Sunday, July 21, 2019

Rick Lupert’s "Hunka Hunka Howdee! Poetry from Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville"

     Rick Lupert, the poet, makes the world a better place for the rest of us. I’m convinced of that fact, especially with his new book, Hunka Hunka Howdee!: Poetry From Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville  (© 2019 Ain't Got No Press), a travelogue of poems and photographs that takes the reader through Memphis (TN), Nashville (TN), and Louisville (KY).
     Lupert documents his (and his wife, Addie’s), 2018 trip to the American South, where he pays homage to music legends like Elvis (“Graceland” and “The Heavy King”), and Johnny Cash (“At the Johnny Cash Museum”), civil rights activist Martin Luther King (“Walking Through the Museum”), bourbon distilleries (“At Maker’s Mark”, and “At the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience”), and lots of observations about ducks (Section 2: “We Arrive in Memphis”). Lupert’s humor, and precise eye for detail, are skillfully employed throughout his poetry, which makes the whole experience of reading Hunka Hunka Howdee! thoroughly entertaining, as in the poem “Goodnight Nashville”:

Nashville, I was suspicious from the start
coming from Memphis where

the local currency is a smile.
But I’ve grown to like you.

I don’t think I’ve wept this much
since New Orleans.

A good city makes the water come.
We’ve left things unsaid and undone.

A roster for the future.
More biscuit for my blood.

More honky for my tonk.
I’m driving away in the morning

the appeal of the brown water
across the border, what you call

whiskey, is what started this
whole thing. You did your part.

The circle is unbroken and 
I’m standing in it.

    Along with the pure enjoyment of reading Hunka Hunka Howdee!, another factor makes me strongly recommend reading Lupert’s work; his recognition of humanity and goodwill in other parts of the country divided by politics/social issues/economics. The people that populate the poems in Hunka Hunka Howdee! are as real and warm and kind as your family and friends, which is a much needed balm to the fractious wounds social media and the current administration have inflicted on the collective consciousness. 

Hunka Hunka Howdee! Poetry from Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville, Rick Lupert, © 2019 Ain’t Got No Press, 276 pages, ISBN 9781733027909,, $19.99

© 2019 marie c lecrivain

Monday, June 17, 2019

Matt McGee's "Remember Captain Save-A-Ho"

This Memorial Day, remember me. I fought twenty-two years in a different war. Local bars and the scene of social tragedies were my front and an AT&T cell phone was how I was radioed into battle, night after night after night.

Everyone had my number stored and they all knew my rank. They’d memorized my name, or some version of it (Matt Cab, Cab Matt, Taxi Matt, Matt Taxi – however they stored it in their cells), and honored my loyal service, year after year.

Night after night as drama struck - and it struck often, I’d be pulled away from another hot meal, another hour’s sleep, another family event. I believed they’d called me specifically, not any other random driver, perhaps out of loyalty but definitely out of need. Everyone needs a friend when they’re hitting rock bottom.

This Memorial Day, remember the friend who always showed up for the pivotal moments in your life, and pulled you out of a few that almost turned tragic. The next time a ride share driver refuses hands-on help in any given situation, remember who used to pull you out of the bushes, held your rings as you dove into a fight, handed his ID to the cops and said ‘I’ll take him straight home.’

This Memorial Day, think of me as you tap on an app. By doing it, you’re voting with a collective voice to announce that my years of sacrifice and loyalty were just fine.. but ultimately aren’t enough. When you tap, and see a price that’s below mine, know that it is the death knell to a way of life that once served us both very well.

After 26 years in the car sales business, my friend Jill retired last weekend. “Nine out of ten people who come into my showroom say ‘thank you very much’ then go buy a car somewhere else.” Ninety percent of her daily labor has been spent educating the car-buying public so they can then tap on an app, and buy a similar car cheaper someplace else.

For years, people have been calling to price shop. One woman I’ve known twelve years called last Wednesday; my price was $4 higher than her app. After twelve years of friendship, she went with.. the app. She still had the gall to call me from the backseat of her ride to ask what places in town were hopping.

This Memorial Day, remember Captain Save-a-Ho. Because starting this week, you’re going to see one less taxi on the road. You probably won’t notice as you’ll likely be burning a stare into your palm, and the car he’s bought looks like almost any other on the road. And in accordance with your preferences, he will no longer leave his driver’s seat to help you.

His new car is comfortable, air conditioned, and doesn’t smell of 400,000 miles of sweat and bodies. He’s enjoyed his vacation, but now it’s time to join the ranks. And he won’t feel like he’s leaving anyone behind.

That was already done years ago.

© 2019 Matt McGee

                                             (c) 2019 marie c lecrivain

Bio: Matt McGee writes short fiction in the Los Angeles area. In 2019, his work has appeared in Biograph, Gnashing Teeth, Otherwise Engaged, poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles, and his story ‘The Rebirthing Shed’ will appear in Zimbell House’s 1929 anthology. When not typing he drives around in a vintage Mazda and plays goalie in local hockey leagues.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Three Poems by Timothy Paul Evans

Sing to It

“the great chain of being”
Sunbathers sprawled atop glaciers
Splashed in rainbow-pigment hues
Free floating eggs, arrowhead
Shaped shells nonchalantly
Drifting on the free exchange
Of ideas, a collective waiting
Up on a mountain waist deep
In snow-encrusted forest
Recorded on 16 mm reels of
Blank verse and alluded
To on postcards post marked
Just this morning, mythical
Rituals and shape shifting
Totemic spirits free falling
From the sensory deprivation
Long reserved only for
The dead

A Silenced Drumming

time to sit still
far from the tumult
of dancers in nowhere
the mischievous antics
upending conventional form
giving agency to the last
nightfall before the dog
days surrender to secrecy
and ciphers, the banality
of winter in all its allegorical
allusions to death before
rising again in the blue
salvation of St. Elmo’s fire
hanging out with language
trying to make a living, just
trying to get ahead, solving
an equation that can’t be
explained away by the music
of ancient bells heard
in a children’s book
once upon a time

A Fortnight of Tears Wiped Away on the
       Sleeve of a Condemned Man

in the ante room of
my dreams I can hear
the rustling of leaves
against the waning night
withered branches
moaning from the ache
of being thrashed about
by the unwelcome
winds of change in
the market value of
weddings and murders
committed in the name
of honor, the value of
a good slap to the head
to jar a memory loose from
its moorings to go floating
off into unexplored realms
of untethered ravings by
the learned men hung
by their wrists in their ivory
towers of learning for
learning’s sake, their cups
of Earl Grey, hot, leaning
over the precipice of an
open window overlooking
the afterthought of the newly
dead not yet tucked in in
among the roses reading
“Good Night Moon” to the
Mourners scattered amongst
The splintered trees of Calvary
Awaiting news as to the Carpenter

Being truly a man of his word

(c) 2019 Timothy Paul Evans

Timothy Paul Evans: Tim came to writing poetry late (in his 60’s). He finds it a great release from his busy schedule of rehearsing and appearing on the stage and in front of film and tv cameras. He recently appeared on stage at the Los Angeles Theater Center in “The Pitch” starring Paul Rodriguez. His poems have appeared in the 2016-2017 and 2018-2019 San Diego Poetry Annual as well as the 2018 National Beat Poetry Festival 10 Year Anthology. He is currently working on a one act play dealing with domestic violence in the immigrant community titled “A Dance” incorporating spoken word, music and dance.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Chris Harden: Four Poems (and Two Spoken Word Pieces)

Ineffable Bond

Praises be to my beautiful Goddess of Love and Light,
This thing we have, this thing we do, feels so good, it feels so right.
I am blessed by your gaze and to stand in your Light.
This ineffable bond we share that draws us in,
Its name we may never know,
it must be nurtured, it must be fed,
with Water and Sunshine, we will watch it grow.
Our union leaves a shimmering trail of golden dust.
Our Lust shone bare and carefully laid before the feet of the All.
By the All, for the All, and in the All we dance a timeless motion.
Chaotic donkey rhythms ripple the fabric of our world,
creating sounds which deliver the sermons of forever.
We chant as the universe harmonizes with us.
Our symphony of Life springs forth in the Joy of our rapture.
Down below, the Ruach will know,
how to capture these sentiments we seek.
Until we arrive we both shall strive to hover above the think.
For as soon as we think, we surely will sink,
bathed in the matter of Malkuthian lather,
birthed in a place filled with Joy.
Our adventurous stories are written for glory,
in the tombs of wise men of old.
And if once again, you would take my hand,
the dance shall start anew.
Through mystic Love we shall rise above,
while the universe is birthed and renewed.

© 2018 Chris Harden

The Face of My Goddess

The Gold of her hair, the Blue of her eyes,
shine forth like the face of my Goddess divine.
Inside we find a lambent flame of Blue.
Her curves like the continuity of existence,
convergent and smooth.
I accepted the dance with an unending expanse,
the omnipresence of her body did arch for me.
Her hands rained down like kisses to the ground,
the dew of her Light flows free.
Infinite Space and the Infinite Stars thereof
embrace me with sweetness and Love.
Division for its sake provides but the chance,
for our union birthed the world up above.
Her kisses transport me to another dimension,
a space which is timeless and vast.
Peacefully I rest, nestled in breasts,
of my Star Goddess whose face I caress.
Our timeless embrace creates just the space,
for hopes and dreams to manifest.
The bliss of our union and the dew of our Lust,
creates a gravity pulling us in.
The All is upon us devouring our bliss,’
there is no beginning or end.
Whirling and stirring we knew from the start,
that the Devil and Death make Art.
Abide with me, my sweetest Love,
always more, never the less.
As you bend down the Joy wells up,
another opportunity for Yes!

© 2018 Chris Harden

Love Conquers, Even in Filth,
or The Quarter Star Motel

Late night stop, O' Lucky U,
no vacancy here.
A shit hole by any other name should smell as bad.
Dried bubblegum on the ceiling,
a mess on the floor was much worse.
A tub filled with shit stains, and a fridge too gross to touch.
Sheets stained with piss, blood, and cum
had never been washed.
What a place for Stars to crash land.
How does one profess the Love of their Star Goddess
amidst the scum, garbage, and shit?
Her halo, brightly shone as I lay her gently on the bed.
Her eyes burning like Twin Suns.
Love conquers even in filth.
Curling up to place my head upon her breast.
A feeling of sand on our feet, under the sheets,
but someone had dumped out their whole bag of meth!
We pushed through to arrive at the Dawn.
The morning light only grossing us out even more.
We embraced through the night but left in great haste.
Love conquers, even in filth, and cuddles are never a waste.

© 2018 Chris Harden

The Mountain don't lie.
It's something you can trust.
Three J's lined up,
but a Master is only slain once.
The illusive power of the almighty Us,
but only a fool would think
they could kill a pile of dust.

© 2019 Chris Harden

Spoken Word


"The legend of Chris Harden is a long and winding tale. He lives in his
pirate-ship shaped house on the side of a glacier in the continental
divide of the Rocky Mountains. Here he is known as The Wizard
of Alice Mountain. He is a philosopher, magician, mathematician,
poet, musician, teacher, wizard, and a great devotee of Love. As an
avatar of Slack the Wizard of Alice spends much of his days working
to be an exemplar through the demonstration of Fun. He begets the
Art of Pushing Through. He daily strives to help others with pushing
through fear, doubt, confusions, etc ... He wields the weapons of the
Adept, Love and Light, striving to be a beacon of hope and to ignite
the fires of Love throughout the world."

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Karen J McDonnell: Two Poems: "An Invitation to the Late Mr. Yeats" and "Corridor Assessment"

An Invitation to the Late Mr Yeats

Return. Regenerate
like Coole's flooded gardens.

This birthday, renew
your initials on the copper beech.

Stay awhile. Listen to swan
wings whack October's lake.

Look for light: svelte,
slivering into the seven woods.

© 2019 Karen J McDonnell

Corridor Assessment

He is in the Assessment Unit.
We are in the corridor.

Later, I fetch coffee.

Plenty of time for small
talk. For memories of the aunt
who insisted on sea

dipping, in her nineties.
Shells and her swimming togs
in the coffin. She sent us

post-decimalisation envelopes
heavy with fifty-pence coins
she sellotaped to birthday cards.

Diagnosis is around the corner.

We might make ninety.
There's laughter in the corridor.

© 2019 Karen J McDonnell

Karen J McDonnell is published most recently in Irish Times New
Irish Writing,, and special Irish editions of The
North and CoastToCoastToCoast. She has won several awards and
been listed in competitions, including 2018’s Anthony Cronin, and
Bangor poetry competitions and the 2017 Robert Monteith, Poems
for Patience, and Dermot Healy Poetry prizes. She has read at festivals
and spoken word venues around Ireland, and on RTÉ Radio's Sunday
Miscellany and The Poetry Programme. Awarded Tyrone Guthrie and
Birr writers’ residencies, her debut poetry collection is This Little World  
(Doire Press). She lives in the Burren, beside the Atlantic.