Listener Challenge: Ode to a Teen Idol

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust (Thuany Gabriela/flickr)

       He leaves no tracks. Slips past, quick as a cat. That's Bowie
       For you: the Pope of Pop, coy as Christ. Like a play
       Within a play, he's trademarked twice. The hours
       Plink past like water from a window A/C. We sweat it out,
       Teach ourselves to wait. Silently, lazily, collapse happens.
       But not for Bowie. He cocks his head, grins that wicked grin.

(Excerpt from Tracy K. Smith's "Don't You Wonder Sometimes," from the collection Life on Mars, reproduced with the permission of Graywolf Press.)


Is there a rock god or some other star you idolized?
Inspired by Smith’s poem about David Bowie, we want your poem about the star who captured your imagination — as a teenager or now. 


  • Post your poem as a Comment below. 
  • Be sure to enter your e-mail address, in case we need to contact you about your poem.
    (Your e-mail address will not be made public.)
  • The deadline to be considered for our contest is 11:59 ET May 6, 2012.
    But you are welcome to continue submitting your work after that.

We may read your submission on the air, and Tracy K. Smith will announce a winner.

The winner of our contest is Matthew Roth — read "To Justin Timberlake."
Thanks to everyone who submitted a poem!

Comments [166]

Magdalena Ball

Ah, missed the deadline. Never mind. This one is for Patti Smith.

Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

electricity pouring from veins and mic
you sang
transformation of waste
brought the house down
babble and gibberish
what kid would know better
we’re still singing
plasma vaporizing garbage
lovely green buzzwords
feel good against the tongue

arc of superheated plasma
better than rock and roll
high-voltage currents
trash to oil
hey ho
we’ve always excelled in waste
here in the 21st century
pretentious no longer
just prescient
to sing on

May. 27 2012 05:43 AM
Marty Gloyna from Bozeman Mt.

the Clash

They weren't handsome, they can't sing
but the resonated with a loud TWANG
through the unemployable 80's
with the angry might of white bread boredom
career opportunities the ones' that never knock

May. 11 2012 11:30 PM
Marty Gloyna from Bozrman mt

they weren't handsome, they can't sing
but they resonated with a loud TWANG
through the unemployable 80's
with the angry might of white bread boredom
career opportunities the ones that never knock

May. 11 2012 07:15 PM

An early trip
Oh and what
a mind bender
Oh your pen
a sender
To higher planes
For one thirteen
to splendor
Opening centuries
erasing time
Seeing eternity
in every line
The Word is audible
and It is writ
His voice I heard
thru Robert Fripp

May. 09 2012 12:15 PM
ANNA from Winchester, Va

"All You Need Love" : A Tribute to the Beatles

Walking through strawberry fields, stop and listen to music that yields.
The singers voice attracts you near, beat of the drums, rhythm instantly clear.

Fragrance of strawberries drifting past, English cologne put into contrast.
Liverpool lads all in black jackets, pants, & shoes out back.

Sudden serenity over you, releasing a feeling of peace anew.
"Love, Love, Love," he sang, lighting your senses. Experience you passion, lower your

Taste a cup of fresh heart, listen as the notes from the bass depart.
Hear the drums and rhythm collide, join the music, grab your ticket to ride.

They were a shaggy four from Liverpool, who fell upon the rock train.
They left their mark upon the world, and touched all hearts the same.

Just watch as the memories grow, standing side by side, through the pleasant and
woe. Confusing or clear, rhythm or not.

Play with Ringo, laugh with John. get wrapped up around their innocents and hold on.
Toss the stones and release the dove. Because when your with the Beatles,

May. 08 2012 03:21 PM
Sarah D. from Minneapolis, MN

Paul Westerberg

Paul fed and cared for my teenage mania,
the same Minneapolis feel, the same Minneapolis freeze.
Poured light into my confusion,
de-thawed my icy unease.

Although he came before me,
he fulfilled all my needs.
Pauly wont you come back, please?
And play a show for me?

May. 07 2012 12:42 PM
John Michael Estes from Atlanta

An Ode To a Dio
By John Michael Estes

After sliding down a Rainbow into Sabbath’s blacken’d doom –
His canticles brought fellowship into my lonesome room.
Tunes that built a brotherhood of rhapsodic ecstasy –
He flashed the El Cornuto from a poster down at me.
A goetic Pan-orama his anthems did reveal,
To inspire the budding aspirant to break Hermetic seal.
The harmony of Wishing Well by hearing ears was heard –
Knowing few can find the Path for Lonely is the Word.
While the tragic Holy Diver flounder’d lost in stormy sea,
His refrains had power to set Philosophic free.
To the poet in myself that wander’d lost in murky bog –
The magic in his verses let the Sun shine through the fog.
But now I have grown older and more wise in sophistry,
And as we grow so do our tastes in multiplicity.
They always said I would outgrow my metallic roots –
But if roots are strong they give birth to new and reaching shoots.
Shoots that climb relentlessly in yearning for the Sun,
Great Trees which spread their branches that squirrelish thoughts may run.
Though Nature built his stature not much over five feet tall,
His music brought forth vet’ran Trees that bring cool shade to all.
With hymns of witchery and wizards – and burning dragon’s breath,
This Dio became a dauntless god that died heroic death.

May. 07 2012 02:15 AM
Shelley Stenhouse from Greenwich Village, NY


I coveted the (wise) crack in your Westchester
whine on the bootleg tape your brother Andy
made (at our boarding school in Switzerland)
long before I saw you live at The Bottom Line,
The Quiet Knight, raising your leg like a peeing dog
in time to your waggling tongue—demented metro-
nome. Ticking off swimming pools, ties and trains,
cummerbunds, ham, you balls-ally sang that unspeak-
able word—my word—“richer.”

Early show, late, early/late, I lauded you,
Loudon III, holy trinity, my doppelganger,
Me-myself-and-I followed you across this country
from club (country club!) to dingy club—
5 in the audience, 4 (magic number), 3, and one
of those numbers was always me. (Why did we
never marry? You had kids with other crazy women…)

Loudon Wainwright, third in a line of wail-ful
wagon-builders (station wagons?), you raced
your triumphal airs into the on-coming rock lane.
LOUD-ON! With un-flagging self-disdain,
sad sarcasm (like me) you made yourself
ugly—off with high cheekbones—free!
Your Brooks Brothers shirts made me hurt.

And here I sit with my friend the cat
(My high school quote is from that song—
I told you at The Lion’s Head, the night
of my mother’s funeral, you happened to
be dining alone at the table next to my family.
(So many ties.)

Truth teller, myth feller, brick house rock
thrower, my muse, my saint, my prince
of suburban plaint. You are what I ain’t:
a songster of Seuss-like simplicity. Let
me try the glass shoe (it fits). We’ll trip
the turfed golf course, dissect the ball
and pull apart its rubber brains, happily…

May. 07 2012 12:47 AM
M.J. Franich

For Janis J - In a Long Print Dress
M.J. Franich

Whenever the music finds me, the wheels on a Peterbilt
truck roar by; a lonesome stretch of asphalt appears, it
Paints its way around the curve, slapping down
The fogline, rattling the gravel where two pairs
Of jeans stand waiting, hip to hip, with nothing left to lose.

Back then, it all fit in a backpack, whatever you could
Carry, and life became a desperate race toward more, a car
To move what you could find, a job, the house, speakers and CD’s,
Audible frequencies measuring what was lost, the sound of
Her desperate, scratchy voice remembering a better time.

Stocks have tumbled, debris washed out to septic seas.
A career, the home and love all gone, like she is,
No flames of midnight fires, no howling in a moonlight moment now.
But strangely, back on the road it’s better, waiting in the rain there,
Singing the song as the world drives by, waving the sign, to Freedom.

May. 07 2012 12:34 AM
Robin Renee from Atco, NJ



When the crowd began to swallow us
there was no time for comparison.
No angry ocean.
No Beatlemania.
The Who had yet to bear witness
to death in Cincinnati.

Doors open.
In seconds, it is
a human autoclave,
heat, pressure
teenage giggle-screams,
full circles around us, we are
blanketed in panic
and passion
many bodies, one drunk giant
My wallet and shoe tugging, then tumbling
beyond the swells and gone
Denise losing breath, slipping, a lost doll down.
Rollercoaster and Rotunda, we’d thought –
another day for you -
as we’d waited, determined, in the oppression of afternoon sun
on the Six Flags stadium gate
first in line, first concert, for our collective first love
Now guards’ hands lift us straight up by thin child’s wrists
Somehow, up and over the death crush
where there is air
for ten-year-olds.

Later when we met back up with Dad and Uncle Lou
I wobbled and hopped, a shoeless pelican.
Between wet-faced sobs, I managed,
“Dad! We saw him! I love him!”
Not only did we survive.
Andy, we had lived glory.


our battle
saw white kids screech on heels and sneakers
at the first note of “Flashlight” or “We Are Family”
Plant themselves on wood slat bleachers, feigning disgust.
Black kids sneered, sidelined
While The Cars reversed the dance flood tide.
Those of us who moved to anything, everything
Still feel coarse skin threads beneath our clothes
sternum to pubis casual vivisection
The prize for refusing to choose.
The scars of high school dances
leave few unmarked.

Three brothers, above all, broke apart the rigid
dividers, rock vs. disco rally powerless against
the greater of movements.
Barry, Maurice, and Robin made infectious proclamation:
“You Should Be Dancin’… Yeah”
And yeah… we did.

I danced. I wrote their names
on science book pages.
I liked the dance, loved the deeper, older
truths, dark stories of New York Mining Disaster
wavering I Started a Joke mystery.
Be Tender With My Love, I could well ask,
fragile in-my-room moments,
listening, finding voice.
This was the secret, sacred place
of chills and harmony.


Students formed the usual lines.
I handed three pennies and a stamp back for each quarter.
Mary’s booming Caribbean voice
with me behind the campus post office counter,
a quiet comfort that morning.
The man on the radio said
“Andy Gibb has died.”
Another radio jock snickered:
“One down, three to go.”
Lost in the back,
delivering no letters
my tears fell in silence
I recalled his beauty
Shadow Dancing
In those years when my mind awakened,
when full-on wanting
bloomed from paper doll desire.

May. 07 2012 12:02 AM
Jesse Dukes from Charlottesville, VA

MTV Music Video Awards, 1993

Everything old is young again, and look
On the TV, there's old Neil Young, again
Onstage with Pearl Jam, pounding through that epic
Anthem every teenage garage band plays.
We’ve discovered he wears the same flannel,
Has had the same unruly hair since ’72.
His filled out six foot six inch frame stalks the stage
End to end like one of Sendak's wild things,
Gnashing his terrible teeth, while Vedder
smashes his microphone stand again and again.
Neil is a broken clock. No, we sleep ‘til noon
And he wrestles the chimes of midnight
from his beat up black Les Paul.

May. 07 2012 12:00 AM
Susan Mertz from Riverview, Florida

Sonnet to Pulitzer Prize Winner, DAVE BARRY!

May I compare you to an Albert Einstein?
You are more alive and more literary!
And when it comes to the relatively fine line
Between Art and Science, you straddle it with commentary
That proves Albert's maxim, "Imagination
Is more important than knowledge"...'though, e'er & anon,
You're well-endowed with both, to balance the equation,
As you write unsolemn columns, not unlike the Parthenon;
It's mostly cracked-up, as are my mental stratums
When I read your hilar'ty for all subjects 'neath the sun,
Including what makes us tick: philosophy! and atoms?
You show us: Everything is Relative, especially when we're having fun!
As for Albert's favorite maxim, " E=mc,squared,"
That's a recipe for Humor, condensed, but not impaired!

May. 06 2012 11:58 PM
Michael Gale

brother David

a basement day early nineteen seventies
within knotty pine walls
Dad's linoleum floor

six stockings hung
on the faux mantle with care
with hope

John, Bernadette, Butch
you and Timothy
would be there

magic, not blue gas flame
slot cars, ice skates, the
of loose pieces in the Schlitz globe
as it spun filled the air

as did Dad's Nat King and Sinatra echoed
into Love was all you need

then from that cold damp floor
grew warm what you planted
until today

and I listened
I listened to wind
the the wind of his soul

where we end up
well I think only God really knows

now, Mom and Tim may know
but thank you for the gift
of those days

for Cat
the boy with the moon and star
on his head
for love, love is all
he said

May. 06 2012 11:55 PM

Tea Leaf Trance

Wanted you to love me
proxy for some unlearnable dance,
to be the one who threw perfect songs at your gate
until one LA FM night
Jim Ladd murmered his “Joni Joni Joni . . . ”

So paint, don’t love me.
Hold me in tea leaf trance
not to penetrate
but its opposite,
to strum your distant galaxy.

May. 06 2012 11:52 PM
John Postel from St. Louis

Tribute (while thinking of Jerry Garcia upon his passing)

Jerry Is An Angel
Would But That It Be So
Notes That Hang In Heaven
Hit Me In The Hollow

Come Along I'll Take You
Where It Is We Would Go
Would You Stand Behind Me
Or Would You Say We Must Go

Jerry Is An Angel

May. 06 2012 11:37 PM
Susan Mertz from Riverview, Florida

Ode to Dave Barry

On the radio Dave Barry said
He's in a BAND of the "Grateful Read".
And he writes no columns, only books.
Either way, Dave rocks & cooks!

His motto: " My column? Nevermore!"
Yet the deadlines still are there,
So Dave keeps going with the chore
Of not writing columns & doesn't care
Who thinks the paper's trite & bare
Because his columns are not there.
Advice to you on your way to the bookstore:
Find his columns, ancient, hardcore...
Quoth the raven, "Evermore!"

As one of humanity's humorous sages
Dave's written books for kids of all ages...
With more on the way,
He has lots to say,
Making it fun to turn the pages.

For whatever subjects dwell in your mind,
And for even the few that don't fit,
Dave adds his wit that doesn't unwind,
Imagination that just won't quit!

If you care to travel to Venus or Mars,
Or wherever else you may roam:
Through CyberSpace all the way to the stars,
Through the Black Holes known as HOME...

Dave Barry gleefully strings you along
Through his Theory of (almost!) Everything:
In thirty plus volumes you can't go wrong
To learn everything rides on a prayer and a wing...

And is related to Everything Else!
There just isn't much Dave can't relate
In metabytes that fizz like Seltz,
Connecting OLD with Up-to-Date,

Connecting issues, people, places
All the way back to antiquity,
And forward again to more recent faces,
Relatives in theory. . . of Relativity!

So it may not be l----o----n-----g before Dave is honored,
At the Kennedy Center for the Amazing Arts,
With the Hawking/Einstein/Twain Award
For the Grand Summation of Parts!

Thank you! from Dr.Soose-on-the-Loose

Also known as amateur doggerelist, Sue Mertz

May. 06 2012 11:37 PM
Laynie Tzena from San Francisco, CA

(to a forgotten idol)

Once upon a time,
if you could pass
or pitch, or dribble,
or say, sing
the right song,

careful not to screw up
I would write our names,
side by side, then take away
the letters we shared, and
write across the top

the first letter of “love,
marriage, friendship, hate,”
those characters so
essential to 7th grade,
where I would finally

have confidence,
sure you were
right for me. I imagine
at that exact moment
you were packing,

waiting for the promised
eggs and coffee, or
tapping on the available
surface, maybe worrying
over that blasted

part of the bridge
that was still bum,
wouldn’t go
where it belonged,
or maybe what I heard

was really the next
box of cigarettes
you were about
to open, seeking
just the right one.

May. 06 2012 11:36 PM
Laynie Tzena from San Francisco, CA

So Close (The Fab Four at SPFHS)

Why knows how long I’ve loved you,
You know I love you still,
Will I wait a lonely lifetime?
If you want me to, I will.

I heard The Beatles in my head
as I studied my beloved
Bill Romano. If only geography
hadn’t kept him from me

this story might end differently.
But destiny (or Mrs. Applebottom)
kept him at arms’ length, just like you
on the living room TV. So close,

so close, and yet so far.
I turned my head to study Bill
and my math grades, well,
let’s just say that there

was no remainder. But
I tuned in anyway,
watched you all religiously,
waiting for a sign.

May. 06 2012 11:30 PM
John McNally from Annandale, NJ


I'm sad I never knew how to cry for you.
The day the cassette tape was passed to me
like secret instructions, my hair stood on end.
This was The One we'd been waiting for all along.
I blew out my woofers two days later competing
with my upstairs neighbor: "Negative Creep" versus
"Knights in White Satin." Speakers could always be
replaced. But no replacing the source of the noise.

On a foggy night in February I couldn't persuade
any of my friends to join me at the bar. I went alone
and watched you reconstruct the air before my eyes.
As I sensed my soul actually lifted from my body, heading
for the ceiling, I suddenly understood your band's name
was no joke. No wonder you couldn't keep your own
soul tethered to the planet. You were conjuring that
nearly every night, and did it for me for only six dollars.

Another album later and somehow the secret got out.
The One we'd been waiting for all along was here. One
who thought it was his gift that made him suffer. One
who regularly beat a guitar to death to expiate the sin.
The drum kit too was not immune to this wrath. In truth
I expected you to go, soon, but impaled upon a high hat.
So when I got the phone call about you and the shotgun,
the shock felt small. What you stole was immeasurable,

incomplete, a favorite part of me. You murdered my hope.
Your music was candy, and food, and poison. Yet the message
seemed to somehow promise the handshake of a compadre.
I wanted to tell you that night at the bar what famous friends
we could be. But we both hid behind our hair. I'll never do
that again. Now I rush to tell everyone how they've changed
me and made me. Maybe it matters. But we all lost The One.
And for what you took, I'll never figure out how to cry for you.

[in memoriam Kurt Cobain]
["This is out of our reach and it's grown."]

May. 06 2012 11:29 PM
Neelam Patel from Arlington, VA

For Dido:-

A waterfall is unafraid of her deepest beauty, and neither is she. She is the ultimate nymph – unafraid of her own water - she dips her feet in, knowing that cold truths warm up like crisp mornings melt into summer days. She dives in, trusting the letters of songs weave themselves into a blanket, ready for her on the other side. She swims in the deep end of course, her arms knowing the ritual of the planet, and her legs unafraid to cause a scene anyway.

She walks and her feet make a pattern in the color green, marking the earth with brightness. With her music at my ready, my poems are delighted to tear out from their holding area, and play like a child in open yards and on the tops of roofs. My courage has found her sister, and if I saw Dido tomorrow, I’d raise my hand, catch her songs from the air where she placed them, and give them back to her - “I Want to Thank You”

May. 06 2012 11:21 PM
Andrew from Seattle

saw a bloke in a cloak
"waving his arms in the air"
he was (were) there
with them
"on a cloud of eiderdown"

"my hairs on end"
but "stars [will] frighten"
streaming by
whilst in overdrive
on a borrowed bike

May. 06 2012 11:21 PM

For Pete Townshend by Lisa S.

Lose me
forward - back

to find you
splintered Gibson
popping, hopping

a young man
broken on an amp
left & right

small high voice, well placed
bow to Moon

give it
ain't got nothin
clock hand whirling
leaning back

all I got
in the world
up & down

hopping, popping, clock hand whirling

May. 06 2012 10:57 PM
Sharon Wahl from Tucson, AZ


We could sell a million records, but if it’s all
twelve-year-old girls who think one of us is pretty,
what the fuck kind of audience is that to have?

-- Nuno Bettencourt, guitarist of EXTREME

One. While she was changing my diaper, I peed on my wealthy, childless,
arrogant great-aunt. My mother gasped and apologized; I had done what she
could only dream of doing.

Two. Photo: I’m on the carpet in diapers, smiling with four new teeth.
My legs are spread wide and between them is my father’s open bottle of
Miller High Life beer.

Three. Photo, close-up profile: Blonde curls, eyes closed, head back,
mouth open: a cherry suspended just above my tongue.

Five. During nap time, while the teacher was out, my three best friends
pulled up their dresses and pulled down their tights, to show David McFadden
their panties. I wanted to. I envied them, until Mrs. Esterbrook came back
early and caught them with their tights around their ankles. Then all
the girls cried, suddenly too young and helpless to pull them back up.

Eight. My best friend Trish, blonde, the shade that makes eyebrows
invisible, explained to me, no longer blonde, that boys would always
like her better. Boys liked blondes. In the comics Archie liked Veronica
more than Betty, but that was an exception: Veronica was rich.

Eleven. I was in love with Phil Volk, the bass player of Paul Revere
and the Raiders. I would be walking around the block, as I did every day
at sunset, when Phil Volk, lost, would drive by and ask for directions.
My family would be on vacation in Florida, and Phil Volk would be staying
in the same motel. I would be in New York City with my parents. They
would have left me to spend the day at the Museum of Natural History,
and there, in the dimly lit hall of dioramas, in front of the rare white
Bengal tiger, would be Phil Volk.

Twelve. Paul Revere and the Raiders were regulars on Dick Clark’s Where
the Action Is, which I watched every afternoon. One day, an hour before
the show, I found red spots on my underpants. My mother had explained
menstruation, but she had forgotten to say how often it happened.
I assumed it was all the time. I looked at the spots and thought,
from now on I’ll bleed. When the show came on I was embarrassed to look
at Phil Volk. I was embarrassed even to think his name. I stared at
the women, the dancers in boots and miniskirts, and thought: All of them
are bleeding. And all women know this, and all men know it about them.

May. 06 2012 10:52 PM
Rick Agran

Thanks to You I Know Part of the City
by Rick Agran

Miles Davis, doo-bop typist on three keys
Punching out the notey, knobby, lump in your throat

Weaving hip-hop, gunshot, and pigeon coo
to a Yellow Cab's syncopated car doors’ slam...

Or the swagger of the long-legged short-skirted
dark-as-night Alabama girl rising the polished stairs

of Grand Central Station into her first night
in the light-washed spring-shined city...

May. 06 2012 10:17 PM
J. R. Cabrales from Phoenix, AZ

Interrogation Of A Witness To A Tarantino Film.

2. Start from the beginning.
When I first heard Jewels and Vincent Vega
that was like a double-barrel pumped twice,
then a shotgun blast to the chest.
I coughed up attention.
This was one bad motherfucker.

4. You were hit?
With blaring surfer rock,
A cheap yellow mug
with premium coffee,
charming reprobates.
They all exploded off the screen.
It was sick,
Jackson Pollack in full effect, homie.

3. Why were you there in the first place?
I wanted to see blood, guts and glory.
Sounds like you did?
I got an ultra-violence revival,
plus blood work and glory guts.

5. Any last words?
This place is a Hell of a world.
We retreat to redeem ourselves.
We zombie out on technology.
We throw ourselves at our jobs.
We fade away with spirits and pharmaceuticals.
But hey…
Rake your Zen Garden,
I'll walk the labyrinth of Pulp Fiction.

1. Thank you, please sit.
I need a lawyer.
I'm not signing nothing.
I didn't see a damn thing.
Fuck you.
Don't be putting words in my mouth.
No hablo ingles, buey.

May. 06 2012 09:49 PM
Mary Collins from Middle Village, NY



Cicada chatter
to a crescendo
falls silent.

A vinyl
33 rpm record
turntable spins
tone arm
finds its track
the song begins
Stevie Wonder sings…

Where has my love gone?
How can I go on?
It seems dear love has gone away

Where is my spirit?
I’m nowhere near it.
Oh yes, my love has gone astray…


The sun has reached its zenith this hot, summer afternoon.
High above the ranch houses and quiet streets,
a Pan Am 727 glides effortlessly eastward
into clumps of clouds moving westward in a hurry.
Looking upward, Janet Caldwell, age eighteen,
studies the busy skies as if it were her future,
reclining on a chaise lounge positioned
to directly face the sun on the side yard lawn.
Oiled slick and deeply tanned,
a black, one-piece bathing suit
highlights her taut dancer’s figure,
and distinguishes a splotch of a beauty mark
on her left thigh. Long, black hair with a hint of tinsel
flows over her bare shoulders. Her white Scottish Terrier,
“Shorty” sleeps by her badly calloused feet.
The ice has all but melted in a tall glass of
diet cola placed awkwardly in the grass beside her.
A paperback lies open, splayed down on her lap. Romeo and Juliet.
Tall hemlocks conceal her from the rest of suburbia.
The glass, sliding doors leading to the living room are open.
A vinyl LP record plays on the stereo inside.
Stevie Wonder. Blame it on the Sun.
The music drifts outside, floating on the heavy, warm air.
She embraces the moment, the sunlight, the heat,
listening to the music
never so relaxed and oh, so young,
believing that
life is truly wonderful
in August, 1972.

--Mary Collins

May. 06 2012 09:12 PM
Erika Larson from Tennessee

Definitely not an old age rocker, but he's my favorite. So, here's to Ben Bruce, of the Asking Alexandria [:

Sweat drips down a pair of two azure sparrows
The modern British invasion
Arrived on the desolate eve of a generation
When Rock and Roll has been forgotten

He does not evade danger
But has befriended it
Coaxed it with his nymphatic ways
They live harmoniously together

The moans and gasp from the audience float
Up to the stage in transparent neon bubbles
That are sucked into his light weaved pulsing aura
Till his skin glows and reflects the emotions back

A bass rhythm beats through your blood at the sight of him
A long-haired prince
Whose pierced smiling mouth could melt
A death glare from Cleopatra herself

May. 06 2012 09:08 PM
bill from Pittsburgh

LA 1976

Travis Bickel stared at the screen
while couples in black & white slumped
to a dirge
Loss and longing reified
and later in search of an author
I drifted.

It was an unusual choice
for a wedding song
but no one knew me very well
and no one listened
I was late for the sky then
I am now
Weary and informed young Mr. Browne
in the background
And just out of reach.

May. 06 2012 09:05 PM
Steve Kraunz from new york

For Vedder

he arose
not like a god
like a rock god
but like god

he rose
not like a greek god
like a god
but god

for creation and
were held square in
his coy

that never left
his pursed uneven
upwards lips

that did not
for a second fade
even when he

when he weeped
when he soared
50 feet above
a sweat filled

who gathered for the
anguish of an old man
in the visage of a boy

who for fame descended
and the accolades of a nation
unwanted and untouched
left alone

finding him crippled
like god on the 8th day
enslaved and sanctified by
what he had

and I
wanted only to
be him

May. 06 2012 09:02 PM
Lisa Sheirer from Thurmont, MD, USA

For Pete Townshend (#1)

Lose me
forward - back

to find you
splintered Gibson
popping, hopping

a young man
broken on an amp
left & right

small high voice, well placed
bow to Moon

give it
ain't got nothin
clock hand whirling
leaning back

all I got
in the world
up & down

hopping, popping, clock hand whirling

May. 06 2012 08:35 PM
Chris Bernadino from NY, USA

This is a repost to address a little grammar problem, hope that doesn't ruffle any feathers.

I'll leave the artist to the end, try to guess while you're reading.

A daily minstrel, whose lyrics wash over me,
coating me like the breath of a locomotive.
My body stumbles drunkenly with you,
cross-eyed in wonder, drawing rattled breath.

I follow as you lead, down strange avenues
to Budapest, Moscow, Berlin, and Montserrat.
To Panama and Alaska, and the wild acres of the wood;
to the northern sea, and the sands of summer.

We meet with the muses, and dance in their halls.
Waltz with the Warchild, Quickstep with the Quizz Kid,
Bungle with a Black Mamba, March with the Mad Scientist
until we collapse with fatigue, bending like a willow.

I’m caught in your lyrical slipstream,
be it poignantly political or succinctly surrealistic.
The choices are daunting; your portfolio a bazaar.
Finally a match, I’ll be singing all day.

I am strung along, dangling with you
as you perch yourself, balanced on one foot.
Proficiency matched only by an unassuming grace.
Silver in hand, visceral, primal, incontestable.

For Ian Anderson, front man of Jethro Tull. One of the great under-appreciated artists of rock and roll.

May. 06 2012 08:00 PM
Chris Bernadino from NY, USA

I'll leave the artist to the end, try to guess while you're reading.

A daily minstrel, whose lyrics wash over me,
coating me like the breath of a locomotive.
My body stumbles drunkenly with you,
cross-eyed in wonder, drawing rattled breath.

I follow as you lead, down strange avenues
to Budapest, Moscow, Berlin, and Montserrat.
To Panama and Alaska, and the wild acres of the wood;
to the northern sea, and the sands of summer.

We meet with the muses, and dance in their halls.
Waltz with the Warchild, Quickstep with the Quizz Kid,
Bungle with a Black Mamba, March with the Mad Scientist
until we collapse with fatigue, bending like a willow.

I’m caught in your lyrical slipstream,
be it poignantly political or succinctly surrealistic.
The choices are daunting; your portfolio a bazaar.
Finally a match, I’ll be singing all day.

I am strung along, dangling with you
as you perch yourself, balanced on one knee.
Proficiency matched only by an unassuming grace.
Silver in hand, visceral, primal, incontestable.

For Ian Anderson, front man of Jethro Tull. One of the great under-appreciated artists of rock and roll.

May. 06 2012 07:23 PM
Red Hayes from Omaha, NE

Il Miglior Fabro

i've been following
Mr. Bad Example
setting a few of my own
cutting my teeth
and my lovers
covering my empty-handed heart
with dirges and dances
flirting with the dark
and Death
laughing all the while, shouting
from cars
from windows
at you, at her
at them
the ones that still
haven't gotten the joke
choking down life
like it's free
the ones that still
recoil from the acerbic
the absurd
the word made flesh
only by tasting the flesh
of the ones we love
spitting it out
or swallow it
it's your choice
it was his voice that told you
it told me in a growl
i first heard the hollow hallelujah resonant
tunnel of a toned howl
from my father and his tapes
it was then i found my way
and later as i stood in my wild age
i heard from my father
don't do as some Excitable Boy do
do what the preacher man say
so i scoffed because
by then i knew nothing
was pretty at all
and heaven was indifferent
now i howl
at the moon and
ride and ride and ride and
beat out that loud tattoo
proclaiming to all
the Gospel According to Warren

May. 06 2012 07:21 PM
Matthew Roth from Raleigh, NC

To Justin Timberlake

JT steps out of the studio backwards
he slides in a borrowed slipshod softshoe
(from MJ) he dizzies his hip shift & doffs his cap
which may or may not be a prop. From the doorway
Timbaland arms-crossed head-nods
bubbling his best Quincy Jones.
They skip down the street for tacos.
Justin shows Timbo his phone
cracking up, he is crying on Punk'd from his palm
or decked all in denim with that damn BS.

Timbaland mumbles a trombone solo
and Hollywood bumps & rings around them
reverberating through school bus & dorm room
heads bobbing over homework
across deserts & cornfields, muddy rivers & sinks
full of soap where husbands two-step

Justin, how could anyone love you more than I
who have been won over from adolescent spite
by the irrefutable humors of your unlikely funk?
How has your dumb stubble charmed me so
past insincere t-shirts to join in the joyous links
of your shimmering cyclical falsetto soul?

May. 06 2012 07:13 PM
Foolish BizCareer from NYC

(do-over!! realized one more syllable would make it a haiku)

Cautionary Tale:
Selling image and not truth
Breaks hearts; fan - artist

May. 06 2012 07:11 PM
Foolish BizCareer from NYC

Cautionary Tale:
Selling image not truth
Breaks hearts; fan - artist

May. 06 2012 07:05 PM
Jeanne Kelly from Leesburg, VA

Then and Now

Sweet 16, never been kissed;
Saw Mick on TV, loved his lips.

Still a fan at 64,
Waiting for the next Stones' tour.

May. 06 2012 04:03 PM
Ben henry from Atlanta, GA

Savage (for Randy)

Have you ever been strong enough?
Strong enough to take on the world;
Don't you wish you were or
Somehow could be

If the light shown just right,
If the glitter shimmered on sprinkled skin,
If the story stretched from Monday to Monday night,
If the raw hide of glowing hubris pitched thin,

Maybe then I would be strong like you;

Threads of leather
Tattered tanks
Raspy peddler
Of slim, smoked franks

The Savage world, Mr. Macho
Swirls on, and on
And without you I scream - 
Raspy and alone

May. 06 2012 03:25 PM
lucy m venable


of sex


May. 06 2012 03:20 PM
Jeff Ligman

A Benediction for David Carradine

The sixties were dying.
The hope of revolution swept away by contagion,
Diluting the innocence of self-interest.
And I had only just arrived,
And it was all nothing at all.
Just like my parents said,
They were lazy degenerates,
They were self-absorbed ingrates,
Just like me.
And they were right.
And they were wrong.
Just like me.
And there you were,
Dead on the same television you had once graced with ease,
Strangled by your own degenerate self-interest.
Was it acting that killed you?
Like so many others raised in a family of stars?
Or just stupid unfortunate consequence?
That role you stumbled upon as revolution became indulgence,
Inspired my years of meditation.
How strange the impetus of enlightenment.
And, grasshopper, it was supposed to be Bruce Lee.
At times my mind so clear, at times so muddied.
Just like you.

May. 06 2012 03:19 PM

I, Virgin, Loved You

You came into my home
singing for your bread and butter.
You came into my bedroom

through waves that disturbed
a teenage daydream
and shook me till I waked

alive. You came into my ears
my hands and feet were dancing
my mouth open and almost

screaming, thinking only
of you again and again.
I proselytized you to crowds

who wanted to hear, to feel.
They were desperate for it
and the lone ones, too.

I whispered to them, no I shouted
to them over and over the volume
as high as we all were then.

You come to me now, more
off-hand, like it’s just another day.
I read somewhere, you listen to Jack White

and I listen to him, too, loud,
and I sing, no, I cry with him,
and I feel you in his licks.

May. 06 2012 03:08 PM
Dan Smith from Portland, TX

Levelland, TX

Endless 8-track loops of flat roads
and car stereos screaming
and hissing
and echoing Gene Simmons.

God of thunder
and dark clown of Kiss
and hypersexual huckster of Rock-n-Roll.

Too alive with blood
and tongue
and leather
and heels.

Desired and fulfilled.

No god or fool or salesman.
Just a teenage nerd not quite enough.
Without the nerve for leather and heels,
but practicing pointing my tongue in the mirror
and bringing real blood.

Desiring and unfulfilled.

May. 06 2012 03:07 PM
Barbara from Ridgewood, NJ

An early trip
Oh and what
a mind bender
Oh your pen
a sender
To higher planes
For one thirteen
to splendor
Opening centuries
erasing time
Seeing eternity
in every line
I raise my glass
to you
Robert Fripp

May. 06 2012 02:59 PM
Elissa Gordon from New Jersey

Here are two short poems, tangentially related because both artists recorded "Shaky Ground". Thank you for the wonderful radio of Studio 360.

I was Standing on Shaky Ground
On seeing Phoebe Snow at The Bottom Line

You were a revelation
in an avalanche of octaves,
a break in the voice
that broke my heart,
a phrasing that carried me
out to sea.

Delbert McClinton

You were young and lean,
your jaw was an angle, hair a little wild.

You sang that song about hitching a ride
in back of a truckload of peaches;
they gave you all you could eat for a quarter.

I squirmed in my seat at your wicked grin
as my Dad asked, Who is this guy?

I was 14 and had just begun
to have thoughts worthy of concealment.

I said I didn’t know,
but I knew, Delbert, I knew.

May. 06 2012 01:56 PM
Ellynne Plotnick from Stamford, CT

Poem for the contest:

Ode to Steven Tyler

I obsessed over
legs leather lean
lithe writhe of hips
gaunt chiseled face
full melon lips
“Walk This Way” mesmerized me

Then I turned fourteen
You became
Nine Inch Nails, angst,
piercings, dejection
vampires, goths,
dark introspection
(pale basement afflictions
with minor chord addictions!)

At twenty, image was supplanted by pure honest sound
Improvisations by artists profound
The passion of Coltrane
The Birth of the Cool
Saxophone Collossus
What kids call “old school”

Though I no longer worship at the altar of rock
(Those overblown stage shows. Those masters of schlock…)
You were my first taste of rebellion and swagger
Now you’re on Idol
What happened, Mick Jagger?

May. 06 2012 01:09 PM
Martin J. Levine from Maplewood, NJ

Breaking Out

Ha! Who needs your numbers?
I’ve got my own!

Five beats to the bar?
Why not?
Why not five or nine or eleven or any number I want?

Tchaikovsky knew it, it turns out,
but he kept it quiet.
Brubeck shouts it from his piano.

I was the weird kid.
Sure, I liked the Beatles,
but it was Brubeck who really did it for me.
(Oh, and the plays of Ionesco.)

Rules? Ideas have no rules!
In my mind,
I can make up unruly worlds.

Of course, there’s the small matter
of getting the old crusty real world
to lie down in the bed of mine,
but maybe making it up was the hard part.

At least there’s no rule
to keep me from thinking so.

May. 06 2012 12:28 PM
K.Morgan Kenyon from The Road to Nowhere


Where from edge of day,
he springs...

alive for mortal flight,

Beckoning immortality
lured Icarus to The Light.

The mountain peaks recede behind,
the sea courses through his veins...

A cerulean sky seduces him, higher and
higher, but those wax wings are feeling the strain.

Ascending, the sky is a spellbinding vision, as his shadow
stains the looming waves,

While blind to everything, but his ambition....
An egregious fate awaits.

That roar in his ears! It must be applause! That glorious
tribute of praise!

But, the cruel sun just melted the dawn into morning...


To/For John Cougar Mellencamp
C. 1992 K.M. Kenyon

May. 06 2012 12:25 PM
Jim Gross from NYC

"Monk's Dance"

Think of one
The loneliest number
He stutter-steps
About the stage

He with piano
Blunt instrument
Clubs us on
Our brittle brains

He with dissonance
Clumsy harmony
Jokes with us
Deadly serious

He the beard-masked
Frightened child
Escapes being eaten
By us his audience

Only by thumping us
And running away

My teenage idols were John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk who is the subject of this poem. The poem is an impression of one of Monk's Carnegie Hall concerts with a big band in which he left the stage early with no explanation. It was originally written around 1967 and reconstructed here.

May. 06 2012 12:10 PM
AAden from Brooklyn

A simple haiku:

Tony Iommi,
God's conduit on earth for
heavy metal riffs.

May. 06 2012 12:05 PM
Stephanie Moldovan from Medford, NJ

So appropriate. His name was Sting.
I was stung. His voice on the radio
In that classroom one lunchtime in 1979.
So distinktive. "Roxanne"

So blond. So bronze. Looks of a god.
A teacher no less. So cool.
So jelous of a girlfriend who saw
him in concert.

So many years have past since then.
Still in love with his music, his voice.
So lucky to have now seen him in concert.
So lucky not just once but twice.

May. 06 2012 11:58 AM
Soham Patel from Pittsburgh

"Duende," "The Body's Question," and "Life on Mars" have taught me so much. Thank you. This one is for Tina Turner.

turn her face to your face
it’s wrinkled and red lipstick
needs a touch up
a new tube/a different color

hard as a bullock’s namesake
or a fifty year old blood stain, woman
won’t wither!—she’s a river stone
lying smooth like some clock’s
second-hand sweeping minutes

May. 06 2012 11:23 AM
Sarah Craft from Moorestown, NJ

My Beautiful (Chemical) Romance

The matted down grass beneath our worn out soles.
Your two lips moving- oozing out phrases that I do not hear.
Everything is drown out by the hum of bodies in my ear.
The empty stage yearns for a hero to hold.

When the first song begins, nothing else matters.
No one else exists,
Except me,
and the melody.
Thousands of bodies before me rise and fall to the beat of the drum.
Close your eyes and listen,
Those rich chords that give music life fill me up and leak out of every scar.

Nothing else matters at this moment.

The language they speak is in a tongue I do not know.
One of six bars,
Treble clefs,
And black ink on Saturday nights with the Band-
But I understand.

When the first stanza of their performance wanes, Gerard begins his talk about peace.
He speaks the words of maxim.
Stay strong.
Stay alive.
Stay true to yourself.
Stay ugly.

They speak to my soul, and She learns quickly.

drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip,
the salty sweet tears roll the blood runs red
from my auburn eyes from the canyons i carve in my wrist
My God... "My God..." i whisper
what he has done, what have i done?
he has changed me, things have changed in me,
for the better. for the worst.
the next song begins-- the radio sings--

Welcome to the Black Parade.
For the five minutes they play, I sing, I scream I cry,
I know every last word,
Every breath they take,
Everything leaves me except the every resonant chords in my throat.
Until this very moment I have never felt so alive.
The scars fade away to nothing,
The tears of many a broken battle vanish.
They have saved me from self destruction.


is my home.
For once I belong-

To the Black Parade.

May. 06 2012 07:58 AM
Tom E Jandric

Tribute to Mose

The parable is allegorical.
It is paradoxical,
and metaphysical.

It’s ironically existential,
and essentially rudimental

It appears
simplistically superficial,
but in reality,
is complexically beneficial.

It’s ergonomically
but ends up
catatonically dogmatic.

Tribute to Bob

I don’t want your proselytizing
Nor do I need your rationalizing.

I don’t need your theorizing
so put away your patronizing.

I don’t want to be defined,
condescended to or re-aligned.

I don’t want to be transfixed,
preached to, denied, or even nixed.

All I really need is your sympathy,
An, “I statement” feeling
and all your empathy.

May. 06 2012 12:10 AM
Diarmuid Caomhanách from Omaha, Nebraska

The Warrior-Poet A Sea

I think of Springsteen,
but Guthrie's bearing down on me.
I'm covered in grease and grime
Spurned by that girl
Lazy Spring rain drowned out
by speeding cars and drunks and thunder

I can't picture the line
between misery-
meted out by masquerades in the moonlight and
men mired in the right & wrong of honest thoughts,
thrown at those powers that wrought pain upon faces
I'll never see, never name, but know only as downtrodden
They that had songs & souls
that built roads, worked on and on
until some battle struck them down
or fought on to give another story told
a tale their children held
in union halls through lay-offs
and even in dark rooms of heat and whispers
where my generation would be conceived
-and ecstasy.
I can't pretend to know
What glory and pride is bestowed upon these
that have held the heart of America
in their own mortal hands.

I know, I have only
what those hands have shown me
hope for a homeland
love for a lonely man

May. 06 2012 12:04 AM
Ken Clayton from Annapolis MD

Police and Thieves Stride from my radio
Instantly energizing and destroying passivity
I rise and know that I must act on what I need
3 chords and and an attitude gave that to me
I haven't looked back

May. 05 2012 11:38 PM
Rodica Woodbury from Boston

(For Bruce Springsteen - written in 1975 when he played the Georgetown University gym, just before he hit the big time. I brought this with me to give him.)

You slinked onto the stage like a tomcat
looking for a feline in heat
Reached for the mike like you found her
And whispered the first strand of sweet nothings
into her willing ear ...
Setting our kerosened expectancy on fire.
You needed no introduction – those lines gave you away –
your world of corner boys and sweet sixteens,
Cruising the boardwalks in footsteps that echoed
the beat of Jersey summers ...
Crossing the bridge to New York City at 4 a.m.,
searching out the junk man, the woman, the railroad tracks.
Ballads of Johns and Janes, the everyman’s fantasy,
you drove us like a shepherd - we the flock -
waving your staff like a flag on the virgin ground
of the stage ...
Your energy incited us, consumed us,
tamed the wild and set the innocent free ...
Threw fire on desire, ice on spite,
cried out in pain like a hurt animal – pity those
Who have not lived the life of the young as I have done.
And coming down, we fell beneath you
under that welcome weight of seductive, split-second silence
Hushed, not mellow....
And, as high voltage struck your high-wired frame
in one final bolt of lightning,
You leapt from the stage, back to your time, back to the street
To walk till daylight maybe.

May. 05 2012 11:06 PM
Sarah McKinstry-Brown

Letter to Kurt

When I heard you’d done yourself in, I was on my way
to a guitar lesson. At the time, I was in love
with the closest thing I could get to you:
he was somewhere between boy and man and we tore
our apartment apart in the name of love.

Listen, we weren’t just carbon copycats of you and Courtney—
we fought harder and better—it’s just that with he and I
no one but the neighbor was watching.

Before that, I used to live like a butterfly,
like I was going to die in ten days.
I’d wake up in train cars with older guys,
my nail polish always chipped
as we wandered around town
giving every one the finger. Kurt,

when you pulled the trigger,
and the shotgun blew a steel kiss into your brain,
was it bliss? Did you finally see the world
the way you and I knew it should be?
Did you see with kaleidoscope eyes?
The world shattering into a million colors
to form a new kind of lie?

I could hardly stomach the news reports.
They pronounced you dead in a 30 second edited piece,
said you “took your life” when we all knew
you blew your brains out. Kurt, you left us

open mouthed--baby birds waiting for food to come
from someone who lies broken winged on the ground below. Okay,
so it’s not the best metaphor but how dare you
let your lips go blue; the rest of us dressed just like you
and were content to die a little every day
knowing we’d never make the national news.

And now you’ve gone, the way the river’s done,
the way most of our daddies did. You left us
alone in rooms with an MTV
that couldn’t wait to pull
the wool back over our brains,
spoon feeding us a steady diet of lullabies
until we all got sleepy
and waved goodbye.

We still got up for school,
and now we go to work, strung out
on an hourly wage so we can turn up the heat
and make the lights go, wondering
if this is what our parents meant
when they said “Grow up.”

Though the new young
pine for you and open their wallets
for shirts with your face on them, Kurt,
I’m not impressed. Now you’re just another
sarcophagus; another grown man
we thought we could trust.

May. 05 2012 09:54 PM
Dan Pilkington from Steubenville OH

Jim Morrison Turning Down an Interview with Larry King

I no longer need to expose myself man!

I never did

it was all a gag

a gig

a statement

a cattle drive of lost souls all fantasy & urge

I was married in the rituals

of wine poetry & lust

now I’m joined at the hip with the godhead man!

the pain

the need to prove something

are gone!

if I had to do all over I wouldn’t change a thing

live young!

die fast!

be immortal!

life is the kindergarten of the soul man!

all cartoons & candy

hell is growing old enough to see this

purgatory is in your mind your head

the endless flapping of your tongue man!

May. 05 2012 09:12 PM

Burnin Down the House that Bernie Worrell Built

You would be surprised to know
how many times Bernie snuck into your bed.
How many notes he played inside your head. You,

looking in broad daylight with a Flashlight might be
able to coax him out and ask him … Are you happy?
Is that a song? Then he would reply … “Are you dancing?”

Like some allegorical apocalypse - his fingers compose.
Cause when he whispers in god’s ear, god whispers back.
The man’s connected, you know what I mean.
Beethoven rolls over and utters only two words …. “Teach me.”

May. 05 2012 07:19 PM
bree donovan from Moorestown, New Jersey

For Jim

A voice drifting over the 8 track
The window rolled down of my brother’s car
The music tenacious and saffron as bee’s wax
Worn denim, wild curls, the rough and jumble of stars
The familiar cigar
Songs tasting of Jim Beam.

Calm breezes, dark, clear sky
Five miles visibility
A pilot’s unsteady eye
Disturbs the tranquility
Of a tree, precious lives, pecans
Dive to the ground
Entangled with a young man’s dream.

But the roller derby queens
And the bad boys from town
Take to the wind like seedlings
He gave a name to the junkyard hounds
To Adrian James, his being-a father’s sound.

Does it have to be this way?
All his seconds saved in bottles
Cleansed by the sea, salt and waves
His words Ingrid cockles
To her breast, breathing in
Breathing out

May. 05 2012 06:02 PM
Mark Palos from Manchester, NH


If you tuned into BBC 2,
On October 27, 1977,
You expected to see the Alex Harvey Band;
But two weeks short of breaking up
They had canceled that morning.

Management was so desperate to find an act to fill in,
They took a band they had never heard of,
From Australia,
On their first tour of England.
Playing bars for beer money.

So last minute was this decision,
the notes on who he was introducing
were handed to the host
after the cameras were already rolling.
The syllables came out awkward
“And now… AC/DC…”

Before he was even finished,
Angus came running out.
Tethered to the earth only by the cord of his guitar.
Playing so hard and fast his hat flew off!
He seemed to be terrified,
In a frenzy,
Like wrestling a wild animal...
Afraid he might lose control of it.
The sounds that came forth were surprising
Coming from a man dressed as a schoolboy
With a guitar that was practically bigger than him...

Then came Bon.
Godzilla tall,
City-crushing dominant,
Banshee certain,
Wearing only denim and boots.
Covered in genuine jailhouse tattoos,
and in jeans so tight,
You could see...
his secret...

And when he opened his mouth,
It was all the snakes of Eden,
The brimstone of banishment.
Like the country he was born to,
The music that molded him,
The prison he had just been released from.
He didn’t hit notes,
He pummeled them,
Bulldozed the scales,
A sonic punch to the heart,
This was rock!

For the first ten minutes,
The cameras never showed the audience.
They sat post-mortem still,
Wide-eyed like a bunch of headlight deer

See, the problem was
People were still hip-deep in a decade of hangover disco,
Steely Dan boring,
We needed an adrenaline WAKE-UP call!
A little hair of the dog
That had bit the entire world twenty years before...
It was time for some rock.

This was a band
That looked like they robbed a seven-eleven on the way over.
If you weren’t gonna lend them your ear
They’d steal it!
Prison break sexy,
This was dark like blues,
angry like punk,
Honest like Amadeus,
Avalanching onto an audience stiff with pretension,
Those people left bone-broken
full of street fight fallout.

These guys were gonna rock
Whether you wanted it or not.

Steady like a juggernaut,
Tsunami aggressive,
Frankenstein frightening,
Lassoed lightning!
A Blitzkrieg reminder
Of the rock the world had forgotten!

So run for your bomb shelters, London!
Because if you sit still any longer
There are no guarantees
The power on stage...
Won’t kill you.

May. 05 2012 05:16 PM
Robert from Brooklyn, NY

Eternally Obliged: Sublime, Lyrical

The heroes of my youth don’t lie.
These heroes, always in my mind.
My heroes sing with crooning sex appeal.
Gods of rock, preserved within the sap of time.
Like Freddie, who years to break free and
Live forever, a champion of unbridled sexuality.
Also, Jerry, whose drug induced haze inspired
A generation to get on the bus and follow,
The pied piper of psychedelic dreaming,
Always one more Saturday night,
Eternally, eyes of the world.
Zappa too, whose musical prodigy.
Mistaken for savage insanity
Threatened and assaulted
In a polyphonic discordant symphony
Of rainbow colored melody.
These are my idols, talking in my dreams.
They provide the soundtrack of my life,
My soul. These would-be friends from
Another life; I owe them my gratitude.
For your musical gifts, I give thanks.
The heroes of my youth live on.
These heroes, always in my heart.

May. 05 2012 05:10 PM

Paul Simon Limousine Dream Part 2

Well now he turns around and says,
“I guess I’ll drive you home,
And though I wrote those by myself
I hate to sing alone.

My voice is not my greatest strength.
We short guys can sound shrill
And, Art was tall and flexible
He really fit the bill.

These days I push the envelope
I try all sorts of things
But when I hear them in my head,
It’s always Art that sings.

The background and the harmony
While I still take the lead.
And if he overshadows me,
I merely pull the feed.”

Well then, I hear an evil laugh,
A short guy kind of sneer.
The limousine pulls to the curb,
“My dear, guess we are here”

Well Paul has on a chauffeurs cap,
He does not take it off
He does not open up the door
Not even when I cough.

So I get out, and as I turn
He rolls the window down.
He says, “No tip? Because I’m short?”
He has an awful frown.

I smile – ‘The truth? You may be short,
But you sure know how to write,
But I’m a little short on cash
So I’ll just say goodnight.

I thank you for the Limousine
And all the great advice.
And when I wake up from this dream,
I’ll write you something nice.

And that will be my tip for you
It’s all I have to spare
Perhaps I’ll write a song that sells
Just like Scarborough Fair.

There must be at least 50 Ways,
And room for me to say… “
But Paul just beeped the horn two times
Slip Sliding, drove away

Copyright C Robin Amy Bass

May. 05 2012 05:01 PM
Robin Amy B

Robin Amy Bass
I dreamt that I had writer’s block
So I went for a walk
I searched all night for company
I just wanted to talk.

Well then, I spied, a great big car;
It pulls up next to me.
A short guy on a phone book says,
“Get In and come with me!”

Paul Simon in a limousine
Just like the guy in his song.
But he is the driver’s seat
I hope that nothing’s wrong

When I get in, I ask him why?
He says it’s that kind of day.
He likes to back seat drive too much
His driver ran away.

So I pretend that he is right,
But I am so surprised
For he is famous – and to me
A hero in my eyes.

I tell him I know all his songs
And most of them are good.
Of course, a few could use some work.
He says, I’m right, he should

Really, try to get on it;
tighten up some licks.
Some early stuff needs editing –
There’s still a lot to fix.

Well then, I ask him, everything
That has been on my mind,
Like if he writes down all his thoughts
Do words just flow, like wine?

Or does he have to stop and think
Like I am apt to do.
He’s older than me – 65?
Perhaps he has a clue

For I am not a kid – I say
I started writing late.

Well he does not talk down to me.
“There’s no need to defend.”
He drives me in this limousine
And treats me like a friend.

Well I know this is just a dream
But I enjoy the ride.
I figure it’s my only chance;
I swallow all my pride.

I say “Paul, just tell me everything,
Those writers secrets too.
Like do you have a favorite time
Or write when you are blue?

I’m such a fan – my favorite line
I guess I there’s more than one
Like ‘One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor’
He says, “Yeah that was fun!”

“But you know I think I hit my stride
With ‘One and one-half wandering Jews’
But Carrie never liked that line,
Said it made her sound confused.”

“We both grew up in Forest Hills”
I make it understood
He nods, as he adjusts his cap
“A sister from the hood?”

“I can’t explain it all to you;
Just write down what you know.
‘Cause in the end, you never guess
Which way the words will go.

And you can always throw it out
And you can start again.
So always, take a pad with you
And always have a pen.”

And then he smiles, and turns around
He’s really not that short.
And I just nod; I’m smart enough,
To stifle my retort.

Instead, I give a compliment
Out loud I say, “You’re great.
And it’s a shame the Capeman closed
The critics under rate

Your work – they never understood
Those last few offerings
And by the way, I never liked
The way that tall person sings.

.....part 2 continued in next comment

May. 05 2012 04:59 PM
toni dalton from nyc

Poem For Krista

The astral world of intentions
does a slow dance around my heart,
reminding me of everyone i’ve ever danced with
to the never ending tune of “It aint me babe”
The resonance of Laurie Andersons voice,
penetrates my body, whispering anybody home?
The magnitude of Patricia’s love for
Mother meera makes me wonder
Who..oooo is loving me..
The pink of Krista’s heart,floods my soul with God,
while the universal lightshow simultaneously displays itself.
The elf of my mind appears as if she understands,
as i spin off to territory i am compelled to remember.
Recordings of linear time inculcate my destiny.
Trails of trickster remains,fortify the mirror,
while the glasscutter of truth is slicing the veils,
exposing me to eternal considerations.

Toni Dalton

Laurie Anderson the inspirant

May. 05 2012 04:53 PM
Daniel Gula from New London, CT

Amplified Blues Mostly

He wants to change. To become anything else
other than what his peers have convinced him he is
surely a butterfly or a tadpole would comprehend.
The frog becomes a prince; the ugly duckling
a swan. And his mother
no longer conjures her youth
because of the grief it caused which is all the sea
and the wind and the rain know then say
over and over again. No one is listening

really. Closing his eyes, though, her son is learning
to hear pain expressed transforming the world his body is thanks
to Jimi Hendrix whose "church music"
surging does heal.
This is the sound of health, spiritual and physical.
Looking at the poster he thinks how
beautiful Hendrix was: the cheeks are Indian-high,
the lips full; the little delicate moustache he could have
someday but the afro he can't because he's white.

May. 05 2012 03:03 PM
Emily Mitchell from New York City

Martin and Lewis

The French may be right
That crazy, spazzy Jerry is a comic genius.
But before Gallic ascension and seminar studies,
Before all the academic stuff, there was his partner.
His buddy Dino.
From the beginning, Jerry worked it to win.
Dean would let it be, take it free and easy, slip into song, make us sway.
The moon--it was his pie, a big pizza pie.

Laid-back and lazed, he set the kid straight, cooled him down.
Dean liked him, and we followed his lead, liked him too.
Liked the pity-me whine, the laugh-as-bray, the gimme-grab for attention.
Because of Dean. He suffered the fool.

May. 05 2012 02:21 PM
Anastasia Laurenzi from Memphis, TN

Late Night Music Club

it was late December, 1971.

ol' Pete had a reel to reel tape recorder near his amp rig, on the floor. he switched it on, playing the synthesizer part he had created that runs thru the song. everybody played in unison.

Daltry was swinging his mic by holding its cable, in what looked like a 20 ft radius as the intro played on. at the last possible instant he jerked the cable when the mic was out over the audience and it flew back into his hand for his opening lines.

Townsend was dancing around, jumped up into the air during his windmill chording and landed, his right foot down thru the stage floor.
he went down on one foot, his ass nearly to the floor pushing himself right back up thru the stage, never missing a lick.
he stepped away from the hole and nodded to it with his shoulder, a little grin on his face saying, 'ain't nothin'.

Entwhistle stood like a statue the entire evening, playing the bass like it was a rhythm guitar.

Moon's drumming simply was not to be believed.

i went to the concert with two friends and left with your Mom. it was the night we got together. magic.

May. 05 2012 01:06 PM
laurie rose from Boston


How he and John were twin muses
Nose to nose on a single bed strumming

How he held on to George at the end
(here on earth)
I imagine peace with them
in some Penny Lane heaven
striped rainbow, naked, free and humming

I can see him winking from the cover of HELP
weeping and wailing, as he put it, to Linda for John

Feeling his pain into mine, losing too soon,
my divorce, her death, our soul mates

Not that he made light, but that his spirit ,
Call it Mary, could see light through
to a lyric or a new love.

And to me:
On the cold long metal table with laser beams
targeted on my right breast
I walked with them cross Abbey Road--
Paul holding my trembling hand tight.

May. 05 2012 12:32 PM

End of the Night

A ghost precedes us
A shadow follows us
Each time we stop
We fall
– Jim Morrison

Rimbaud not rock
tuned him to vibrations
beyond circus stage

by ridicule of easy adulation
by solitary audience
with opium dens of the word

Wrote vanity of the senses
from inside humbucker
circuits of heavenly arcana

Donned shaman’s headdress
to break the night order
to test its avian wilderness

Decades later his Blake door swings
on Andalusian trade winds
of flamenco & blues-bent strings

of lucid inescapable rhythms
stolen from Stevens blackbirds
that his Accipiter vanquished

of galleon sailor melody raised up
of once-insouciant blackbirds
gone limp in his talons

of medicine men on highways bled
into realms of light
trapped in endless night

itinerant baritone ecstasy
oeuvre of dualist rant
pop frame become canto

Bird of prey
Bird of prey
Flying high
Flying high
Am I going to die

Bird of prey
Bird of prey
Flying high
Flying high
Take me on your flight

Stuck her with knives
& returned often to scenes
no imagist survives

as with equally eerie poise
his obedient seductress
repaid him with deadly joy

-- the rotational delusion
of darkest night
of perfectible mimicry

now & then swooping down
to peck out my ears
& silence what remains of him

May. 05 2012 11:24 AM
Marie Harris from Barrington, NH

I think I secretly wanted to be the girl
you dreamed about as you stood
staring at the phone number
smeared on the tiled wall
by the stalls in a basement jazz club
in Greenwich Village back
when Monk or Mingus or Miles
could have been standing beside you
between sets dreaming
of a number...

and here's my chance.

May. 05 2012 10:21 AM
Terry Guerin from Philadelphia Pa


Black Bangs
resting on
double curved black lashes
framing eyes

so cool in
so uciant

a cold drink of water


they say you're young
but I know

I want to be you
when I grow young

May. 05 2012 10:17 AM
Rebecca Myers from Athens, GA

Spin Doctors

No one ever knelt
before me. I made the band out to be something
they were not -- the bitter pill
of moment-worship
that what I worshiped
sucked. At night I slept
in head gear. "Little Miss

Can't Be Wrong" on cassette
on repeat. I taped it off the radio,
DJ talking through the chorus. Cautious even at my most
devoted, I never bought the album.

In school I was the last to finish
the mile. I slung my legs to the beat
of the flash-in-the-pan
corporate grunge
I loved -- why is it we move
most enthusiastically towards
that which is no good? My first concert:

on the lawn at Walnut Creek,
1991, air thick with allergens and beer,
a throng of people fist-pumping
"Two Princes." I shared a blanket
with my older cousin just returned
from Europe. This was before
he found religion, before the duality of God
became a pressing question. I was thinking about
rock, the story I would tell. In my slip dress
over jeans I twirled to an excess
of guitar, chanted Chris Barron!
into cupped hands.
I had arrived.

So many years appraising
the now only to learn
it was different then --
each song racketing me back
to what stood before me
so clearly, singly.

May. 05 2012 09:28 AM
Glanigeur from Massachusetts

Here are TWO poems (both are in the form called a "Roundel")for the "Listener Challenge: Ode to a Teen Idol" Contest. I hope you enjoy both, but if I'm only allowed to submit ONE, then of course, please choose only ONE. Please note: the total lack of punctuation is deliberate. And thank you very much for a wonderful radio show!


As a dreaming young student pursuing in college
new freedoms romantic and resonant
I was fond of artistical mystical knowledge
as a dreaming young student

Kay Gardner's soft notes circling 'round were sent
then an Emerson Lake and Palmer voyage
The Doors (Huxley's book and the band is meant)

But profound in its eloquence and ancient knowledge
was Shankar's hypnotic devout intent
which could carry me to a sublime inner vantage
as a dreaming young student

Copyright © 2012 L. A. “Glanigeur” Carlson
(Ravi Shankar and college in the 1970s)



My yen for art led to the rack
of posters at the Harvard “Coop”
I would not let my friends sidetrack
my yen for art

Cool posters incense sounds pervaded
fashionable college rooms
a stunner had me riveted
Wulfing's “The Floating” I brought home
that woman-moth with wings and moon
and dreamy colors helped me fathom
my ken of art

Copyright ゥ 2012 L. A. “Glanigeur” Carlson
(Sulamith Wulfing's art in the 1970s)

May. 05 2012 04:37 AM
David Risk from New York City

The Three Cs

To a party most swank I was invited
in New York City to honor an icon,
an Italian whose passion was excited
by the industry that made him its scion.
The art of film he cast international,
but boasting was not a shoe he would try on.
Dino De Laurentis stood before me,
an elderly man, wizened and portly.

“This is a poet, Nino Provenzano,”
was my introduction to De Laurentis.
“Writes Sicilian and born Siciliano.”
He scrutinized me like I’m his apprentice.
“You are a poet? So let me hear a bit,
here and now, be the poet compos mentis.
So there on the spot, eight lines I recited.
He listened and smiled, more than excited.

“Bella! my friend. Indeed that is poetry.
But explain to me why you write in that tongue.
Sicilian is grand. We know that from history.
Why not scale Italian, or the English rung?
If you desire fame that has legs near and far,
choose the lingo where your praises can be sung.
The secret is simple. It’s in the three Cs.
Pay close attention and I’ll put you at ease.”

“The first C stands for cerebrum, or, the brain.
My dear Nino, intellect is like a bird.
Up it flies in search, an idea to gain.
Not for twigs or worms, but for the perfect word.
It is a fishing line dropped to the depths of
the sea, pulling up the subconscious, I’ve heard.
Remember, this first C stands for cerebrum,
if an artist is what you wish to become.”

“The second C is for cori, which is: heart,
a fountain shower of sensibility.
The artist makes treasure and elevates art,
if this C informs his creativity.
Into the artist’s dough, he kneads sweet honey
and combines it with art’s serendipity.
With a brain in your head, and heart in your chest,
only then does pure art become manifest.”

“Now, what the third C stands for, my dear Nino
is something that not everybody has got.
Miraculous and divine,” exclaimed Dino.
“So banish your shyness and give it a shot.
Push your gift forward to its own destiny,
recited or written, for that matters not.
The art of poetry can smash through walls.
This C is for cugghiuna, which is the balls.

“If I’m not mistaken,” I quickly replied,
“all three of your Cs are elemental for
all goals in life. Surely all three are applied.
Balls and heart and brains are what we’re thankful for.”
“No,” Dino cried, “you still don’t understand it.
Two out of three, in business; that’s what’s called for.
Big balls and big brains, yes man, that’s all you’ll need.
Throw in the heart and you’ll never succeed.”

His notion left me stunned and disconcerted.
This was contrary to everything I’d found.
Subtracting heart, to me, just seemed perverted.
“Don’t bullshit me,” I quipped. “You’re theory’s unsound.
He who rolls up his sleeves and digs in to help
brings eye-to-eye heart to pure giving unbound.”
From what I know I’ll keep all three united.
Leave out the heart and you’re simply benighted.


Translated from the Sicilian
by David Risk
May 4, 2012

May. 04 2012 11:12 PM


She was a fixed point
In a world of confusion
Iwas aws by her
on and off the court.

On, she seemed unstoppable
Powerful,fast, and composed
Winning the friendship
Even of her foes.

Off the court, she was different.
Her accent was unfamiliar.
Yet I identified with her
like no other.

She chllanged people
Just being who she is.
She believed American Freedom
but freedom had limits.

Martina stood for so many
Silent Others.
She endured
the hateful comments.

Her private life
So publicly scrutinized
Judged and misunderstood,
And she endured.

She is and Icon.
For so many, immigrants,
Women,and the LGBTQ but mostly
For Tennis.

May. 04 2012 10:56 PM
Richard Vargas from Albuquerque, NM


lifted my copy at Zody’s
blended into a background
of imported electric appliances
and cheap underwear
casually checked out
the entries and exits
of the record dept.
before making my move

i was there to take back
what the self-appointed
moneychangers of my
teen religion were
trying to sell me

bold and stupid
i hid my prize behind
another package
carried under my arm
walked past the old guy
in his gray security uniform
waved as i went out the door

once i got home
closed the door to my room
pulled down the shades
tuned up my
Montgomery Ward stereo
full blast

Jimi’s guitar made the sounds
of artillery rounds exploding
in my brain

my war had just begun
it was going to be a long one

May. 04 2012 05:51 PM
Natalie Clayton from Salt Lake City, UT

To Karen Carpenter

I had only just begun to find you
Among the hokey lyrics and pompous piano
When I realized that you were gone.
Your heart wouldn’t let you go on.

But the haunting loveliness of Horizon
Made our voices one and kept my teenage pains
Far from the shadows of my mind.
My heart is what I was beginning to find.

I, too, sang long ago and oh so far away
With my deep tragic eyes hiding something
That I could not say or do.
I wanted to share my heart with you.

Now I look back with knowledge and time
To see that I’m caught between good-bye
and I love you for it has been so long.
But I think I know our hearts will still sing a song.

May. 04 2012 05:21 PM
Scott Trabucco

For Thelonious Monk

I'll close my eyes
with a breath
and allow myself to feel the closeness of this moment
against my face.
This time,
I'll accept the pain as part of the whole
and with the hint of a smile on my lips,
I'll let my mind free itself from the faithful
and the hopeless
as I dream of the day when my heart
will be home.

May. 04 2012 04:39 PM
Tara Carpenter from Pennsylvania

Is it Bono?

A heart shaped stage. Bono on
its point. God-dappled, blissed-out, shouting his song
every motion a sun salute
open, and reverberating.
next to me
my friend breaks open her shirt,
the material a barrier

Loud the music pushes at us
and we swallow it, and it is
big. Cramming our livers
back to our spines, inflating our lungs,
holding court,
a Buddha in our bellies.

in our nun black suits
with our business decisions,
in scrubs, in uniforms, in robes
with our world on us

when the right notes hum
and our breath
all of an age we whisper
is it Bono?

May. 04 2012 04:27 PM
Linda Pierce from West Deptford, NJ

My Name Is…Not Barbra

Barbra, Barbra, Barbra if I could sing like you
If I could look like you
If I could be on Broadway, if I could be strangely beautiful and unique and so totally ME…I mean YOU…
If I could be wonderful like you
But I’m only 16 and my hair is red and I live in nowhere new jersey usa and nobody thinks I’m special or talented, but sometimes I think I am
If just one person would really see me … I could almost

be like you, my own version of you
You are everything I dream of being some day but know I will never be

Thank you for being alive
For letting me put my dreams in you
For being with me up in my room singing every song on every one of your albums and pretending to be Barbra.
When I do that, it’s almost okay to be me.

You’re not like anyone else
Barbra you’re not like anyone else.

May. 04 2012 02:59 PM
Rebecca Katechis from New York

I’ll keep it with mine
Hattie Carroll’s no ghost
to me
rising up in anger
Resurrected in your rasp;
I’ll keep her with mine.

no god safe
from irony your
chimes of freedom
still resonate here; you
can deny them;
I’ll keep them with mine.

It’s true, I edit
your vision to
tell my story,
why not?
by now I know
which way the wind
idiot or not,
let the weathermen
recede to history;
I’ll keep them here, with mine.

In this story there are
always those
moments, my
eyes racing round
tumbledown rooms, my
ears turned toward the
so evidently real,
my heart skipping
towards freedom, my

You keep your mythology.
My closet full of Spanish boots,
pillbox hats,
senators, congressman, masters of
war, Corrina, Ramona,
Anita Ekberg
I’ll keep it, it’s mine.

May. 04 2012 02:37 PM
Patrick Martin from Tucson, Arizona

“Sweetest Decline” by Beth Orton

Keep Turning the Pages

Fear slips into a worn soul;
Thirty-eight years on the roll.
No time to hear the bells toll;
Silence is now on patrol.

What routine will the dawn bring?
Swollen steps no longer spring.
Music, an oasis in air;
Is the answer ever there?

Does life still have meaning;
When I awake screaming?
Learn to sing once more?
Will purpose pass the door?

Regret visits chosen path;
Soon winter will bring its wrath.
Music greets a weary ear;
Heart melting sound ever clear.

Melody surrounds and words true;
Never too late to start anew.
“Regrets simply things not done yet:”
The past, its time to forget.

Fear crushed by a hopeful heart;
One step forward marks the start.
Shaving falls from carver’s bowl;
Begins to reshape the soul.

Spirit’s flame drifts aloft;
Simply keep the heart soft.
Love is for all ages;
Keep turning the pages.

May. 04 2012 01:31 PM
Linda Williams from Pittsburgh area

Goodbye Captain Trips

It wasn’t music
It was pure joy
I didn’t realize just how precious it was until he was gone

The first time I heard the Dead after he died
And the new, very talented lead guitarist took his first solo
Grief clutched my insides
I burst into tears
Overwhelmed by the realization that I would never hear Jerry live again

May. 04 2012 12:02 AM
Linda Williams from Pittsburgh area

Grateful to Janis

I learned from you that pain and tenderness could coexist
Could learn to love each other
Could give birth to Art and Life
Your voice - the ragged edge between ache and beauty
That high school morning I was listening to “Mercedes Benz” while dressing for school
No accompaniment – just your voice strong and loud
My mother shouted “Stop singing and get dressed”
A moment of joy for me

May. 03 2012 11:51 PM
Marilyn Weinstein Hill Dr of Metaphysics from New Jersey

Roy Orbison Wondrous Star of Light

Beyond the journey of the night
His illuminating effervescence
Shines bright
Obison wondrous star of light

A man of many faces
Traces left behind
Of magical musical moments
A gift from the divine

Softly - sweetly
His lyrical lilting sounds
Still leave us spell - bound
Near to the exciting crowd

We hear
the pageantry of unfogettable melodies
In the echo of distant imaginings
Only the lonely emerged from
The depths of his soul
In dreams his greatness enfolds

Crying in the ocean of romantic tears
The Master of the perfect pitch sings clear
No king nor kingdom could campare
To Orbison's crowning glory

Superbly he once was center stage
The rage of time gone by
Now the song bird within his spirit flies
Into the cosmic skies of yesternight
Radiating in flight
Roy Orbison Wondrous star of light!

Copyright all rights reserved by Marilyn Weinstein Hill 4 -30 - 2012

May. 03 2012 10:29 PM
Richard Hinojosa from Brooklyn, NY

All aboard!
He shouts
And then he laughs maniacally
As if he has some ulterior motive
As if once we are on board
There was no way off

I got on board
I wasn’t going anywhere
I was thirteen
A crazy train
Speeding down the wrong track
Was a gust of freedom

Was I trying to be evil
Listening to the devil’s music
In my parochial plaid
Was I a menace
Behind a façade of genuflection
And happy family meals

Not in the sense of deeds
Or even thoughts
I was just groping for identity
Pensively tasting the other world
To see if it was sweet or sour
Salty or bitter

Now in my salty bitterness
I can look back and know
The sweetest world
Was that dark train
Blowing through my head
Ozzy was just laughing at my innocence

I found my way off
But not before the train wrecked
And I woke up to find
The track was not as straight
As thought it had to be

May. 03 2012 05:51 PM
Lisa - from Baltimore

Tenderness (For Otis )

He found me, brought me to the Georgia woods a little,
riding on the gravel, the grit of his Macon funk-
fa-fa-fa-fa-fa, bamalama,hey hey,
wailed our one-man horn section.

Before he left us, Mr. Pitiful hollered one time
and he whistled a little,
To testify that soul is simple and we should try a little.

May. 03 2012 04:59 PM
sarah otterson from sunburg mn

Watery Eyes of the Sea:a love poem to Van Morrison

only you could know
the way you reach into my soul

drink your music in
quench my essence
drench me with contentment

beautiful watery eyes of the sea
voice of rocky shore,sea spray,
pleasure and pain

breath of wind
body of longing
spirit of ether
soul of all

wrap me up in you
the surprising certainty of God.

May. 03 2012 04:09 PM
Betsy Wilkowski from Pound ridge, ny

Welcome back my friend
Perhaps it's time to put an end
To your ego driven wend
Down your road, down your road

Stay behind the glass
Oh wait, there really was a blade of grass
next time You should take a pass
And step aside, step aside

Come inside and try to realize
Guaranteed you will be quite surprised
If only you could really see the truth
Oh lucky man it was about your youth

I remember long ago
When your trio rocked my soul
As you assured a dynamo
now Move along, now move along

Performing on the stage
I couldn't wait for Your  Q and A's
I would have asked for monies paid
what a shame, what a shame

Come inside and try to realize
Guaranteed you will be quite surprised
If only you could really see the truth
Oh lucky man it was about your youth

May. 03 2012 11:29 AM
Laura Estes-Swilley from Brandon, FL

Because I Fell In Love With Pictures Made of Words
...For Gabriel Garcia Marquez

You are a man of fire-
I can feel the burn of
your skin on my fingertips
as I
turn pages and
when I crawl in and wrap myself
in your words
they seer into my skin
flecking like ashes into my veins.
I feed on your power,
the infinite expanse
of your steraming mind-
and so I chase you through
jungles and over seas
with your voice calling
in a low tone, a rich growl
that starts at my spine and
crackles along nerve wires -
never burning me but -
guiding me
with one hundred hands until
you leave me breathless,
full of your fire,
awash in your words.

May. 03 2012 09:27 AM
beverly tricco

The first time I noted the mechanics of it
I was almost 35.
Mick Jagger was doing it
at Foxboro Stadium.
Raising energy.
Commanding Energy.
Drumming it out of the wood
and steel
beneath his pounding feet,
And sending it out to us
through his outstretched hand;
through the bodies
of the crowd.

I’d felt it before then,
of course.
The Beatles stomped their feet,
tapped them, actually,
and I was one of the millions
who felt it.
And there was Ray Charles

and Jim Morrison
and others I can’t recall.
I didn’t have a name for
what they were raising
in me.
Nervous parents called it sex.

Rock and roll
I’ve felt them all.
And today,
watching the Fabulous Thunderbirds perform
in South Station,
amid trains arriving & commuters departing,
a lead singer bewitched me again
as I stood in the back row.

I wonder about these rock & roll guys
and groupie girls.
Do they know what they’re invoking,
and responding to?
Do they recognize the ancient heartbeat of the Earth Mother?
The throbbing drive of the Primal Father?
They who answer
whenever a foot comes down hard,
and then comes down again,
and again,
and then again.

By whatever name...
It’s in the ground.
It’s in the blood.
It’s in the music.
Our parents were right to be afraid.
Like the superstitious natives
they’d seen on TV,
they were running from an erupting

May. 03 2012 08:03 AM
Chessley Sexton from Talent, OR.

This is not a poem that Brautigan would have written
It does not contain trout streams (It didn't, but now it does)
It does however hold the memory of his books on display
in the campus bookstore widow,
B/W photos of he and different hers.
And the titles!: In watermelon sugar?
The pill versus the springhill mine disaster?
And, my mother's favorite, "Revenge of the lawn"
How you can hold an emotion and describe it as it writhes and changes
in your hands into something that you can no longer define
was a Brautigan trick,
so was brevity, which is why
this is not a poem that Brautigan would have written.

May. 03 2012 06:09 AM
"LukA." from Southern California

Silica Beads in a Dictionary: Define. This is a Poem.

Don’t bore me.
Define. This a poem.
This as a poem man. And We all can argue all day whether it has merit of the:
“Life out Loud Bluesman.”
Tarantula, Splot;. Its web commandeered--of a silica beads which in line dew drops down--
Can’t be changed. Surely....buuuuuut-- “If it is sticks it sticks it stays the same”
Tulips;Stuffs and Cotton kings
Blossoms sends me/isn’t/--Stream of Consciousness Kerouac Prince
Urban Dictionary’s: Fame; Love; Gender
Oxford’s own Webster’s own: Might as well remain binary. Binary,
Define Humans: (?)
Humans stay simply so.
But perish the thought only bluesy tombs--and panic of a true color. Of insepction.
Sits a man. It’s Dylan.
Man oh man don’t mind the steam or hunger pane
--There is a train that has its fame it caboosed down the aphabet lines don’t shift don’t shift, lets the sparks fly coal is only an ideal that really promps it.--
Tarantula splots.
Its a web Commonly deared. Silicon...Silica.
Call this a poem.
Ryokan would say: “Who says my poems are poems?”
Emerson if he were alive.
Blake if he was alive.
Cummings if he was alive.
But who are you to judge now? Posterity agrees. Needs.
Don’t bore me.
Fine then. Find them. “Define this a poem.”

May. 03 2012 12:04 AM
Will Freese from Belgrade, MT - KEMC

We lived in a world of portraits
and landscapes and Bible and myth.
They told us what was great, and they were right,
our seeing unneeded for agreeing.

In the basement, stacks of Life
accumulated from before my birth.
Time to time, things came up.

Up came Pollock,
and I said, this is great.

We lived in a world behind the times,
decades late to join the mocking, but they joined.

Anybody can do this.
We disagree.
A child can do this, a baby.
I disagree.
A monkey with a stick, a puppy with paint on his tail, anybody.

They could not see,
and that is how we learned
that we could.

Thank you, Jackson.

May. 02 2012 11:12 PM
John Gilham

Mercy Killing of a Motor City Legend (150 words)

A wise man
Once said:

“If an artist is truly an artist,
They’re only concerned with one thing;
And that is to do the will of God.”

Must’ve been strange
To have come up in such an era;
Discharged from the Army early,
There would be no Vietnam for Him,
Though through his brother Frankie’s eyes,
And the letters he would send,
He would still see it.

It was there & then
That Marvin started thinking
Less about his erotic fantasies
And more about the world around him!

“Horrible stories about the war”
May do that to a person.

It’s perhaps for such reasons that,
As a conscientious objector,
Marvin once refused to pay his taxes.

Needless to say, the IRS did not take kindly…

Before his last days,
Of music,
He said he’d really only ever wanted one thing,
And that was:
“To hear a sad refrain…”
(as if God, in all his mercy & loving glory, were calling his
Long lost flock of memories home again)

When his father shot him dead,
With the gun Marvin had bought as a gift just months earlier for him,
His brother Frank, the War Vet.,
Was by his side and close at hand again.

Dr. Kavorkian hadn’t anything on Marvin,
For, Reaching down to hear his beloved brother breathe his last breath,
It seemed there was something he wanted to tell him…
Said Marvin whispered in his ear
“I couldn’t do it,”
To Which Frankie interpreted
There could be no more encores.

He wanted out of this Life
& I don’t blame him,
For we’ve seen what’s gone on since;
Yet, amid(st) all the pop,
& all the glitz, & all the glamour & violence,
I can still hear the lilting rhythm,
And Marvin, in the distance,
Softly singing:

“Mercy Father…
Lord Have Mercy Father…
Mercy Father…
Please have Mercy…”

May. 02 2012 10:11 PM
Max Brumberg-Kraus from Providence, RI

To Derek Jarman

To speak in shades of blue,
in utterance an elegance, your death renewing life,
your life inspiring life to live,
to speak through paintings,
paintings caught on film as film in movements,
you thrash my mind,
but beautifully,
unwind my reason from my spine,
redesign the way I see:
loving others, loving myself,
what is beauty, what is art.
What is my mind made manifest in words?
I’d say your verse.
What shadow puppets scope the screens
that were not cast by the scenes that you first conveyed?
I wrote before I saw you, true,
spoke and drew as well,
but never had my voice so clearly found such inspiration,
found such fond company until I saw, until I heard yours.
I am indebted.
From Jubilee’s wrath and beauty,
to Sebastiane’s less subtle charms,
I find a new Caravaggio,
who painting with the shadows, evokes a newfound life,
and you invoking that dead master in your own work,
I invoke you in mine
and wish your spirit life in death,
a gentle sleep, a bounty of laughs,
sweet remembrances,
and above all,

May. 02 2012 07:33 PM
Espressocycle from Philadelphia, PA

I don’t know why I bought your record
Maybe something that I read
It must have been in Rolling Stone
That’s all we had back then
A cripple from down in Georgia
A sage with a guitar
Your lyrics didn’t make much sense,
But damn. They struck a chord.
“When the bug hits, the time to scratch,”
That line cuts through the years
I thought I was Al Prufrock
Afraid to talk to girls

I saw you once years later
Hoisted from the floor
The system sucked
The crowd was drunk
You sneered through every word
My window smashed outside the club
Cost a hundred bucks to fix
My girlfriend wished she’d skipped
“So many ghosts out on the street”
You sang those words that night
I figured your best days were behind you
Or maybe that was me

When I queued you up the next time
It was after that girlfriend left
Your new stuff mixed well with my drink
As I sulked through summer’s end
There was a deeper sadness there
Than what there’d been before
“I’ll never find my new life without you”
Just seemed like the way things were
I got through it pretty quickly
Once I made it past the fall
I met my other half that winter
The same week you OD’d

(For Vic Chesnutt)

May. 02 2012 04:24 PM
Mark Gibbons from Missoula, Montana


It was forty-odd years ago
Today when Julie Henry bought
The band to play in her basement,
Not The Band, but the band,
The sergeant’s band that was certain
That it happened all the time,
The band that picked us up
And held us, the band that taught us
It was okay to laugh and sing
Out of tune — okay to be out there,
To be honest out loud, to play
The clown, the band we needed
Like love. Do you need anybody?
Lonely hearts need to fly
With or without diamonds
Or looking glass ties.
The sky is full of microdots,
Super novas, synaptic explosions,
And it’s getting better,
So much better all the time.

I used to be an angry young man,
But now I’m middle aged
And getting by with a little help
To repair the same old cracks
That have kept my mind wandering,
Wondering where I will go.
It really doesn’t matter where,
The joy is in fixing the hole,
Then quietly turning the back door key
And stepping outside to ride
Waltzing horses with Mr. K.
Guaranteeing a splendid night for all
To listen to sitar riffs and smoke
From a water pipe — realize life
Goes on within you and without you
Even at sixty-four. Will you still
Need me when I’m old and gray
As a military man taking tea,
My lovely? Where would I be
Without you metering my ears?

Maybe there really is nothing
To say. I guess that would be
Okay, but how do we imagine
That, my friends? It’s getting very near
the end now (and I’d love to turn
you on) but I don’t read the news
Or believe that luck has much to do
With making a grade. It’s rather
Sad: the changing lights, the blown
Minds, the wars. I’ve seen their faces,
Watched the crowd turn away,
Grab their coats and hats, smoke
Themselves into a dream — now
A memory — and I was there
With a girl spinning a record
That boomed across the universe
One simple message — goo-goo
Ga-joob — the love you take
Is equal to the love you make.

May. 02 2012 12:43 PM
Gavin Sutton


Ever since you told me

Don't Stop Me Now

I've been trying to diffuse

That crystalized sentiment

Through every move I make

You made us all better

By voicing into forms

That squeezed through traps

That we then realized

Won't stop us ever

You made me ready Freddie

To take on and tackle

And tickle the surprise of Joy

Out of every eye I meet

And every crowd I tease

I can get higher now

'Cos you gave the blueprint

Masquerading as fun

But as drenched in meaning

As the sweat left onstage

Your balletic form is now

A forever data flicker

Feeding courage to my mind

With the only loud noise

The one your absence makes

But a gift it still is when

I look up years later

And this fuel my fuel

Is what carries me farther

Than even I could have hoped for

Nowadays my own rocket ships

Are unexpected vehicles

That tear into the heartspace

And carry your Mercury

To where all our dreams are

May. 02 2012 09:44 AM

Ode to Bob Dylan # 136 or 142

Growin up in Coney Island
it was natural for us kids
to go lookin for Woody’s ghost. With our last
Spalding confiscated, stick-ball
was out of the question so we would
chase him down Mermaid Avenue
carrying something large and voluptuous.
If you were lucky
he would invite you to belly up
at the seaside counter to share a dozen littlenecks -
Slurping back the oceans’ juice and then wiping
it away with the back of our hands. smilin.
But what made you

makeout under the boardwalk and chisel
your names inside a heart, into that first snow
and push your way onto the defunct Parachute Jump.
Was it from that height you saw the times a changing
There, where you first felt the blowin in the wind

Someday, maybe, we could share a Campari
from the same glass or any drink you choose
I don’t care. It sure would be nice
to watch you smile and twitch your lip
as something or someone sails across your mind
as you take another sip.

So, try not to blame me for fallin in love.
You too have done so as sure as the shore teases the tide.
as the wind needs the air
some of us have things we just cannot spare.
Things we just cannot hide.

Title is partly in reference to an answer Dylan gave to a reporter at a
Press conference in Los Angeles, California (17 December 1965)

May. 01 2012 10:41 PM
JMD from Philadelphia

Diamond Dave

The broken ankle on the back
Of the album cover
An epic leap
An epic fall
A vaudeville clownish professional wrestler
Dropping hints as subtle as a
Glass of milk spilled on the floor
But oh the grin
But oh the sin
It may not be good, but goddamn
It's right

Tell me to Jump, Diamond Dave
And I won't ask how high

I'll just do it.
May as well.

May. 01 2012 10:32 PM
Craig Czury from Reading, PA

A Private Distinction Between Looking And Seeing

I’m waiting for the train in Vilnius my friend is hoping not the HIV Kaliningrad
to St. Petersburg
who do you know would just go into Russia like this on their own
the U.S. is bombing the milošević out of Belgrade 1998
it’s 1961 and I’m 10 years old
to purify when you might say my mind playing tricks
to erase whatever I think I know about who I am who I think I am
like those raku potters changing their names to make themselves new
I don’t know what the Bay of Pigs means it sounds funny but every one who says it
Bay of Pigs looks nervous
everyone tells me when I step off the train in St. Petersburg if I know any other languages
speak them
I am totally enamored of Fidel in his uniform
Fidel surrounded by cheering people
Fidel in his beard smoking a cigar
his brother’s name Rauuuuuul
my secret name is Rauuuuuul
a way of deflecting the chide of my vision from figment to mystical
between what I hear and what I’m listening to
no one our age Craig
or gift of vision from the other side speaking Sanskrit hoeing yams
rousing thousands with my poetry from the balcony of the Hotel Theresa
to rise into my higher next self
Del Shannon driving my heart dead-silly when I whywhywhywhy high-pitched like a girl

May. 01 2012 10:16 PM
Audrey from Ohio

The silver haired man of the Campbell's soup can

There once was a silver haired man
Who breathed the art and live the fame
Asking through silkscreens what others dared not
A pioneer of Pop

Lived the life without second thoughts
It's a factory life after all
Edie, Viva, Brigid, Candy
Dazzle in the stars

A shy man
Few words spoken
Humor for the dried up sarcastics

"Remember me by way of the Campbell's soup can"
It was all he asked
What a wise man

He knew the fame
And sadly, the fame knew him as well
But never shall we forget
The silver haired man
Remembered by way of the Campbell's soup can

May. 01 2012 07:11 PM
Matthew Boyden-Wilson from Providence

An Ode to Steve Vai; Guitar God, Hero and Legend.

I tell you now all truth no lie
Why my just deserts, an ode to Vai

He sang to me whilst a babe
With passion sung and warfare came
An’ passed to sweet mother’s memory
For that’s all how sound came to me
So while my brain began to form
He gave my heart it’s melody

My father din’ gave my axe to me
But ofcourse when I was a child of three
And I played to that, the fisher’s price
It took and scorned but gave me life
My heart right then began to see
And there begins my memory
As I stand in my living room
Rockin’ out to my favorite tune

And so boys grow and I was slow
But soon my heart grew old
I sacrificed my hands, time’s sand
To play those strings away

And all for one man
To whom I pray
The only God I e’er believed
The subject, my ode today

Just a bit of fun, your program tickled my fancy.

May. 01 2012 06:38 PM
Marsha Colbert from Tucson, AZ

Dr. King and I

I was only two years old when he lost his life
So how and why could we be mentor and mentee
Across space and time, Dr. King and I?

Using repetition, he drove home messages
Providing hope to a bullied little white teen
Goal: equality, Dr. King and I

Public speaking is my profession and passion
Is there a greater orator I could learn from?
Recordings connect Dr. King and I

“Somewhere I read” prefaced quotes from the Bill of Rights
Across upturned joyous faces both black and white
And mesmerized me, Dr. King and I

Rich baritone rang out o’er the reflecting pool
At the feet of Lincoln where Marian once sang
I have also stood, Dr. King and I

Made to sing outside because of her skin color
Years later, Dr. King inspired us to dream
Of a better life, Dr. King and I

In response to our society’s shame, we changed
Inspired by bus boycott, marches, beatings
Eloquent throughout, Dr. King and I

I was twenty-one when I practiced speaking tours
National Park Service training interpreters
Finally like him, Dr. King and I

At Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, in Mammoth Cave
Dr. King’s spirit was with me as I guided
Connecting through time, Dr. King and I

I was twenty-five when I met his widow’d wife
Coretta Scott King in Atlanta, Georgia
Strong, courageous, like Dr. King and I

At the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change
Down Auburn Street from the house of Dr. King’s birth
I stood by his crypt, Dr. King and I

Then Dr. King’s sister, Dr. Farris, taught me
The principles of Kingian non-violence
A pledge that connects Dr. King and I

I was thirty-seven when I cried for his loss
National Civil Rights Museum, once Lorraine Motel
In Memphis with mom, Dr. King and I

His guiding voice reaches me from beyond the grave
He speaks to me even from the written page
Books, speeches inspire, Dr. King and I

I was forty-three in Jan. of two thousand nine
When Barack Obama became our head of state
One Dream completed, Dr. King and I

The first African American US Pres.
I hope to see more accomplished in the future
For we keep dreaming, Dr. King and I

May. 01 2012 04:43 PM
Abbott Albright from Charles Town, WV

I wrote this a couple of days after Levon passed….when I heard Tracy K. Smith’s piece about Levon, about a week later, I didn’t want to post it here, but I think I should. So here goes….

If there is a Rock and Roll Heaven, and there certainly is, even if only in our hearts and souls, then I can only imagine Rick Danko and Richard Emmanuel playing music with their dear friend Levon on a Big Pink Cloud. And late at night, if you listen real hard, you can hear…..Music From Big Pink…..

My Eulogy for Levon:

You Old Dirt Farmer,
You've been Released,
You're movin' farther on up the road,
Across that Great Divide,
Up on Cripple Creek,
In the Whispering Pines.
... ...
For you, Life was a Carnival,
An Endless Highway,
From Atlantic City to The Promised Land.

For us, you held our Rhythm,
You Rocked Our World,
You were a Faithful Servant
No matter what Shape you were in.
We watched you Paint a Masterpiece,
And Dance that Last Waltz.

You took us there, that Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down,
You showed us just exactly Who you did Love.
We reaped the King Harvest of your gifts,
You Made a Difference to our lives.

Now it's time for you to sing that River Hymn,
As we figure out, Where we do go from here,
You can, Hang Up those Rock and Roll Shoes, Levon.
You get some much deserved, Time To Kill now.
You can, Cross that Wide River
And play that, Sacred Harp with Daniel.
You've gone on to, Kingdom Come.
Ophelia will be waiting, When You Go Home.

May. 01 2012 12:08 PM
Kenneth Nuckols from Orlando, Florida

Myth, Music, Legend
for John Bonham

Like the typhoon's rage
Threw tree trunks in the storm,
Fury flung from your throne
Propelled the music along.

Your sticks are hammers of the gods
In good times, bad times
Driving rock and roll over the hills and far away,
To the houses of the holy and beyond--
Flooding the stage with sound when the levee breaks.

Yet you could tame that power as well:
Gentle caress of the brush falling like the rain
Song and lonesome blues beats counting all the years
Since I've been loving--your art--your genius.

But the mystery of what is and
What should never be in this world is that the
Battle of evermore rages on, but the soldiers only
Have their place in the light for a while
Until they climb that long, lonesome stairway to heaven.

And whether I'm down by the seaside
Or in the mountains of Kashmir,
Feeling trampled under foot or
Free as a feather in the wind, I'm just grateful
That the song remains the same--
And for that I say,
Thank you.

May. 01 2012 11:18 AM
Judith Mary Gee


A voice whose owner had heard the rain
and thunder of applause was once here,
in need of violins and chow mein.

Jonesing like hell, she did not complain;
beyond the Foo dogs and boutonniere,
a voice whose owner had heard the rain

and the uncorking of good Champagne
would not be served by a cavalier
in need of violins and chow mein.

Monkey rode her back, drove her insane,
pulled the sweet flower above her ear.
A voice whose owner had heard the rain

sang of devils she could not explain
to uniformed flunkies who stood there
in need of violins and chow mein.

No high yaller stud without a brain,
no priest, no police can commandeer
a voice whose owner had heard the rain,
in need of violins and chow mein.

May. 01 2012 07:42 AM
Linda from Alabama

Gregg Allman

The Allman Brothers are proof that
Life is a mystery here and there,
Duane, the guitar genius left too early,
Gregg’s sweet Melissa once became Cher.

In Gregg Allman's southern rock
A bluesy glory wrapped every word,
When he felt Tied to the Whipping Post,
I could relate to what I heard.

When he had one more silver dollar,
I wanted to give him mine,
His soulful voice and long blond hair
Turned me on then and he’s still fine.

The road goes on forever
Like my never fading devotion,
Leading to the Low Country Blues
And a reunion with old emotion.

May. 01 2012 04:55 AM
Jacqui Dempsey-Cohen from Charlottesville VA

Our John Lennon
Wretched and sweet, sardonic,
Our veins thrummed to his moods,
we danced to his mind.

Tall and sweet-lipped, moody,
-so pale-
We measured his swagger
with our every exhale.

We rocked to raw angst,
Staggered to cruel riffs,
We giggled and blushed, so girlish,
- such bliss-

He syncopated our joy,
Wailed loud our pain,
Our fears made electric-
He hummed through our veins.

Our personal guru,
A primal scream so wise -

-we believed
We could break
from the weight of his sighs.

Apr. 30 2012 09:39 PM
Albert Paul Thomas Waugh from New York

Dear John

Dear John Lennon
You met a fan
Who turned out
With gun in hand
Dear John Lennon
We miss your vibe
You would not survive
Dear John Lennon
We are at War
Against all odds
You kicked that door
Dear John Lennon
Your child survived
Yoko Ono
Was by his side
Dear John Lennon
Your other kid
reminds us that
Your voice still lives
Dear John Lennon
We are entranced
Your music made us
Cry and dance
Dear John Lennon
Please rest in peace
your real fans know
your voice runs deep
Dear John Lennon
Your solo years
House Husband days
And Beatle tears
Dear John Lennon
This poem is done
We miss your smile
Out in the Sun
Dear John Lennon
We hear your voice
Reminding us
We have a choice
Dear John Lennon
Just one more thing
Was your dream

By Albert Paul Thomas Waugh

Apr. 30 2012 08:43 PM

for Frankie Avalon

We stood side by side
Waiting, listening
Across the room
A girl yelled out
“Frankie, I love you”
The music started
We faced each other
Embracing as we moved to the music
And for the moment
I was your Frankie
And you, you were my gift from Venus.

Apr. 30 2012 03:26 PM
Abbott Albright from Charles Town, WV

Make it Rhyme
for: John Prine
By: Abbott Albright first you appeared to be lost and dazed-
In a world that is frantically scurrying, trying hard to harmonize itself
Into some semblance of, in tune….all the while, coming up flat

…but you are not the one lost, not the one hurrying against hope and time-
Not you, with your “I get it”, half grin and dark, knowing eyes,
You… some kind of Mark Twain, with a twang and a pick, chopping up chords,
Laying down lines in a chaotic poetry…always just a half-turn off key

…you discovered long ago that there should not be, could not be, order-
That was the melodious absurdity of life in this, “Big Ole Goofy World”,
To codify all of this beautiful chaos would be like sweeping up a dirt road-
All you get is dust and when it settles….a dirt road

…this planet’s job is to turn and rotate, mussing up any arrangement-
We somehow got the idea that it was our job to straighten up the tousled
You learned that your job is to be, crazy and confused…..and make it rhyme

Apr. 30 2012 03:25 PM
KLBonds from Phoenix, AZ

for Frankie Avalon

We stood side by side
Waiting, listening
Across the room
A girl yelled out
“Frankie, I love you”
The music started
We faced each other
Embracing as we moved to the music
And for the moment
I was your Frankie
And you, you were my gift from Venus.

Apr. 30 2012 03:14 PM
Jerry Welch from Akron OH

Ode / Elegie to Patti Smith by Jer Welch

Late 1975 my 17 year old angst high school time / prison
Punctured / skewed by patti smith and her “horses”
Godmother of punk, fresh from nyc – Brooklyn scene
CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City punk poetry sultry sexy
“Jesus died for somebody’s sin, but not mine” the
Initial refrain track one
I thought, what about Buddha?
Other songs on vinyl played over and over
Such unique fusion of poems / songs / pre-rap flow
Stream of consciousness babble
Aint it strange / rock ‘n roll nigger / birdland / break it up
Amazing soulful sad deep insightful
Being in that moment
My tiny bedroom at home with monkey ears
Koss headphones
All one vision
Elegie to patti


Apr. 30 2012 02:32 PM
JYHopkins from VA

Tom Waits

Prowling the pavement, equal parts
troll and billy goat gruff,
less a street-sweeper
and more a mobile refinery:
garbage in, bullion out,
night's own pacemaker -
'If only that Grammy played records...'

Apr. 30 2012 01:33 PM
Dee Hart from Walpole, MA

Down on Bass River. Left alone with a
Trail of Tears and Longer Boats are Coming to Win Us
They're Coming to Win Us.
Oyster crackers for dinner and the Tonic water
sucks but this was long before
the days of sytrofoam sequella
and orange fieldnotebooks
and yet: the profile is taking shape.

Apr. 30 2012 01:22 PM
Risa Hazel from Minneapolis

Picasso, ?por quE pintas?

Case in point: Picasso painted like a great stained saint.
Satin pints of paint, straps and strips, attain part shape, spin and span toward pants and pianos.
A shape-shifting of satin stains.

Apr. 30 2012 12:38 PM
John Arthur from New Jersey


By John Arthur

Electroshock hairdo man stabs the quivering chickens.

His girlfriend is pregnant. Her mother is upset.
When she gives birth, the child looks like semen
or maybe a large seamonkey or a worm with a
human head. The chickens are still convulsing.

Don't you know the man with unkempt
fingernails is pulling all the levers? He sits
in a another galaxy's tower, making plans
to entertain.

Or maybe it's just David Lynch, appearing in his
own film, the spitting image of Jesus.

There is a lady in the radiator. She is singing
In Heaven and only you can see her. She steps
on your seamonkey children. If her cheeks
were not testicles, she would look like
Marilyn Monroe. You are drawn to her, infatuated.
She could be your mother.

Someone said that Stanley Kubrick used to
play Eraserhead on a loop; it was his favorite
film. But did he know that it is also the
Bhagavad Gita?

Krishna, by now, has probably seen the film.
He has to know that the stars can mate, explode
and burn like humans. His flute is broken, but
women still bask in his blue-skinned glory.

We can sing: Prabhujee, dayaa karo
Maname aana baso. Or we can just say:
Glory, hallelujah, amen.

But you have to listen!

You see, when your lever's been pulled, you
must create something beautiful.

Apr. 30 2012 12:35 PM
Susan Aizenberg

Twenty-Five Years from Anywhere Like That

Shoulder, hip, and heel, I sprint
faster in my wingless Nikes, circling the Boys Town
track as Bonnie Raitt's roadhouse wail
and slide guitar snake wire.

Cottonwoods blur like a hypnotist's
watch until the track disappears and I'm back
in the third row of the Fillmore East,
where Janis Jopin, too wasted

to sing, slugged honeyed mash
from a high-tipped bottle. We sang "Ball & Chain"
a cappella on the D train, grinding
high notes breaking the national anthem

as the subway rocked the sour dark,
red and blue lights strobing.
That year, we traded up to barefoot rides
in limousines, four-way sunshine

for breakfast: onion grass
looney-tuning into little green men.
Now teenage girls from Boys Town pass me
quick, a middle-aged woman

they can't imagine seventeen, running away,
that burnt-out place
on Rickard Street, a bare mattress under
the corona of shotgun holes

left there for the landlord
by a flute player who cared for no one
but sent his clear notes
up the fire escape anyway.

from my collection _Muse_, Crab Orchard Poetry Series/SIUP

Apr. 30 2012 12:27 PM
M. Alexander from Front Royal, VA

My oil, her water daughter
Fire and Ice
Hardly complimentary
Living in the spin cycle of a
broken washing machine
Fueling an explosion
Take me out
Make it quick
Hit me with your best shot

-Pat Benatar

Apr. 30 2012 11:31 AM
Amy Augustyn

For Bob Dylan
A shift brought on by a stroll
Into the record store
Tape in hand I go
Domicile, tape player

Over and over again I hear
The twanging sounds within my ears
Some say not beautiful
I grasp at the words

Imagining your mind
Envisioning the Images
Closing my Eyes
Finding the depths of my soul

Buried deep within supine,
The true rhythm
Primal, complete
Rewind, play, Rewind, play

Apr. 30 2012 09:54 AM
Rachel Cline from Brooklyn, NY

The first record was on Verve, a yellow label.
Spun, it was a Black-eyed Susan in reverse.
I bought it for the hit song,
so I could chime in when you rang out: Bill!
But when the refrain faded
I heard you, a New York girl,
Who called herself, "woman."
White as me, but you gave yourself the right
To surrey, to moan, and to invent.
"Oh I hate my winsome lover, tell him I've had others at my breast."
I blushed every time, but I also dreamed.
In my gold hoop earrings and black turtleneck, alone on the A train,
I was riding in your carriage, carrying your train, learning your rhythm and
Your wild, high notes.
You better hide your heart, you said,
I never believed you.

Apr. 30 2012 09:51 AM
Ren Jender from Boston, MA

Daughters of David Bowie

In high school the only legal place to listen to decent music was art class. “I like David Bowie”, my friend Heidi opined to the teacher, Mr. Baldacci.

He laughed and said, “I don’t think he likes you back.” Straight guys, even the arty ones pretended they didn’t understand why all the girls loved David Bowie.

Our Moms would notice in his posters and album covers the glittery, slinky clothes and pale thin arms that aped a female fashion model’s. Mom would say, “He hardly looks like a man at all.” Mom’s type of man had a body and face like a side of beef. If she was still married that guy was part of the furniture stewing silently in front of the TV with a beer in his hand.

The boys in school were no better. In fifth or sixth grade some of them had been our friends. Their newfound pseudo-masculine veneer was a seventh or eighth-grade vintage at best. But already us girls had had our fill of boys shouting abuse from cars in parking lots. Our Moms would say, “That means they like you.”

David Bowie, skinny, skinny, pretty, pretty, was the type of boy other boys yelled shit at, the type of boy who would tell us years later that when he was a teenager he made a choice. “I thought if these guys were going to torment me anyway, I’d reeeeee-eee-ally give them a reason.” So he dressed more outrageously, acted more fey and used that persona as a form of judo against the world.

The boys in my school never had a clue: they were getting their asses kicked every time David Bowie was on the radio. In one verse his voice so low, it broke and in the next verse so high he could’ve been Diana Ross. Girls couldn’t resist singing along.

Of course David Bowie liked us. He was us. Heidi explained to Mr. Baldacci, “He’s bi.” David Bowie would later deny he was bisexual, put out some wildly successful, crappy music and acquire an ex-model wife with breast implants and a baby, but I prefer to remember him as the guy from the seventies—who fucked Mick Jagger.

Flipping through teen magazines I see the David Bowie I loved
on every other page. His slender, hairless body reborn as Robert Pattinson’s. His ivory-girl complexion mapped onto the face of Justin Bieber. Straight guys still say, “I don’t get it.”

In a drag-king contest I despaired over the taste in music—and men—Jon Bon Jovi?! Fifty Cent?! Who wanted to be these guys when she could be a queen for a day? All those girls in the queer clubs with precisely cut, bleached-blonde hair wearing fashions and shoes out of GQ by way of Mars, the illegitimate daughters of David Bowie: hear my plea.

Bind your breasts. Wear a feather boa. Make sure to put on a functional dick. Because I don’t know if you’ll win or lose, but I can guarantee: you will get laid.

Apr. 30 2012 09:44 AM
bioshannon from Switzerland and Massachusetts

You just know he owns a pair of Bean duck boots, and he's cursed the same gray Massachusetts slush underfoot
that the schoolbus splatted on your biology report in the cheap plastic binder.
Oh, he didn't need to say so in so many words, no.
The side of his guitar, burnished as his pate, sparked tinder under an old pile of hope.
Lazy flames of ordinary, keen moments licked my memory, rose up
rosy. Desire pummeled me
and laid me down again white on chill spring moss amidst the crumbling ash.
All this from my seat, in the shy stillness, sixth row,
all this from the simple flex of the well-used muscles, his throat, his hands
singers behind, fingers ahead, flux and flex
Sounds and fires dying as his booted feet left the stage.

-for James Taylor

Apr. 30 2012 03:46 AM
Mat Houghton from Tampa

An unreformed bluesman
sucks on a cigar as if in prayer,
his pulpit shadows behind the curtain.
It tastes of bourbon and bad nights
in the right part of town with the
wrong girl, times too
cheap to savor.
He cradles a fifth
like it was his mother
and hums with gravelly, demon intonation.
His eyes look like rusted nails
pounded into the creaky board of his face,
lips twisted around the knot of his mouth.
guitar riffs spin off fingers. Strings
trying to reach his brocclied ears
through a thick bar-room
and wolf ticket redemption.
He listens to the strain,
purity masked by
smokey despair, over loud appeasements.
He pulls back
wide, wide
wide full lips
to teeth
white as violence.
He listens.
To the fingers.
To the strings.
To the two dollar harlots
and half-a-beer drunkards.
He listens,
he sings.
Voice drawn taught
over back alley ballads
and half remembered quarrels
from last Spring.
He sings,
voice grown cold
on black winter nights
and hard government charity.
He sings,
voice sounding
of band saws and stable yards;
fence posts and sheared fingers --

Ice cricket settles into glasses
tables stand akimbo;
no skeleton fury
no nailed together sympathies.
Just a wicker broom and dust
on an empty floor.

Apr. 30 2012 01:48 AM
Aaron Fischer from Fort Lee, NJ

Air Guitar

I’ve played with the best

going note for note with Alvin Lee
as we practically invented speed
metal on the closing chorus of Going Home

the stoned, rain-sodden survivors
in front of the stage at Woodstock

swept up in a Saint Vitus’ dance.

Clapton, Page,
Hendrix at Monterey,
the neck of his guitar
probing and twitching like a dowsing wand

trying to find a clear
channel to another dimension

and finding it.

Mitch Mitchell skittering across his drum
kit looking for a groove that will hold

and failing:

the growls, sobs, and love-cries
coming so fast even I have trouble keeping up.

These days it's music I can play sitting down.

The idea of dropping
to one knee and windmilling through
power chords is no more
than that.

Even my signature stance
head bowed, fist clenched in the air
as if to sustain the feedback
is more than a little dated.

But I’ve still got my chops

so when The Wind Cries Mary
comes on the classic rock station
I step out from behind the kitchen counter

and the whole living room starts to shake.

Apr. 30 2012 01:09 AM
janice Josephine Carney from revere mass

Some were in between 16 and 17;
I could pretend to love the Stones, and the Beatles,
just to fit in.
At the age of sixteen,
I lived for Barbra, Judy Garland, and the Supremes.
In 1967,a boy that loved, singing
“People who need People are the luckiest people in the world,”
A boy that could mimic Judy singing,
“Some where over the rainbow”
A boy that loved the gowns, and glitter of being a Supreme.
At the age of 16,
this boy was a walking target for harassment.
I had to pretend to love, the Stones and the Beatles,
just to fit in.
At the age of seventeen, The Doors arrived,
Jim Morrison, that long beautiful hair,
The tight brown leather pants, the fluffy shirts,
Oh, that long floating hair, “Come on and light my fire”.
This boy was in love.
A rock star so feminine,
so free of gender restrictions,
“The End” quoting lines from William, Blake;
Maybe I was fooling myself,
I was fitting in, at the age of seventeen.
“The Crystal Ship”.
Oh, that long flowing hair, the beads, that hairless chest
So masculine, so feminine,
The lack of gender restrictions,
This girl found herself at the age if seventeen.
This girl realized that she would never fit in.
Janice Josephine Carney

Apr. 29 2012 11:38 PM
stepahn massi from Providence

I Don't Live Today

back in the day
Evening elbows on the windowsill
clinging to my Fallen Stars
always Burning Out too fast
their melodic tales trailing foreverlast

Even now this morning still
"no sun comin' through my window . . .
will I live tomorrow . . . well I just can't say"

Readying for work with too much make-up
everyday filling in yesterday scars

Apr. 29 2012 11:11 PM
John J. Zywar from Holden MA

On the Ticket:
"With Cat Stevens"
but the Cat was on the lamb
overshadowed by the moon
McKendree Spring performed
with soul piercing magnificence
the electric violin
wailed through fire and rain
Could Ian possibly top this?

Clad in leftovers
from a 17th century goodwill sack
Mr. Anderson and his tullish crew
strode onto the small platform
a scarce three feet
from where we sat

Pointing toe to ceiling
then touching toe to knee
he bent backward
bringing flute to lips
for the next two hours
this part of the universe
was his

Apr. 29 2012 10:48 PM
Margaret Birns from New York City

The Chiffons, Shirelles, Ronettes, the Shangri-Las

Morningside Heights: my theologian boyfriend away in Europe
suggests we each subscribe to The New Republic "so that we have something to write about," dutifully I subscribe and read, I am after all an intellectual-walks-in-the-garden girl (as Stevie Smith would say)

Nothing in the magazine comes up in our letters, but I read it nonetheless
and one day discover a diatribe against one so-called Murray the K
this DJ who is the end of civilization as we know it, this doubletalking carny barker and his Chiffons, Shirelles, Ronettes, the Shangri-Las…

fulminator helps by denouncing the forbidden station WINS
And I tune in and hear: DOO LANG DOO LANG DOO LANG


Which has made all the difference as Frost would say
Or may be it's that what has survived was that love, as Larkin (almost) said
Or perhaps this is about how an intellectual-walks-in-the-garden-girl
Unbeknownst to her soon-to-be-ex theologian boyfriend

Unbeknownst to her professors or her friends-at-the-time
found her rock-and-roll in Morningside Heights
all alone and long ago and on her own
because someone told her not to

Apr. 29 2012 08:11 PM

I had the privilege of seeing you last year
at a small venue in St. Louis
How they got the best singer in the world to come
to a small venue in St. Louis
I have no idea
My daughter and I sat with a couple, strangers to us
I warned my daughter that I would probably cry
She said, no kidding, because she already knew
The strangers thought it was sweet
They had never heard you before
I told them they were in for a wonderful surprise
When you were introduced you walked right by us
You looked at me and said 'Good to see you'
I said 'thank you' and felt kinda proud
That I was able to say anything at all
The strangers made comments about how I feel about you
They had no idea
They thought I wanted to kiss you
Because I cried thru the entire show
Like the little groupies watching Sinatra or the Beatles
But I didn't and I don't
I just wanted to listen
I wanted to be carried away
On the waves of the tone of your voice
Your voice causes the most blissful perfect vibrations in my brain
They hit an emotional cortex that I didn't know was there
And the tears just stream down my face
Tears of joy and sorrow all mixed together
Thank you, thank you, thank you

(For Kurt Elling)

Apr. 29 2012 07:21 PM
stepahn massi from Providence

back in the day
Evening elbows on the windowsill
clinging to my Fallen Stars
always Burning Out too fast
their melodic tales trailing foreverlast

Even now this morning still
"no sun comin' through my window . . .
will I live tomorrow . . . well I just can't say"
Readying for work with too much make-up
everyday filling in yesterday scars

Apr. 29 2012 06:46 PM
V Warner from Providence, RI

Lying on a pull-out couch in Lisa Murphy's basement
The credits rolling heavenward, my adolescent tears falling,
"The Song Remains the Same" became an indoctrination.
Robert Plant was the handsome strutter
But Jimmy Page, the skinny, heavy-lidded mystery
Who wore his satin dragon pants too high
And his Gibson defiantly low
Treated me to my first taste of psychedelia.
Nervy, fuzzy, scorching, clean, nasty, precise,
He fled no musical influence. He corralled them.

Observing his fast world, I felt painfully innocent.
Lisa was sneaking out to make out with boys. I lagged.
An "unauthorized" Zeppelin biography (hidden under a pile of schoolbooks)
Widened my eyes. This was crazy. Thinking of him as a real person, or
Picturing him naked, was not where I reveled.

Rather, I wanted to live inside his guitar,
A sprite who would sweeten his sound
And twinkle drowsily in the air around him.
Each song forged a playworld of foreignness; the specter
Of my very youth unfurled before me.

Apr. 29 2012 04:56 PM
Marilyn Casey from Cleveland OH

Memory for George (Harrison)

When the guitar that weeps
Went silent,
I wept.

Apr. 29 2012 01:44 PM

Port Arthur Girl

Down around Port Arthur the tumbleweed, that mobile diaspore,
flings its seeds in a race with time, dying in a pool of rain or oil.
And what they have is a lot of sky and oil tanks coddling crude
and girls in much more underwear than they wear way up North.
Mining land is deeply scarred and raw, the gravel pits alien,
like lunar landscapes or the bank where Charon plies his trade.
The young ones necking in their cars, the ugly bars, showed you
the rocking road away from that stripped coastal town.

Somehow you made it, broke and battered, to the pounding stage.
We heard you wailing, every labored breath a paean to the act
of love; girls of thirteen squirming in their jeans, electrified,
right there with you banging some bluesy guy with everything
you got and more—ah, pour it out, Janis, tumbling diaspore.
Flag down that glory train and belt it out with whiskey breath
and the stash of speed that lovers said you didn’t need.

What can you do if there is simply more of you than the girdled town
and the gridded streets allow? They didn’t claim you then or now
in that spectral year when every other page regaled us with the tales
of players dying in their vomit pools, snatching from us just
that small bit more, goading us to play your albums louder so
the bass reverbed and shook the angry neighbor’s floor.
Play on, beauty, ravaged, strands of rough hair in your mouth,
the hot ecstatic winds of Monterey resounding like a dirge,
rafting us across that river, to some bright, abiding shore.

Apr. 29 2012 12:49 PM

(I wrote this tribute shortly before MD died, and regret not having shared it with her her.)

Villanelle: Rounding the Cape of Cà Mau

For Marguerite Duras

With their patchworked tales of dumb-struck despair—
shadow-plays lit across waters long past—
the near-drowned surface on the whispering air.

Long held intact, old voices prepare their
monsooning release, salt silence outcast
with their patchworked tales of dumb-struck despair.

Always exiles here, restless strays elsewhere
(echoed departures as compass and ballast),
the near-drowned surface on the whispering air

like bright hungry ghosts; they lotus-float there,
surviving all shame, all desires held fast.
With their patchworked tales of dumb-struck despair

as scant walls of shelter, they shift, then bare
their rain-skinned hearts filled with loss, till at last
the near-drowned surface on the whispering air,

stirring gongs long past sounding, pyres past flare.
Wild memories throng through these forests grown vast
with their patchworked tales of dumb-struck despair:
the near-drowned surface on the whispering air.

Apr. 29 2012 12:18 PM
Richard Kronick from Minneapolis

Waitin' For That Moment
(to Curt Cobain and others)

The road is marked but there's no way to see;
Cause I smashed out the headlights a long time ago.
The mirror is turned to the trash on the seat;
Now the bags and the bottles are all that I know.

Down and out in Green-witch village;
Asleep on a bench in Washington Square.
It was oh so important to fall from your grace,
And drink from the dark at the top of your stair.

There's a man with a switchblade in his shirt
He's lounging and laughing at me;
He gonna take me for all I am worth,
He knows how little that might turn out to be.

It's the same old dance floor, the same old grind;
My name in blood on his card tonight,
He'll get what he's after but he'll never find
The key to the laughter that's lost in the light.

I know how to write and I know how to read,
And I know how to fight and I know how to bleed,
And all that will come in so handy
When I meet that man who's waitin' for me.
Waitin' for that moment after the fall
Of worthless pride and a long-distance call.

When we hear the piper
We are so easily led;
He wrote better songs when he was alive
But sold more records when he was dead.

Apr. 29 2012 12:06 PM
Randi Israelow from Northridge, CA

I Love Fred Astaire

Young Friend, it’s true:
I’m in love with a balding man from Omaha, Nebraska
who can dance.
And I mean D-A-N-C-E.
I mean snappy pointed toes on smooth shiny floors.
I mean Innovation. Discipline. Moxie.
I mean Fred Astaire.

It’s been this way for me, this love, for at least forty years,
especially now, at the holidays,
when reruns of his movies appear like silvery ornaments
dangling upon my television screen.

Young Friend, look:
If you haven’t already seen a man tap-dancing on the ceiling
or on its side walls,
or with a twirling coat rack as his partner,
turn on the MGM movie musical, "Royal Wedding".

If you haven’t already seen a cane
rise into a man’s hand from off the ground, more than once,
while that man is spinning and wearing a top hat and tails,
which he disliked,
give yourself a healthy 4 minute and 36 second shot
of “Putting on the Ritz” now showing on YouTube.

Or if you haven’t already seen a tap-dancer performing a solo routine
with honest-to-god firecrackers exploding at his feet,
Netflix "Holiday Inn" right now.

I mean it. I am serious.

Because what I’m saying, what I really want you to know, is that
there is a grace, a physicality, a timeless mark of precision out there
in the history of our collective creative life
whose name is Fred Astaire,
and I don’t want you to miss out.

I don’t want you to say that just because he passed away
many years before you were born
that you haven’t actually seen his work lately,
never even heard of him maybe,
because that would be like saying
there’s no blue in a white light,
there’s no spin in a penny,
there’re no airplanes, vaccines, computers, man landing on the moon,
or anything else that You can think of
that has made life more boundless to live,
more stunningly beautiful,
or more interesting to witness.

And I love Fred Astaire. There, I’ve said it again.

That’s why I’m standing here at his gravesite
on this warm New Year’s Day.
A day when he, a figure born in the late 19th Century,
still remains a creative outlaw.
A day when, surrounded by the sloping green landscape
of Oakwood Memorial Park here in Chatsworth, California,
I can stand before his headstone,
with its uncommon inscription below me,
and I can say to him directly and at last,
“Thank you so much, Mr. Astaire,”
until within this tiny spotlight enclosing our two separate lives,
all becomes calm and all becomes bright,
and the church bells in the distance ring.

Apr. 29 2012 12:00 PM
Alex Collett from Weehawken

For Hermeto Pascoal


picks up phone
sez comeon over now
he don’t know you
from a bar stool
but he don’t care

Hermeto, he don’t care!
he play music, he play Music, he play muzak.
he play sax, he play phones, he play bones, he play sacks of bones
he play floots, he play rocks, he play pots, he play piggies in a box
he don’t play stars cause he can’t reach that far
(but if Jell-O had a tone, he’d play that too)

Hermeto he krazy,
he make little paper boat
sez it’ll sail you home
‘cross the ocean blue

Hermeto he don’t care,
he albino,
he four-eyed
he fatchunky,
he have kooky looking hair

Hermeto, he kool,
he take jazz from stage to seats,
he leave seats to play the streets.
pied-piper like into the Madrid night
And if the Guardia catch him
he'd make music with their hats
If he could he'd leep
the walls of Mecca
and fill it with pizzazz.
(give him a tail he'd play
coconuts with macaques in the trees).

Hermeto he smart
he sey we all infloo-enzed
Benny Hill by Ellie Ness
Stravinsky by Nehru
Brazil by U.S.
Chinee by Peroo
-- but U.S. don’t always sey it’s true

Hermeto he don’t care,
he crazy,
he cool,
he freeEeeeeEeEeeeeeEeeeeeeeeeeeee......

Apr. 29 2012 11:44 AM
ws schweers from Pittsburgh

Sincerely, L. Cohen

Because I am a narcissist
I don't remember faces
but the girl at the bear pits in Bern
forty years on same the day
I ate the plum from the market
and wrecked my night
with radio crackling incomprehensibly
until Leonard Cohen saved my life
looking at the late show
through a semi-precious stone.
I'm finally writing to thank him.

Apr. 29 2012 11:31 AM
Bill Prindle from Charlottesville, VA

My Dinner with Robert Bly

Through half a lifetime you taught me
To see my father through eyes of love,
Not resentment, offered men a new
Mythos for being with each other,
Restored the holiness of grandfathers
To the right hand of the Great Mother,
Brought poets across oceans--Rilke,
Machado, Rumi, Hafiz--gave their
Words your gifted energy of delight
That finally pierced our jaded hearts.

So when you came to read in the
Poe room at the library and we
Asked you to dinner, my dead poet
Came out and would not shut up,
So needy to drink of you that I forgot
To own my work and let him suck the
Life poetic directly from your cells.

It was only later that I wept to realize
I was living a drama like my mother’s
When Margaret Mead came to lecture,
Embarrassing us in the high school gym
With her cavernous need to be seen,
Crashing over the border of madness
From where she would never return.

Floating home far too late, heedlessly
Drunk from meeting the Great Man,
His perennial Latino vest, his cumulus
Of windswept hair, his flat nasal voice,
I crept in the house to not wake the wife,
Flipped on the bathroom light to brush,
Was arrested by the face in the mirror,
Someone I had forgotten, a man I would
Need many more years to know again.

Apr. 29 2012 11:17 AM
Steve Waage from Saint Paul

In the not quite spring of Minnesota March we stay up all night drinking
and watch low hanging haze drift across the silo broken sky.
We wait as if some litany were almost on our toungues
and turn our thoughts to ancient hunters squatting heavy lidded
around their smoldering fire of wetly stubborn prairie grass.
You stand behind us in this primal scene our prophet, mentor, poet friend
and with fierce joy shout with us the resurection of our hopes
as the sun's seed takes sprout and pushes firey tendrils into night
while creation shudders with the mystic pledge
revealed in dawn and new life bursts from sleeping Leaves of Grass.
For Walt Whitman.

Apr. 29 2012 10:43 AM
Michael Smolens from Berkeley, CA

The poem that I just submitted has some very specific uses of space, italics, etc. that are central to the pacing and emphasis of the piece. I have no idea if any of that will be translated onto your site. You can compare my published version of the poem at
with how it turned out on your site.

Thank You

Apr. 29 2012 04:42 AM
Michael Smolens from Berkeley, CA

"The Jesters and The Master"

The two Jesters did not merely take the stage,
they commanded it,
Their energy swirling around them
like rainbows refracting en masse.

When this couple from the South played—
him the guitarist, her the vocalist,
Their costumes appeared to change before our very eyes,
from jester to juggler to jouster,
from ventriloquist to contortionist to aerialist.
Their eyes and mouth colluding
to defy the exact location of the music
at any given moment.

And their music was
Embodying the motion that audiences crave,
Music of The Spheres,
and the movement of their bated breath.
The same motion that reminded them of
the sea,
the birds,
the primeval land creatures that haunted their childhood.

Then, the Master approached the stage,
alone with his guitar,
His countenance unassuming,
as if he was about to merely entertain a friend.

When the Master from the North played,
his costume also appeared to change before our very eyes,
somewhere between a pilgrim and a dervish,
With eyes like translucent pools which spoke of
absolute concentration and
divine witnessing.

His playing was
the quieter he played
the louder it sounded.
the faster he played
the slower it felt.
the more minor chords he chose,
the brighter it became.

While his voice was

He embodied the state that his audience secretly longed for,
Music of The Eternal,
and the movement of Nature's glance.
The same state that reminded them of
seeing a wild animal at rest,
Their breath suspended,
not because it stopped,
but because it moved slower than clouds thinking.

So I ask you,
who was the real magician?

(November 2010)
dedicated to Master Brazilian musician Guinga

Apr. 29 2012 04:37 AM
Jonathan Kiddrane from New York, NY

Tom Waits

Is it possible that a cash register
Can become a piano?
Or that a man could lean against a lampost
Looking like he was about to set the world on fire?
How could a garbage can become a drum,
With a beat that sounds like Wagner doing a Midnight Serenade?

Almost like Kerouac inhabited a taxi driver,
Wearing a red derby doing the watusi on a Saturday night.
Stand away from the edge of the stage,
Please do not try this at home;
The man is a trained professional
He studied under train tracks with locomotive breath.

If asked about his past,
You are certain to get a different tale every time.
It has a lot to do with loaded revolvers
Held to the head of a passing engineer.

You cannot pinpoint the exact location
His compass is a magnet with a mind all its own.
He will rip your heart out with a tire iron
Playing it like a harp.
One note dipped in melancholy woe
The next so harsh it makes your heart stop.

There's a pregnant lady in the vestibule
Wearing a poka dot dress,
She's there against her best wishes,
Waiting for her baby to confess.

Apr. 29 2012 12:10 AM
John from Dc

The sun never sets on a Shanghai summer
Yet I live on the darkness on the edge of town.
Senoritas do not sit by my fire,
And yet I dream of Wendy and Sandy from the Jersey shore.

I keep the place in the assembly line that held my father before me
I keep the place in the assembly line that will hold my son after me.
I have learned more English than the missionaries hoped.
I have learned more English than the missionaries feared.

But like a river that don't know where it's flowing,
I commit my soul to the tides of fate.

But when I close my eyes, the summer heat fades.
And I dream of a magical land called Jersey,
Where I walk along a boardwalk,
Whatever that may be.

And I become the man of my Springsteen dream.

So although the sun may never set on a Shanghai summer.
I do not fear the darkness on the edge of town
For I believe in the rising, as has been prophesised
And the promise of the hungry heart.

Apr. 28 2012 09:31 PM
Hank Bienkowski from Downingtown, PA

Incarnate In Others

John, not his real name, the 23rd
Did not say
That you could be both fat and holy,
That an institutional pillar should posses perspective,
That an old man could change the world,
That being right does not make everyone else wrong,
That Love, even for the celibate, trumps Victory,
That we can trust the Spirit incarnate in others.

John . . . actually said very little.
He listened.

Apr. 28 2012 09:24 PM
Manny Blacksher from Birmingham

"Jim Morrison -- May 1985"

At university six months later,
my pal who handled luggage at Dorval
and spoke a druggy mumble of joual,
both light and heavy as the leader
of a Gauloises cigarette left burning
in an ashtray or a coffee cup or
on the kitchen's scarred Formica floor,
explained the greatest poet was le King
des Lizards. We hadn't heard how he'd
admired Sinatra's shark-toothed irony,
but running nights the spring before -- when she'd
refused to come to me, since I had left
her first -- I'd sung, "Don't you love her madly,"
tear-blind, sneering, forced to laugh, bereft.

Apr. 28 2012 08:48 PM
Rachel Sussman from Cambridge, MA (via Virginia, MN)

Today is Caroline’s birthday
Little girls gather
She is one year closer to the fate they all share
Soon she can marry a boy with a good job in the mines
If she is lucky
If she is not lucky
Let’s not talk about that now…..

Today is Caroline’s birthday
A movie is rented to put in the new VCR.
A movie for kids, says the guy at the town’s only video store.
The little girls are not so sure.
One by one they drift away.

Except one
She sees a man
Singing and dancing in silver spangly stretchpants
Cavorting with muppets
Obviously Different from everything she’s ever known

And suddenly, she understands
There is more for her out there than this little town can hold
And adulthood is more than a rust-grey horizon

No one can blame you for walking away, he sings.

The movie is called The Labyrinth and David Bowie has shown her the way out.

Apr. 28 2012 07:04 PM
Malo Forde from Berlin, Connecticut

He wasn't Crosby or Como or Frank
But was my king of song in the fifties
We didn't buy records in Ireland back then
We stayed glued to the radio instead
Radio Eireann by day, Radio Luxembourg by night
Though as teens we'd not heard of hormones back then
He stirred them in us by his singing
"My Heart Cries for You"..."Truly, Truly Fair" "Chicka Boom" and dozens more
Hit after hit he kept bringing
(Ah--finally a rhyme)
With the great Mitch Miller, his orchestra and chorus
Swelling french horns to the forefront
And that guy, Guy Mitchell with his glorious baritone
Belting out "Singin' the Blues", "Cloud Lucky Seven", "Pretty Little Black Eyed Susie"
...Now I've got "Heartaches By the Number" 'cos I just Wikipedia'd him
And found that Al Cernik (Guy Mitchell's real name) passed in 1999
My heart cries for him.

Apr. 28 2012 05:57 PM

Why Instead of Begging My Mom for Extra Allowance Money so I Could Buy a Record Album I Should Have Declared Fatwa on the Electric Light Orchestra

I was in love with a girl.
And I can say this with absolute certainty,
as I was in eighth grade,
and eight graders know what love is

in ways that
you all grow out of
with your big feet, bad skin, left at the pizza place and walking 4
miles so you don’t have to explain why you need to call someone for a
your first kisses, shocking tongue in your mouth, cheeks turned floodplain
I didn’t need experience.
I had Saturday afternoon movies on channel 6,
I had heart-in-fist dedications on Casey Kasam,
I had first-run Love Boat still on TV,

so forget your coward jaded blissful first-hand knees-quaking love,
I was in love with a girl

and she wouldn’t call me back.
I had tried everything.

And by “Everything,” I mean
everything: I tried funny,
I tried uncoordinated, I tried brainy,
I tried stories in class about Santa being hit by an airplane Night Before
Christmas style (and on the nose of the plane arose such a clatter,
the pilot knew at once Saint Nick was a splatter)

was in love
with a girl
and the months were winding that love so tight
it could slip and fly across the classroom and
against the blackboard, I

was in love with a girl and finally at the point,
sitting on lion-print sheets,
of admitting love
was not enough,

that love!
was not!

to bend this universe as it needed to be bent.
I was in love with a girl
and sighed
and turned on my radio
to WOW or Sweet 98 or whatever the hell it was
and they said “Here
is a new song
by ELO,”

and there’s Jeff Lynne telling me “Hold on tight
to your dreams,”
even adding emphasis by rephrasing it in French: :Accroche-toi à ton rêve,”
and, damn, Universe,
you had me going,
I almost gave up on love,
on love!

In the hindsight of adulthood,

of thirty years unlearning what I learned that day,

of good dates, bad dates, eyelashes, bra straps,
yelling “What do you want from me!” loud enough to be heard four
apartments down,
heart-shaped cards, roses and rings, fourteen small teddy bears (one for
every month),
poetry that said way too much about the goddamn moon,
the disproportionate surprise of warm breath on the inner ear,
that the Electric

maybe could have been a little more specific.
That “Accroches-toi à ton rêve,” I never did look that up,
maybe it only means “Never eat too many croutons,”
that DJs are not waiting like archangels
to set the cosmos off their turntable wobble;

they’re just underpaid dudes
who put needles onto grooves
and let it all spin

as they tie up the request line talking to their girls,
making promises,
making promises
that sound too much
like pop songs.

Apr. 28 2012 03:43 PM
Cynthia Harrison from Washington, DC

The End

I didn’t know anything about you all until I was two years’ shy of sixty-four.
(Doesn’t seem possible, I know.)
Just in time, I guess, listening only because it was two-thousand-eight
And I couldn’t bear the debates any more where candidates on the same side used words to spit at each other.

My friend gave me a CD and said “Try this.”
So for hours back and forth to work in archives,
I listened to nothing else, hating it at first and then becoming caught in it.
Was it true? “The love you take is equal to the love you make”?
Why did that line prompt tears?
Who was loving? Who was not? Who was lost?

So I told my friend that I needed more information
And for the next few years I listened only to the same two hundred songs.
And then, like everyone else (who knew?), I needed to understand The End.
And I figured I would find the answer in a book, so I started reading
And for the next few years I read only books that tried to explain it,
And not one made sense.

So I started to think on it before I fell asleep – and on almost nothing else.
(That was good, actually. The other things were impossible to fall asleep on.)
I came up with this: Existential, almost inexpressible, loneliness; jealousy of that light; fury at desertion; betrayal upon betrayal. Desperate loss. Contempt finally too much to bear.

So in the end – words and music to spit at each other.
Is what’s true about love also true about sorrow?

Apr. 28 2012 03:29 PM
Faye George from Bridgewater, MA 02324


But isn't it always another time?
Another voice, and a distant drummer,
Strings, a horn section you remember,
And Johnny Ray on stage in his prime

With "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried"
All the way to the bank for RCA,
Or was it Columbia? Either way,
Saddled with those songs he went for the ride.

Few, I fear, ever did get to hear him sing
"The Lady Drinks Champagne," or better yet,
"Coffee and Cigarettes."
Oh, it was so smooth, the way he could wring

The longing from those lyrics and pour it
Into the vessels of our young hearts,
So eager to suffer the slings and darts
Only unrequited love could inflict.

Faye George

Apr. 28 2012 03:22 PM
Chet Joseph from Youngwood, Pennsylvania


I don’t know how it happened and I’m not sure why it did
We used to call em’ groupies when I was just a kid

But suddenly I catch myself doing things that I don’t do
Like writing out some fan mail, and sending it to you

My friends’ think I’m a weirdo, my wife says I’m insane
They all think I’m riding on a mid life crisis train

Searching for my youth through poetry and song
At least I don’t stop trying so how can I be wrong?

To engineer ones life like chapters in a book
would surely be convenient, except no one would look

So I commend your frankness and merely stand in awe
reaching the conclusion that you’ve broken every law

And choosing to present yourself as a scholar and a king
I submerge myself in wisdom, drowning as I sing

Though clarity is something that I’m seldom guilty of
Understanding others is a talent that I love

Now presented are the reasons that I became a fan
proclaimed to all around me, the philosophy of DAN

So let em’ talk and let em’ yell and even criticize
don’t knock it till you’ve seen it thorough someone else’s eyes….

Chet Joseph

This poem was written in tribute to Dan Bern, a not so main stream musician from LA, not long after I was exposed to his music through the magic of radio, National Public Radio that is.
I have sent this poem to Dan before but I thought I might submit it to Studio 360 so you all could enjoy it as well. The original copy hangs in a frame with signed letters from Dan himself in my game room…

Apr. 28 2012 03:21 PM
Marjorie Rose from Philadelphia


I see her standing there
bangs freshly snipped
against her will,
eyebrows with a vast
expanse of hormonal forehead
Her father with Bob Haldeman’s
flat-top and square black glasses
could not fathom the Fab Four,
Piles of cards-the friend
lucky enough to own all four

John, Paul, George and Ringo?
You were the Men for whom
I stood on folding chairs
In Detroit’s Olympia.
A strobe light concert
Usurped by screams
A girl jumped from the balcony
near John.
Imagine…you were that good?

Not really,
until Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby,
do I know that even parents
who knew world war
and Sinatra might
finally admit that
Music, and the Word born in
Liverpool could
justify radical hair
cut just a wee bit longer.

Apr. 28 2012 03:05 PM
Dave from Kansas

Bowie Electric

She was nice, and she was nice, and she was nice, and I'm not gay, but the real love of my life was David Bowie and the music he made with Mick Ronson and more, the stuff from MAN OF WORDS, MAN OF MUSIC, which many know as the re-released SPACE ODDITY album, all the way to ALADDIN SANE, about when I might as well have cried along with all the other fans at Bowie's stunning concert announcement that "not only is it the last show of the tour, but it's the last show we'll ever do," and YOUNG AMERICANS might as well have been as tragic for me as Dylan going electric was to the folkies, except I'm right even if I am a jerk about it. The music would never again, for me at least, reach the height or depth of Ziggy Stardust, and thank you David for holding out with him as long as you did.

She was nice, and she was nice, and she was nice, and I'm not gay, but David Bowie on record makes me never want to die, I just want to listen to my bootleg Bowie as "Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud" segues into "All the Young Dudes" into "Oh You Pretty Things" and then more and more and more and more.

Apr. 28 2012 11:44 AM
S Gili Post


Around fifty odd years ago
the world decided to pound
it’s fists into its own hands.
Fingers stretched
gripping microphones and
crunching guitars. Gyrating
falsettos and baritones into
one melody giving birth
to Vedder - The inheritor of
the vinyl revolution. His
hair, like a Chia Pet grows
and sways and the mountain
range in his throat lullabies
the PJ’d babies who mothers stay.
Awake. He climbed the scaffolds
to take a picture of the audience
as they rocked from The Bandstand
to Broadband. Dexterous, punk troubadour
who’s happy days sing the Uke.
Portable songs - spore anywhere.

Apr. 28 2012 10:14 AM
Will Roby from Texas

My girlfriend blows David Bowie

while I listen to country music on headphones. She’s bent down
low so his eye makeup drips and skips down the back of her head.
No moon tonight, the air a washrag, I am feverish. The dark sounds
covering up her little growls. My shoes new to the foot, her bed
a jumble of sagging wire and little bounces. The dogs sleep juggernaut,
all boulders in the deep grass. Outside, pink-necked boys shove
Camaros down Derby Avenue. Bowie’s face is a teleprompter
flashing lyrics: Why can't we give love give love give love give love
a chance to whimper a hymn to the moon, I am no stranger
to deep grass matted and sacred. Her lips are slippery, now the dew
settles between her eyes, she looks surprised, some danger
mimicking the porch light. Only the sleeping dogs know
the way up off the couch. And I could bob past them
back into a dream running backward from the knocker's hammer
or else give up. Let Bowie have his way. Watch her skin
turn red. Hear the end of his song. Turn and stammer.

Apr. 28 2012 09:48 AM
Steve Krementz

Jerry Garcia Lives Across the Street

That gait
slow, methodical
step one followed by step two

Head up
Eyes staring blankly ahead

…or so it seems

Sweatpants and a black tee-shirt
The beard, the sandals with socks

…not so much Captain Trips

Back inside now and walking with that slow, methodical gait
into the bedroom
Sitting on the edge of the bed
his wife bare assed and asleep

What am I doing here?

Apr. 28 2012 09:11 AM


When does wise turn sad? When romantic
melancholia depress?
When nourishing fire’s ash drop with a vengenace?
When love shed like?
When the old dog too stiff to greet you at the door
even if she hears you enter?

Is it cued by the short days? No wonder
Ibsen frowned on the other hand.
Will work suffice?
How much happier really
is Stallone? Well, then
Beatty? Redford?

I trailed Woody Allen up Madison Avenue once.
Block after block, I slowed to his footsteps. He
talked with a woman oh
twice his height. Way before Soon-Yi. Not Keaton,
nor Mia of course. They parted the waves.
In the wake, I watched millions
tilt their eyes and try to watch
with casualness
where they went.
Not one broke stride;
we yielded Woody his vector. But at the plane
of passage
all turned for the denouement
with their heads upon their shoulders
and quickly back to each other to ask,
rhetorically, “Do you know who that was?”
or to say who that was.
The sure
only smiled.
Others looked back.
This city was Woody’s.

I watched Woody and the woman
turn a block onto Fifth and into an apartment house.

It has taken me years to intrude with this, but
my sadness
makes me want to write
that Woody
lived with reverence.

James Penha
Jakarta, Indonesia

Apr. 28 2012 01:24 AM
Ugo from NYC

HE is my idol, since I met him in London in 1972.
The BEST no doubt!

Apr. 27 2012 05:52 PM
George Cuddy from Brooklyn, NY

They all think you're an Irish band, an Irishman
in floppy hat and velour coat
festooned with flags, rags, and ferryboats,
scimitars and scarves.
But I knew different, studied you I did,
when you were a young man, and I was just a kid.

Summer job, high school money earned
for an eight mile round-trip rainy walk to buy your album,
wrapped in a plastic bag doubled, popped myself a Valium
then picked the lint off the turntable needle.
Scottish fire-igniter of my soul, setting me aglow
with your Celtic 'twang down life's littered road.

That was the river, this is the sea
for pagans and righteous fellows, felled,
and lyrics that deep within your heart dwell
came to life in my headphones nightly.
Suddenly, at seventeen, empty pockets mattered not,
for this wandering waterboy's vibrant wanderlust.

-for Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Apr. 27 2012 05:44 PM
David Wingard from Long Beach, Ca.

For Michael Stipe:

A literal murmur and a day of reckoning
The song itself became a fable
The invention of a southern gothic folk tale
A doorway for the shy and arty to go through

Hiding behind hair
And choosing lyrics as if dared
With Buck's bravado and Mills' gravitas by your side

Profound affects on my 80's youth
You were a college student's part time job
Dressed like us and seemingly one of us
You made us pick up a pen
Call a friend
Learn three chords for our truth

Personal. Political. Sentimental. Apocryphal.

You were always right
Everybody has an issue with gravity
Everybody at times can't get there from here

Everybody does indeed hurt.

Apr. 27 2012 03:20 PM

C'mon Mark, where'dja dig up all them bones?
Those things you did with two bass strings and a little piece of glass. . .
Easy, cool, rock solid - then you jumped in the deep end -
Dana shined the light right through the waves you cast, and then. . .
Your words tied it down; just kept it spinning round & round.
Your words tied it down.

C'mon Mark, why'dja have to go so soon?
Those things you did a time ago still reverberate for some. . .
Easy, cool, rock solid - then you jumped in the deep end -
Dana shined the light right through the waves you cast, and then. . .
Your silence hit the ground; just crushed the night and brought it down.
Your silence hit the ground.

- for Mark Sandman, lead singer and two-string slide bass player from the band Morphine who died onstage (like the rock star he will always be).

Apr. 27 2012 03:34 AM

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