ahead of them,
and a daily shock to the system each time they realise,
they are gone,
You don’t just lose someone once,
you lose them every day,
for a lifetime."
©Donna Ashworth
  • Like
Reactions: C C
"It was beginning winter
An in-between time,
The landscape still partly brown;
The bones of weeds kept swinging in the wind,
Above the blue snow.
It was beginning winter,
The light moved slowly over the frozen field,
Over the dry seed-crowns,
The beautiful surviving bones
Swinging in the wind.
Light traveled over the wide field;
The weeds stopped swinging.
The mind moved, not alone,
Through the clear air, in the silence.
Was it light?
Was it light within?
Was it light within light?
Stillness becoming alive,
Yet still?
A lively understandable spirit
Once entertained you.
It will come again.
Be still.

Theodore Roethke
“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”

Mary Oliver - Don’t Hesitate.
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy...."

Walt Whitman
The ruin and emptiness of cognitive decline, and the futile pretense of halting its progression. New title with the revision.
- - - - - - - - - -

Maintenance Crew (2024 version)

Down a road that's bare of traffic.
Feral district. No demographic.
Cracked pavement sprouting weeds and grass.
Billboards wincing at their vintage past.

Mental spaces. Delusion roams.
Troubled trees groping cobwebbed homes.
Factories burned like twisted cages.
These are dementia's yellowed pages.

Through a town pocked by street art scars.
Sunken-eyed facades; beheaded cars.
Silence still greets our monthly rite.
We're waging on to a better fright.

Relic diner outside the limits.
Desolate farms reached in minutes.
Did Plenitude once bless this land?
A suave shadow surely stole her hand!

There's the spire where judgement started.
Much love lost to the great departed.
Tributes spiral round point zero.
Nameless plaques for each antihero.

What revelations stayed the foe?
Some redacted document might know.
Armed grunts sweep our surreal scene.
Techs upgrade the stout sentry machines.

Requests and commands suffuse hexed air.
Childhood dreams moan deep from their lair.
Above jade hills, light leans its head.
We leave before afternoon has fled.

Later, night's poison slips her levee.
A fat, leering orb sags heavy.
Stoic scarecrows command the field.
Forlorn again, but shall never yield!
Maybe a kind of clinical depression or darkside Valentine's Day ditty and animated avatar for next month. Eight extra lines added since last time, other modifications.
- - - - - - - - -

Shipwrecked (2024 version)

Weeks of creaking timbers.
A voyage beyond stark slopes.
Ship's logbook remembers
How foreboding frayed our hopes.

Oaken ribs cracked the dark.
It lurked muted like a snake.
Damning glare from dawn's arc.
I'm aground upon heartache.

There's haven at the caves.
Brittle bones beneath barbed vines.
Biting flies come in waves.
The greedy gulls hatch designs.

Others have known this isle.
A place of loss and mistake.
Just one's self to revile.
I'm still wrecked upon this ache.

Up south's leafy thicket.
Searching for treasure in vain.
Strange fruit, but I'll pick it.
The peril might dull the pain.

Clinging without reasons.
Ragged sails flutter and break.
Ebbing through the seasons.
I'm still wrecked upon this ache.

Stranded down a pale sea.
Farther than the Queen's domain.
Blurred ghosts can't rescue me.
At our ruins I'll remain.

Hollowed by grating winds.
Wobbling in Poseidon's quake.
A toll that never ends.
I'm still wrecked upon this ache.

Last edited:
"For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.

'How do you know if you are going to die?'
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
'When you can no longer make a fist.'

Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand."

Naomi Shihab Nye
“We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes”
~ Bukowski
  • Like
Reactions: C C
"Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here."
Wendell Berry
Nocturnal Transmissions

Night descends furtively over the landscape,
Trees and mountains, wind and stars.
Dreams echo longingly in my cavernous soul.
Voices are overheard from worlds afar,
Reminding me of other lifetimes.
  • Like
Reactions: C C
"Leave the Christmas tree up
because it makes you happy.
That’s a good enough reason.
Spend the day guilt-free in bed
with the shades drawn.
Justification isn't necessary.
Ignore phone calls
when you don’t have the energy needed.
That’s reasonable.
Some days, I’ll listen to all the sad songs on repeat because I don’t have to fake how I feel.
Our truths must only be honest, not positive.
I can’t hide from myself.
There are parts of who I am
that I’m not proud of.
Pretending they don’t exist
only made me sick.
It only took away from my peace.
Know yourself.
Accept yourself.
We’ve got to start loving what we already have, and who we already are,
on the way to whoever we’re becoming.
Find joy in the mundane.
Embrace your weirdness.
Go where you’re watered.
Grow where others love to see it.
Act childish, be kind, mind your business,
and smile,
because the thrill is life,
and the ride is short."

J. Raymond
"Keep The Tree Up"
From The Kindred Project: Vol. II
"There is a place in you,
a part of your making, that was etched into your bones.
It cannot be taken, abused or stolen.
It is held in your heart, your soul.
A beating, wild ensouled place that can never be damaged.
Be still, be silent and let yourself listen to the language older than words, held deep within.
Waiting to rewild, restrengthen and support you, waiting to introduce you once more, to your shine, your tender and fierce medicine."

- Brigit Anna McNeill
  • Like
Reactions: C C
"Sometimes, when a bird cries out,
Or the wind sweeps through a tree,
Or a dog howls in a far off farm,
I hold still and listen a long time.
My soul turns and goes back to the place
Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
The bird and the blowing wind
Were like me, and were my brothers.
My soul turns into a tree,
And an animal, and a cloud bank.
Then changed and odd it comes home
And asks me questions. What should I reply?"
--Hermann Hesse
"To The Ghost of Jim Morrison"

By Vampyre Mike Kassel


"you were right to take that header in the bathtub.
If you had lived, they would have made you
They would have
tossed you into Betty Ford,
force fed you Antabuse,
bathed you in healthy thoughts,
made you jog.

They would have dressed you in a
three piece black leather business suit
and taught you about real estate.

They would have made you
crawl across the pages of People magazine,
write autobiographies,
hug Phil Donahue.

They would have made you
suck big Jesus dick,
do benefits for the Cirrhosis Foundation,
kiss the patent leather hooves
of Madd Mothers
and Parents' Music Resource Harpies.

They would have made you
eat wheat germ and shit,
judge poetry contests,
talk at high schools.

They would have made you
live in a better house and garden,
save a rain forest,
sing a duet with Linda Ronstadt.
They would have made you write
three thousand times on the blackboard of your soul:

They're beating on the walls of my bunker, Jim,
"Ecstasy can be cured!"
"You're not living up to your end
of the social contract!"
"Do you know what that cigarette is
doing to your lungs?"

There's cracks in the walls.
The Good Health Police
and Citizens for a Sane and Sober Society
have broken out the stun guns.
They're shouting something about safe sex and crack babies.

They want to help me, Jim.
Splash over one side, there,
I'm climbing in.
This bath tub has
a familiar ring."
  • Like
Reactions: C C
"The only thing to be done now,
now that the waves of our undoing
have begun to strike on us,
is to contain ourselves.
To keep still, and let the wreckage
of ourselves go,
let everything go, as the wave smashes us,
yet keep still, and hold
the tiny grain of something that no wave
can wash away,
not even the most massive wave
of destiny.
Among all the smashed debris of myself
keep quiet, and wait.
For the word is Resurrection.
And even the sea of seas will have to
give up its dead."
-- D.H. Lawrence