June 2000 Cafť Society's Poetry News Update
Do you have any poetry news or comments for the Readers' Letters section? If so, mail me on the email link at the bottom of this page. Competitions and calls for submissions can be announced here free.

An Interview With Dave Jackson

David Michael Jackson is a publisher and poet, an Outsider Artist. musician and a songwriter.

Maybe he just doesn't know who he is. Paints pictures, writes songs, publishes an ezine, but he is always first an artist and poet.

Born in 1948 to small acreage tobacco farmers in Tennessee. His mother is Brazilian, his father Scottish/Irish. Educated and supported as a mechanical engineer who designs products for a major appliance maker. He wrote nothing, painted nothing until age 39. His first painting is dated 1987. Wayne Jackson was the first to hang David's painting in his house. He even put a light under it. David has a briefcase full of words by Wayne which he is slowly presenting. Sometime after Wayne's death in 1989 he started writing poetry again and still does. He is also into family, music, songwriting, recording, web publishing, cats, and Schmutt, his dog. "People are starting to notice the poetry more lately." David tells me. "I'm becoming known a little as an editor for sure. ArtPage Images is between Atlantic Monthly and the Atlanta Review at Yahoo. The little guy can compete on the web. So I'm reaching people but I'm still outsider Dave and I constantly remind myself that these 1800 pages I have published on the web depend on $23.50 a month to the hosting guys. It's all a mirage, but so is life. It's all done with mirrors. I know. I'm an engineer."

Poetry L & T: When did you first start writing poetry, Dave, and why?

Dave Jackson: An English assignment in grade school. I wrote a poem for Miss English (Now Nancy Schumaker). Years later, my brother heard her read my poem to his class. I wrote a little as a young man but mostly remember struggling day to day. I'm poor now but in my younger days I was only identifiable with a hoe, or bale of hay or tobacco in my hands. We were small farmers in Tennessee in the fifties and sixties, those days before the interstate highway. My early life was spent between the field and the house. My long poem, Sipping, which was printed in Seeker starts with a scene of apple trees which we would pass between the field and barn. It is those stolen moments of sweet rest between the field and the barn! That's where poets live. I started writing poems in those stolen and far too brief moments of my childhood, far too few moments riding a wagon loaded with tobacco. At the field was heat and hard work. At he barn was the heat and harder work. A farm boy judges the job by the distance from the field to the barn. Those lines:

I only have apples for you
winesap apples
hanging red and green from
twisted trees
and lying on the ground
brown and rotten
soft and mushy
not very good
but they will do
for a break from the field
for a break from the work and the
hot
hot
sun

Poetry L & T: Who are your favourite well-known poets?

Dave Jackson:There are poets I was taught who made a difference. Emily Dickenson, Wordsworth, Blake. Of course T.S Eliot 's J Alfred Prufrock still resounds. Charles Bukowski changed my approach to poetry altogether. The poets whose work appears on many sites on the internet have become well-known in their own right. Todays great writers can be found on the internet today. Summer Breeze at http://www.motherbird.com/ is a primary inspiration for me because she knows her message. Other writers who inspire me are Janet Buck http://www.janetbuck.com/ , Ward Kelly (link to Ward's interview), Elisha Porat http://www.artvilla.com/porat/ and Charlotte Mair http://www.artvilla.com/mair/ . These folks have gotten out there and not only do they have the talent, they are doing the work necessary to promote their art.

Poetry L & T:As a poet who also writes songs, do you favour rhyming poetry or free verse? What is the difference in your approach to a song or poem?

Dave Jackson: I do not feel chained by either the lack of rhyme or the need. My poetry usually does not rhyme. I personally prefer free verse where rhymes sometimes happen. That's a preference though. Some people can rhyme and not let it get in the way of what they originally had to say. That's a talent. Others are more comfortable with free form, free verse, "I sat down and wrote and this is what I came up with" poetry. With regard to poetry I usually have no idea for the poem. I just put the pen to the paper and write. With songs I usually start with one catchy phrase. Songs are written from the middle out. Usually the starting phrase is in the middle. You take a phrase like "She's on the gone side of leaving me for good" (original).....and build around it. Songs are usually highly structured and poems don't have to be.

Poetry L & T:How did you first get the idea for the Artvilla website?

Dave Jackson:Good question. It started with ArtPage Images which is hanging in there at number nine at Yahoo http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Humanities/Literature/Poetry/Magazines/ Ouch that feels good! That's for now of course. Yes, it started with ArtPage Images in '97. It was a site to display my art. ArtPage Images, in the middle of a bunch of ArtPages in the art category never worked, so I decided to be an ezine and publish poetry. Mine http://www.artvilla.com/davidjackson
and Wayne's
http://www.artvilla.com/waynejackson
At first I never asked for submissions but in they came....ArtPage Images started in the 2 megs my server gave me. It then moved to a friends site . It became necessay to move again, then I realised that moving, changing url's, meant losing traffic, so a DOTCOM was necessary. ArtPageImages.com was available but I chose Artvilla.com because it represents a village or community of artists, poets and musicians and, indeed, it is becoming that.

Poetry L & T:You have some interesting features on Artvilla, including photography and poetry featuring cats. Do you have a favourite famous cat poem?

Dave Jackson:My own:

I was created to notice
the cat catching butterflies
if I were God I would be lonely
and I would need
someone to
notice
how the cat catches butterflies
and brings them into the house
and how they are to her
as big a prize
as any mole or mouse

Poetry L & T:What is your criteria for poetry you would choose to feature on Artvilla?

Dave Jackson:That I, or another editor has a preference for the poem or poet. It's totally subjective. Have we turned down good poets? Surely we have. If Walt Whitman sent something, would it arrive on a day we felt his way?. Maybe. I could say many things here. An honest style. no pretense, outright bluntness.

Poetry L & T: Having listened to your CD JAKE AND HAYSTACK recently, which has a country flavour in places, I am just curious - who are "Jake and Haystack"?

Dave Jackson:Who are Jake and Haystack. Well I wrote these ten songs over the spread of ten years at times with the help of others. I needed someone to do them in a country folk way. Jake is a Tennessee tobacco farmer who has never sang in public. I liked his warm voice and asked him to learn these songs. I'm not sure I could push him onto a stage. Now we are a bit more unsure of Haystack's origins. The last we heard he fell off a turnip truck in Kentucky somewhere. It affected him tremendously because he just naturally plays all these insruments. We' d like to find out more about these guys but have lost track of them. Nashville is a place where people come and go, looking for fame. Jake and Haystack seem to have split. Jake, Haystack if you are out there please call Artvilla or write to [email protected]

Poetry L & T:Was there any particular person (or maybe cat) who inspired a lot of the songs on the CD?

Dave Jackson: The cd is dedicated to my mother Maria Taggart who came to America from Brazil in 1945 and only saw her family one time in 1955, for the love of my Dad, and to Robert Taggart, my step-dad who, ten years after my dad died, rescued our family. The cd is made up of love songs to my wife Janet and songs with a hint of humour. Mindy Clark the cat also inspired Janet to take a cover photo that is wonderful. Even if no one ever buys thie Jake and Haystack cd, it gave my wife something to send proudly to her father. Much thanks to co consprator, Chris Carmichael for this. He didn't have to take the time out of his busy schedule for this home project, but he did and the Jackson family thanks the Carmichael family for the time and love and respect that went into the Jake and Haystack project.

Poetry L & T: Do you think that the internet is useful, in general, for poets?

Dave Jackson:Useful? The internet is essential for poets. Poetry is alive because of the internet. We are not told what to like on the net. We have such a variety that we end up making up our own best of the best lists. It's Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame. With web sites, it's fifteen minutes with fifteen or fifteen hundred people a day. With poets, it's whose site, and how many sites are you on. The internet is change. On the net you cannot tell, most of the time, whether the site you visit is a mega visit site or a, ďnobody ever hardly ever comes here but you did,Ē site. Most of the time you can't quite tell the little guy from the big guy. That's what is so fascinating. The randomness of it. Poets publish at Artvilla or Seeker or Poetry Life and Times or Motherbird. They move down the list or into archived issues but their poems have a life of their own in the search engines long after the "publication". The largest hitting poem at Artvilla remains a poem published in '98. It is buried in the archives of the site but is a strong "entry page". So is Janet Buck's and Elisha Porat's work at Artvilla. It is Artvilla who says thank you! So the answer is yes, the internet is useful. God bless the internet

Poetry L & T:How would you define good poetry?

Dave Jackson: Poetry that has an emotional connection and a spiritual and intellectual connection with beauty or love and the miracle of not knowing the future an editor once told me something very valuable as she turned my work down. She said
"My life is depressing enough. Give me something instead to live for"
Those words hurt but it affected my poetry. Good poetry is often sad, often distraught, but never without purpose and hope. Good poetry makes a decision to stand for something. Like Summer Breeze's , "Seeking Personal and World Peace Through Poetry". Her poems stand for somehing whether she uses any of her names, Abuela Musica, Vera Jackson, Summer Music. I'm always tracking a new name to her. Last of the beat generation poets. Edy Lou Benjamin, Summer Breeze ladies and gentlemen!

Poetry L & T: Is there anything that amateur poets do, in their work, that irritates you when you see it on newsgroups?

Dave Jackson:Not really. People express themselves as best they can, as do I. I'm confused about the line between amateur and established poets. That's because of the internet. This is , again, good because the little guy on the net is always boiling to the top on occasion and who is to say what is good. I'm with those poets. Nothing they do irritates me. I really never get irritated by anyone's writing. Only by their not writing.

Poetry L & T:Finally, Dave, do you have any advice for poets who wish to improve their work and/or get published?

Dave Jackson:Find your expression and submit do not fear rejection because most often the editors are stricken with the same lives as you and are human and frail and

submit, even though the word itself makes you sorry you ever wrote at
times
submit
and find
your
yes your
and only your
fifteen minutes
it's there
because
haven't you heard
the sun's gonna explode
in a few billion years
and we might as well sing
our song

Poetry L & T:Thank you for the interview, Dave.

Dave Jackson:The honour is mine, Sara Russell. Mine indeed.

Dave Jackson's Poems

© Dave Jackson:
THE RIBS

She ate the ribs slowly
as if
to remember them, or
that time at Tennessee
Redís
licking the succulent
sauce
off the
bones and
savouring the moment.
They tasted good to
her,
salted jus
t right and
smoked just
long
enough.
It is as if the ribs suggested
the absolute fact of
the moment.
The essence of any
moment when smoked and
salted just right
can make you lick your
fingers
again as if to say
these ribs, these
ribs are just
right


© Dave Jackson:
THE FIRE

The fire is not out
It burns like fire, like pain, like, you know, pain
Water waiter, water for my fire, water, sweet clear cool water
Words won't do. Words or work won't do
The sword sinks deep, yes, deeply into the underbelly, into the abyss
And the words find no favor
eat the peach, man, eat the peach, yes, dare, next time, next time, next time
Is there time left?
time between growing up and growing old
time between the river and the sea
Eat the peach, man
eat the peach
It is good
it is sweet


© Dave Jackson:
MOST PEOPLE

Most people donít do art
itís important to them that all
the beans are out of the shells and
in the jar
most people donít write poems
Itís important to them that
all the envelopes are addressed and
are neatly stacked in a pile
while I stack
words in a falling down heap on this page
and hope
that one of these people will take a little time from
their beans and envelopes
to chuckle at my story of my
motherís blind chicken
or of that rooster who used to
fly at me until
I was afraid to go outside and how
eventually
we had him
for dinner
most people have their roots firmly
planted in the soil
and donít have this longing
or need at all
while some are like you and I and
have twisted themselves into
sinuous knots searching
for the light that
most people maybe already have or
donít even want


© Dave Jackson:
BOZO

I'm Positive About This So Therefore It's Positive Thinking

Nobody reads poems, pal
books neither
nobody is going to read this crapola, buddy
why don't you just open a gas station
or get a good factory job
they pay fourteen an hour at Western Polycom
nobody looks at art, bozo
why are you wasting your life on that
how much did you spend on all this canvas and paint
you need shoes
can you wear these paintings,
nobody cares
only assholes like you
you stupid bonehead
who gives a damn what T.S. Eliot said
when you boil it down it comes out to a big "beats the shit out of me" anyway
so why even say it, I mean why not just chase some tail, instead.
Ya know?



EDITOR'S LETTER, JUNE 2000

Dear Poets,

This issue features an interview with poet/songwriter and editor of Artvilla, Dave Jackson, whose poetry appeared in the Featured Poets section last month. Dave's site features a special section on cats and several poems about cats. The Artvilla site has recently been updated. It's a great all-round site for the arts, artists and poets.

Featured poets this month include John D. Porter and Don McIver, not previously feautured in Poetry Life & Times. Their work is shown first for that reason. There is also the welcome return of two of my favourite poets, Janet Buck and Bob Childs (AKA Doomwheels), along with regular contributor/favourite, New York poet/illustrator Jan Sand.

Bob Childs has recently updated his site, dividing it into sections for his new books. There is a link to the site under his picture, in the Featured Poets section. I enjoyed looking around his site after getting his email about it. The love poems have a touching, wistful air about them.

Any comments on this issue or back issues can be emailed to me on the link at the bottom of the page. Please indicate whether you would like such comments to be included in the Letters section.

Any poetry submissions should be in plain text in the body of an email, with a small jpeg picture attached, also a bio, preferably with the URLs of any ezines mentioned, so that they can be shown as links. Further submission guidelines are available on request.

Best Regards,

                  


Featured poets this month include John D. Porter, Don McIver, Janet Buck, Bob Childs (AKA Doomwheels) and Jan Sand.

Many thanks to all contributors.



John in Santa Cruz

JOHN D PORTER
is a transplanted Canadian and former academic, now doing science for a living in Silicon Valley. He rides a British bike, and often finds himself engulfed in live music, cinema, poetry and art.

John's work has been featured online at:
Makar
The Astrophysicist's Tango Partner Speaks
Agnieszka's Dowry
Lynx: Poetry From Bath

Carol's Hands. Carol's Face.
© John D. Porter
October '98, revised November '98

Carol spins her hands, like a flamenco dancer; Carol bides her time, by dark plate glass; Carol stares at twisting hands. Ask for food; wait for food; stand beside a plastic Lotto board-- grease-pencil traces, like Mary Kay mascara, long past closing; empty parking lots; December rain. I scratch a secret message (never numbers, never names); I think about my father's desk, I think about the slick and tick of black grease pencil, the grease pencil smell of moving days. Oscar's is empty, not counting Carol. Carol creeps behind me, when my head is bent; I turn; I catch a glimpse of Carol, threefold: Carol, in reflection; Carol: jagged silhouette; Carol: umbral, as the food is flamed. Carol is whispering, whispering: lofty vowels, soft, and consonants dental, labial, mouthing her words like bedtime prayers--she could be saying nothing more than whisper, whisper, whisper, whisper-- I don't want to know; I turn away, and Carol's hands convulse, like novice gypsy widows, fearful, silent in the dripping woods. Again, the flame: again, the jerking shadows of her hands. I turn away, again, and Carol whispers: (listen, listen ...) Carol listens, for her wind-whispered words. Carol moves, to stand in front of me. Carol's shoes are neat; her stockings, neat; Carol's skirt and navy cardigan are neat and matronly. Carol's hands are calm, expressionless. Carol's face is all messed up. Carol's eyes are blue and nearly swollen shut. Carol's brows and Carol's cheeks are leaking blood in ragged traces--beetle-dark, Pre-Cambrian. Carol's face is smeared with blood, expressionless, flat. I can only freeze and think of infantry wives, gathering babies, breaking camp, making grease pencil marks, but Carol's face is lonely white beneath her black-red tracks. Carol's hands are smeared with Carol's blood. Carol's fingernails are sticky-black with Carol's blood. Carol turns to stare at night-dark panes of glass; Carol's hands begin to dance, completely of their own accord.
Tori Amos, Live -- San Jose © John D. Porter September '98
I've been told (by appled voices in an empty culvert--over, over, over, over): be suspicious of a thing that bleeds for days (a thing that speaks) but does not die. No knives, no guns, no broken glass or razors past the gate -- at centre stage: the bleeding and the broken bones are photographs, are pictographs, are alien blueprints in an alien tongue. A candle (careful!) -- woman-tallow (men have offered lye and embers) rendered, not reduced, in white-fuming vitreol and handfulls of fertilizer pearls that catch the light like crematorium teeth. Around the stage, above the stage, the girls are bathing in the detonation.
Now I Lay Me © John D. Porter January 2000
In the night, I watch your jaws begin to clench and move; clench, relax. Some nights, you open up your mouth and chew. I ask about your dreams; you never mention eating. In the cafe, while you read the Sunday comics, little muscles in your face begin to dance. You are not forming words; the outlines, the pieces appear on your lips, on your brow, on your chin. I stare at the rain. I stare at a physicist, walking. I stifle my small talk, and stare. You read; he clutches his sheaf of scribble. Your fingers are small. They smell of ink and pulp and bleach and crabs. You do not catch me staring. The yolk of your egg begins to grow a skin. Later, in the car, you fall asleep--your jaw is slack. You chew. I turn my eyes from the road. It is raining hard. When I touch your leg, you stir but do not wake. Later, I turn down the heat. We knot in our sleep. You ask about my dreams.
Backstreet, Gion* © John D. Porter July '98
a boy a bicycle sinusoidal motion lamps are lit eaves are dripping a bicycle bell a trail of froth a girl an arc from axle to boy belly to back to shoulder to hand to face the rain the rain has made them naked so her eyes are closed *GeoReference: Gion is a section of old Kyoto, lying on the east bank of the Kamo River, once famous for its courtesans. [email protected]

Don reciting his work

DON McIVER's
publications credits include the following: The Albuquerque Journal, Crosswinds Weekly, The Weekly Alibi, The New Mexico Daily Lobo, The Red Rocks Journal, The Campus Press, Conceptions Southwest, Static Planet, Signature: Writing of the New West, Endless Possibilities, The Duke is Dead, Willow Street, The Tongue's Literary Supplement, Poet's Sanctuary, the online magazines www.spokenwar.com and www.jambands.com.

Don is an active member of the Albuquerque poetry community and has read as a feature at the following locations: Sonny's Bar & Grille, the El Rey Theater, Golden West Saloon, the Launchpad, R. B. Winning's Coffeehouse, the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse, Irysh Mac's Coffeehouse, High Desert Cafť, Bandito's Hideout, Rancho de Corrales, the Poetry Diner at the Poet's Plaza, the East Mountain Groove, 3sidedhole, the Sun Tran Transit Yard, Albuquerque High School, The Reptilian Lounge at the Riverside Repertory Theater, The Warehouse in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Babooshka in Aurora, Colorado and the Tivoli Brewery in Denver.

Presently Don hosts a monthly features-only reading at the Blue Dragon Coffeehouse and has featured 29 different poets and performers. He is also an original member of "The Out Caste." He hosts/produces the weekly Spoken Word Hour on 89.9 KUNM-Albuquerque. In July this year, he will be teaching a weekly poetry class through SEED Open University.

Boulder Sunrise
© Don McIver

Boulder, Colorado. I want to be responsible for something. Is it the ridge top with its wind blown pines, icy, snowy rock, skeletal and white, lonely Aspen trees? Is it the sun blasting its presence and filling up every square inch below the dark rock scars of the Flatirons, and the calm patchy expanse of eastern Colorado? Boulder, Colorado. The top of the ridge is a fitting place to view sunrise and mistakes and regrets. A year of sunrises and I want to know if I am destined to share them alone, hungover, bloated, and ceremonial? Spread out in the valley, my thoughts say good-bye to fighting responsibility, fighting insanity, fighting fighting. I want to be responsible for something. Boulder, Colorado The town that I grew up in is and never was truly mine, yet somehow I feel posessive of my past. And as the morning sun shakes me awake, it's just a matter of waking up. It's just that simple, waking up and starting over. Greeting sunrise with a kid's anticipation of an after dinner treat, or a concert with only the album to tease your ears, or an e-mail that says something kind. And I realize in my own mixed up way, that I am no more responsible for my thoughts and experiences than I am for sunrises and sunsets. And in the humility of time, I am thankful for witnessing another day. Carla June © Don McIver
Every morning I wake up I see her, at four, running down the Chatfield beach to jump into the cold lake for her first swim. She screams in surprise, then giggles as she paddles toward me, her arms afloat in those inflatable orange things that her father, my ex-husband, nearly passed out filling up. And then I really see her, pissing into a catheter tube, smiling as she swings her waist from side to side, but those legs, not tiny anymore, just sit there. Columbine, she's happy to be alive, but Columbine I'm not. Every time I hear her voice upon the phone, I hear her announce how she made the volleyball team. I see her, standing in line at the school pay phone, jumping up and down as the two minute bell rings. She's calling me and I'm so proud and know how far those lovely legs will carry her. Those legs are from her father-actually from his mother. She has long legs too and she could dance, jump, run, and play turn heads every morning of every day. Columbine, my crippled daughter assures me that she's just happy to be alive. And Columbine I am happy for her, but not for me. Every morning I drive down the street and see that building you were always in. I'm reminded of that fateful day. Dylan Klebold went overboard and shot you in the back. You may never walk again, no matter how hard you try. And I am happy that you're alive, but just can't go on and on. He killed me that day. Columbine, Columbine. You took my life away from me. Seems like such a simple plan, they'll never believe its true. I don't really wanna buy the gun, just use it for a shot or two. Do some paperwork, don't notice the two bullets from my purse. as I put 'em in the chamber. I'll blow my brains out there and then. Dedicated to Carla June Hochhalter, who shot herself today, October 22 The Mighty Mule © Don McIver
Because the bus turns left on Academy and disappears, I imagine the driver runs into Wild Oats, fills up with "Organic Sumatra," pisses in the auto-flush toilet next to the "Baby Changing Station," runs back outside, straps in behind the wheel, as they spin the lug nuts with that high compression drill that they set up at the "Wild Oats/Nascar Lube & Brake Express." "Squeak, Vuvvvvv-Ummmp." The double doors open before me. Because all they do is drive around in circles, I imagine that driving a bus is akin to driving in the Indy --only slower-- and since you can't talk to the driver and must stand behind the yellow line, driving a bus would be ideal for people with short fuses and missing vocal chords. Thus winding down at the end of the day must be a veritable symphony of hand gestures, monosyllables and expletives. They describe their day of senior citizens showing them pictures of their grand kids as three legs of their walker creep just inches over that yellow line in a revolutionary flaunting of casaul disregard for rules and regulations. Because Del Norte freshmen wait north of Montgomery and the "upper" classmen south, I bet a bizarre hazing ritual in the hallway ensues, "Hey, Frosh! You were at the wrong bus stop. Let me have your bus pass. Come on. Don't make me give you a wedgie and a dirty swirly." "Squeak, vuvvv-umppp." Because I have this pen and a single pad of paper, I write as if all I had was the words upon my back and I set out for the frontier on a government funded expedition with cartographers, geologists, and military scouts. I'm in search of the seven cities of gold, on this space oasis, aboard this moving bus called "Life." I'm sluggish and my head is spinning. I take the transfer and re-board the bus. I'm a single protein on a roller coaster artery and I'm firing fantasies and mysterious memories across my brain. I eavesdrop on conversations and inhale exhaust fumes. All these people going somewhere and doing something when there is nothing to be done and nowhere left to go. "Squeak, Vuvvvv-Ummmp." The double doors open before me. My stomach rumbles. The end of another day. October 15, 1999 A Pistol or a Bottle of Perfume for Randy Libby © Don McIver
I see him sitting there looking over the bar and glaring at me. "You're cutting me off?" he says. Hearing the menace in his voice, I say, "You're cut off. I can call a cab if you need a ride." Clutching his last drink, he says, "Are you trying to get rid of me?" "No. Just don't know why you'd want to stay and drink another water." He glares, clutching that last drink as if it was a pistol or a bottle of perfume. A few days later, she walks in and sits down, pulls the dark shades off her bruised and battered eyes and says, "I am still with him." He saunters in, puts a paint flecked cellular on the table top and smiles. I say, "Do you want a drink?" A power struggle-he knows I know his usual- a Jack and Coke and she a Margarita, yet I make him say it anyway as he lunges for his ringing phone as if it was a pistol or a bottle of perfume. While talking on the payphone, he puts his fist into my wall, then clutches his last drink at my bar, and wonders why I am '86ing him. And I want to clutch his hand and show him the hole in my wall and grab the still warm handset and say, "You can't take your frustrations out on me, your girlfriend, my wall, your last drink in my bar. My drink is not a pistol or a bottle of perfume." Life hangs on a pistol or a bottle of perfume that he can hold the cops off with behind the curtained window. Life hangs on a bottle of perfume that looks like a pistol, which he clutches and announces, "I have got a gun-and I will use it." And who would they believe? Him and their buddy behind the field glasses who says he is clutching something-- and it could just be a pistol or a bottle of perfume as his bruised and battered girlfriend says, "He doesn't have a gun." And they shoot him down behind the window and he dies clutching a bottle of perfume as if it were a pistol, or maybe that last drink. January 19, 1999 [email protected]



Janet Buck

JANET I. BUCK
has a Ph.D. in English and teaches writing and literature at the college level.

Her poetry, poetics, and fiction have appeared in A Writer's Choice, The Melic Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Kimera, 2River View, Southern Ocean Review, Urban Spaghetti, Perihelion, Mind Fire, San Francisco Salvo, Apples & Oranges, Ceteris Paribus, In Motion, Pogonip, Peshekee Review, Thunder Sandwich, The Suisun Valley Review, The Red Booth Review, The Poetry Kit, Miserere, Niederngasse, Lynx: Poetry from Bath, The Horsethief's Journal, salon D'Art, Pif, The Dragonfly Review, Morpo, Recursive Angel, Big Bridge, and hundreds of journals world-wide.

In 1998 and 1999, she has won numerous creative writing awards and has been a featured poet for Seeker Magazine, Poetry Today Online, Vortex, Conspire, Poetry Cafe, Dead Letters, the storyteller, Poetry Heaven, Athens City Times, Poetik License, 3:00 AM e-zine, Poetry Super Highway, Carved in Sand, and Beachfire Gathering - a publication of Chiron Press. Two of Buck's poems have been nominated for this year's Pushca rt Prize in Poetry and she is a recent recipient of The H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence.

In December 1999, Newton's Baby Press released her first print collection of poetry entitled Calamity's Quilt. Janet is one of ten poets to be featured at the "One Heart, One World" Exhibit at the United Nations Exhibit Hall in New York City in April, 2000. Her poem "Acrylic Thighs" will be translated into five languages and paired with original artwork. The tour will travel to France, Australia, Vietnam, Brazil, and Japan.

Janet's first e-book of poetry, entitled Reefs We Live, is now available at Word Wrangler Publishing. In April 2000, Word Wrangler will release Buck's first e-book of humor entitled Desideratum's Doggie Dish. It contains what critics have called a "biting, hilarious, and original look at the roles of men and women, the foibles of bureaucracy, and the hubris of academia."

 Telling Crayons
© Janet I. Buck

Night after night we celebrate both doom and joy pouring potions from a bottle. Safety pin propriety owning every shape of goblet prettily blasting inherency. A serpent clutching mockingbirds, the cocktail hour feels so damned old-- the only Buddha pose we know, only stain and speck of dust that's legal in our family. Dancing dalliances of words-- all attached to tee-off times, birthday parties, Easter eggs, who did what to whom and when. It's laughing gas that lifts the rocks inside our moons. A space-walk in the living room of mushy green cheese fairy tales-- silicone where breasts should be. I sit outside your circle now with slander candor of a poem in pockets of my grimy sweats. Afraid to tenderize the mood by bringing up old memories. I dig too deep; you shut me out like puppies peeing on a carpet someone paid good money for. I'm unacquainted with a meal that doesn't feature's ether's hold. I long to touch a wicker chaise with summer slugs of barer souls tuning up their orchestras. A rocking chair with real in its creaking arch. A crayoned picture on the fridge your son has drawn is full of corks and little else. A celebrated heritage of leaning on a leaving fire to keep its tendons warm in frost.



The Rocking Vase © Janet I. Buck


Luggage sitting by the curb like dinosaurs in fairy tales, soiled dreams awaiting transfer to a fancy Hell he knew was there for codas of a closing play. "I'll light the stove just one more time," scratching the stomach of his blind old dog. Nursing homes had no roaring fires. "I'll mow the lawn just one last time." His weathered frame in crouched retort of carnal praying mantis style. When the car came and the smiles sat like bumpy sealed envelopes, he was pushing the beast around a row of blue petunias matching the color behind the clouds. Sam left so God-damned suddenly. A heap of oatmeal dropped on green. Pathology reveal a clot in tunnels of a pounding heart. Railing at widows of old, old age, his daughter dug out blades of grass from under dirty fingernails, knowing he had had his way and done the steps of one last dance. Seizure came from nature's falling podium. Body full of Roman ruins and charted dusty dignity. One last blast of foghorn will-- one last scream from stunning peacocks strutting barnyards with their wings-- torn from earth like roses yanked from bellies of a rocking vase. Megahurts © Janet I. Buck
They called me in to give advice on living with that missingness protruding where a knee should bend. CAT scans of a courage train with brakes on fire. Blood left stains emotion-wise. At sixty pounds, your tiny frame -- a scarecrow whittled to a stalk of wheat. The nursing home was just an attic waiting for a merciful torch. My allergies to trouble zones were acting up and I wanted to run and jump and fly, that brand of conquest laughable. Both our stumps, unbidden shames, would always be the mascot of a wet cigar and not some triumph parachute. Megahurts of platitudes and sweet congeniality did nothing to restore your parts. I folded hands in envelopes, tried to make a smile stick. Asked to read grief's crystal ball -- I had papers of fermented pain as puppy dogs get pedigree. Syllables were useless lace, squirting mace, untrained tendons reaching for cloudless sky in taverns of a thunderhead. Book reports of fairy tales and pink ballets I tried to not recite to you on motion's stopping music box. Been there, done that desperation tied to stakes beside a match. An orchestra on upper decks of sinking ships with noses of a giant iceberg coming at body's rotting tooth. Wanting to be a well of quinine poured like wine for those who caught malaria. Every slap my tongue would make seemed full of impropriety -- like wearing a coat of satin mink for sleeping in a dirty barn.
Defended Turf © Janet I. Buck
To untrained sense, his patio was a porch for mud the Cats would come and scoop away. He sat in a swing with his check in hand, counting the zeros his pulse despised, thinking of sold paradise and next steps of a nursing home. Smoking his pipe like prairie grass and blowing curses at the wind. Baseball hat on top of bald -- a lampshade crooked on his head, lamenting the fast right hook of age, that slow left lift, receding time. Snowy dandruff on his shoulders even though his hair was gone. The right to war was one he earned. His daughters said the nurses there were especially polite and some of them were literate. The question was: "How much did they know of topics such as bulldozed hearts, spirits losing wicked will to wile and file a heap of bitter closing hours." Engines came like rolling pins across a pie crust on a board. He still had tongues that tasted fruit but arms could not reach apple trees. Baby cheeks of wild pink roses growing in a wood pile's dregs. A lily stalk, collapsed and dry, as cattails in a winter ditch. A flag upon a mail box, use-less hollow metal now for dulcet good, since eyes were spent pennies in a crushed bank of intruding fog.
[email protected]



Bob Childs on the mic

BOB CHILDS
(AKA Doomwheels), whose current publisher is Shhh, No Talking! Publications, found that his writing changed dramatically after an injury he sustained in 1994.

Since then, head injury and mood disorder have played an important role in his life, relationships, and his writing.

Bob last appeared in Poetry Life & Times in the February '99 issue. He has updated his website this year, and is currently working on a journal about his recent travels in Europe.

His poems illustrate the struggles and truimphs of one man's journey through life and love. Excerpts from his latest books can be found on his website, below.

To read more of Bob's poetry Click here

To contact him, email: [email protected]

Wrong Side Of the Glass 
© Bob Childs
From the book "Wrong Side Of The Glass"

She spends her days looking out windows Every shadow is a cop or a dealer she owes Locked in her room she watches the Light shining on others A fire burns inside her A desire without purpose A craving that controls her soul Forcing its silence The night is her kingdom The needle, her sword Spoon, her shield One quick pierce And her enemy succumbs The enemy within She is free Released from her weight She swims through rivers of wind Resting on the shoreline of clouds Angels fly to her and eat from her hand She is loved Here she will live far from the pain Safe from the hunger Free from the loneliness She is without regret The night leaves her Resting in the mountains The morning finds her Unconscious on the floor Returned to the painful Weight of her form She crawls to her bed The love forgotten The freedom erased from her mind She looks out her window at the Light shining on others and Waits for the night Always watching From the wrong side of the glass. Whisper Soft © Bob Childs From the book "Wrong Side Of The Glass"
Take of the seed and stand over it that someday You become made of wood and pressed into paper Take of the soil and turn clay into painted beads To braid into your hair Take of the sky and cloud-up heavy and dark To bleed down over quiet valleys Take of this life and whisper soft A breeze of loveliness through the air. I Breathe You In © Bob Childs From the book "As Do All Things"
I breathe you in I pull from my diaphragm To suck you up You travel through my blood To give me strength You flow through my mind To give me consciousness And when exhausted I breathe once more and Send you 'round again I breathe you in And you become part of me Spring Begins Without Us © Bob Childs From the book "As Do All Things"
The sun lies hot on my shirtsleeve I'm still used to dressing for the winter We've awaited the spring together Endured the cold and clouds This was our beginning but How we needed the spring Climbing to the mountains We looked across the horizon We touched dry cracked branches In search of a bud Barely splitting the surface Finally it comes Whispers in the night Secret from the dawn The world comes alive before us Shadows on the grass thicken As if shades drawn in a window Feel it, Taste it, Touch it! In dreams aching for this moment My love flows over it's banks The run-off swells becoming Rivers to carry seed to new laid soil Maybe drift an unexpected flower along the ripples Just to catch your attention for a moment Reflections on your cheek Capture my gaze as you Snuggle to my side Staring up at me with that Look I still can't describe This is what was to be We sang of this moment We anticipated the warmth with each kiss But now we are missing Our winter fire burnt too bright And now we watch the sun set From mountains apart As the spring begins Without us. [email protected]

Self-portrait by Jan Sand

JAN SAND, poet and illustrator from New York, is a regular contributor to Poetry Life & Times. and the newsgroup alt.arts.poetry.comments. A great deal of his work is about animals, or science fiction.

Recently Jan was published by Kedco Studios Artist Profile Press, on their latest CD ROM e-book, "A Way With Words (Poetry Real and Surreal), which also includes complete books by Dale Houstman, Sara L. Russell and Keith Gabriel Hendricks. Jan's illustrated book on the CD is called "Wild Figments And Odd Conjectures", which is also sold separately, in a limited-edition "single" CD.

To see an illustrated article about Jan's poems, visit the November '98 issue of Poetry Life & Times, and scroll down past the Editor's Letter.

AND
© Jan Sand



I dreamed last night
Of my wife, and we were young.
And the fury of love filled me.
And she felt distress I should look at her
With such immense passion and delight.
And she turned her face down and away.
And I took her shoulder and turned her to me.
And I drank her in as we walked the evening street
On cobblestones up a steep hill
In Paris or Grenoble or Helsinki.
And the world was wonderful.



VOCAL INTRUDERS
© Jan Sand



Machines nor longer chuff.
They hum, like birds they trill,
And some just beep
Deconstructing sleep.
Sometimes they speak
With stolen voices
Indicating many choices
Numerating endlessly
To offer which department
One may be connected to, to have
A real conversation.
At night or early morning
Car alarms deficient of all harms
Check their electric clocks
And about 3 am (to maximize the shocks)
Howl and scream
Exploding helpless neighborhoods
From out their peaceful dream.
They are endured with gritted teeth
And restless rolls across the sheets
While anger boils up from beneath
For all mechanical outcries.
And farther down from this lies
A volcanic rage for this age
That circuit boards should intrude
Into our lives with senseless voices
Insensitive and rude.


THE LEGEND OF THE SUN
© Jan Sand



Some billion years from now
The Sun will speak of its blue jewel
That slid around its necklace out of gravity.
"Here," it will reminisce, "arose a mystery
That named itself as life. And this life
Cast out a complicated spell
To enchant from fine ground rocks
And liquid water a sense
Which sensed itself so that they sang
Of beauty and of order and of love.
They wished upon my pearly Moon
And, in fleeting sidelong glance,
Admired my fire.
How they did divide and divide
To change and grow and then -
Like morning mist they rose
and moved off to the stars.
Their knowingness they took along,
But in gratitude to me they threw their spell
To lift me into love and care
To bless my planets into knowingness
With radiation, order,
And consciousness.


[email protected]



Dear Sara:

You have a wonderful site! Elsiha Porat is a Featured Poet at my site, Kookamonga Square in Geocities Paris/Tower, as well! I would like to use the link for his interview in my K.S. Notice to my poets and viewers, and Elisha has asked me to contact you first. I would also like to add your site to our poetry links on Kookamonga Square's Main page. The URL for Kookamonga Square is:

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Tower/9556

Yours in verse,

Dale A. Edmands

[email protected]




What a nice looking site!
Perhaps we could link our sites? Visit one of my pages:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/8505 or
http://members.tripod.com/~Raindog/LRB.html or
http://home.earthlink.net/~lumoxraindog

Raindog


BACK ISSUES OF POETRY LIFE & TIMES:
September 1998

October 1998

November 1998

December 1998

January 1999

February 1999

March 1999

April 1999

May 1999

June 1999

July 1999

August 1999

September 1999

October 1999

November 1999

December 1999

January 2000

February 2000

March2000

April 2000

May 2000

Mail me on: [email protected] with any poems, comments for the letters page, news about your poetry site, or forthcoming poetry events.

Click here to return to main index