August 22, 2018
It’s too hot to sit with the dead today
so I float above them,
hanging on for dear life to the strings
of a bunch of many-colored balloons.
Up high, where the air is much cooler,
the oxygen less dense.
The vacuum of space waits hidden above me;
a black, gaping maw poised to chomp.
Death above, death below, dying in between,
one hand gripping balloon strings,
the other trying to choke down a mustard-soaked sardine sandwich.
In the distance, beyond the curve of the earth,
a thing so monumental its name cannot fit into a human ear.
In the distance, all lived pasts and livable futures.
There may be a mustard stain on my crisp, white shirt
but I’m afraid to look.
Perhaps the dead have asked me to stay away today.
It’s probably not so hot outside after all.
This is an unusual Shots in the Night show. Tonight’s show is about our city, its people, its feelings, and its life, described through poetry by local artists. If you think you don’t like poetry, you are in for a pleasant surprise, because many of these poems are more like storytelling.
Featuring: Gregory Cenac, Linda Kay Davis, Patrick Dobson, Sharon Eiker, Kathy Hughes, Silvia Kofler, Will Leatham, Michelle Pond, Jeanette Powers, Jason Preu, Larry Welling, and Brandon Whitehead.
Poems read by Rosena Baumli and Jason Preu.
Join Fountainverse: KC Small Press Poetry Fest organizers Jason Preu, Samantha Slupski, and Brandon Whitehead as they welcome Nathanael William Stolte of Buffalo, NY and Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective Press. Special guests, Chigger Matthews aka Matthew Haines and the one and only #bathtubpoet, New Jersey’s own Damian Rucci!
The return of BDUB 4000, the original robot poet will be the star of the show! Don’t miss this funny and piquant event, which brings some lightheartedness and humor to poetry.
No cover, but LOTS of amazing books will be available! Bring cash for poetry to stir the soul and tickle the heart!
We can walk around the block
in the time it takes us to listen
to Wang Chung’s ‘Dance Hall Days’,
so I wanted to write a poem
tying the song’s lyrics
to observations made along the way.
For instance, I’d quote,
“And take your baby by the ears”
as we stroll by the police station
while employing certain literary tools
to highlight comparisons between the cops
and now-faded pop stars from the 1980s.
And I’d somehow tie together,
“And you need her and she needs you,”
to urban gentrification
and how pushing away the poor has somehow
escaped potential developers of downtown Kansas City, Kansas
despite wholly reshaping Kansas City, Missouri into something…else.
And then I’d end the poem repeating,
“Dance hall days, love, dance hall days
dance hall days, love, dance hall days.”
But without a smoking sax solo,
the entire affair seemed hopelessly missing
that something wholly necessary for lasting greatness.
May 15th, 2018
Bits of broken tombstone surround the tree of life, jagged little reminders that all monuments someday crack and crumble.
A speck-like spider falls from the tree of life onto my pale hand. Before it has a chance to find its own way home, I send it to the land of wet grasses on a gust of self-generated wind. I have never cared for spiders, however minuscule.
I count no less than twenty shards of gravestone and wonder if the tree of life is to blame. The tree of life, grown so large from all the now-quiet bodies if hovers over while under the bone-infested ground, the roots of life seek water.
I spy no faces upon the tree of life’s cracked and ornery skin. I only spy black ants and sick-yellow lichens.
Are the faces then underground with the roots or perhaps higher up on the trunk, well above eye-level, spied only by wandering drones or a telescoping eye from a nearby window? Are the faces then in the branches, obscured by oblique leaves?
Perhaps the tree of life has no faces at all…
Perhaps the tree of life is just a dis-envisaged voice repeating so slowly, “So happy now you’ve gone.”
And what then for us still left to hear?
What new lessons do we have to share?