They used to call me Tamarind.
Now they holler “Turmeric!”
And ever since, the taste of t’s
Only serves to make me sick.
I miss those days of cloudless skies
When we lived upon the moon.
Where we’d jump and linger for a while,
Where no sounds echoed, neither sheep’s nor loon’s.
My love, where you are not
All else is dark and cold
All is toward an ice-ringed end
My love, I hide my eyes and cheeks
Behind a borrowed shawl
Behind your borrowed name
My love, I never told another
Because it was an interupted dream
Because I could never prove a thing
My love, did we really exist
Side by side, the lonely ocean
Side by side, the empty sky
My love, all
My love, behind
My love, because
My love, my love, my love
You tasted of the bluest salt
Your every word a floral form
We were so lucky to bear witness
To one another’s tears
They rehearse the wedding details
In the middle of the arts fair.
Someone’s selling handmade pipes
While the groomsmen stand in line.
The wedding planner wrings and wrangles
And a jewelry-maker works a deal.
Many random people block the bride
Unsure of where and if they fit.
I’m watching all this with my poem.
A half-full beer within arm’s reach.
Random people weave around me.
No one’s sure if this is it.
I told my son
About your dirt road
And how we’d drive too fast
Just to kick up dust behind us
Like a demon’s sandy sneeze.
I told him about the graveyard
Across the rocky road
And the long-abandoned church
With its broken stained-glass windows.
I told him about the dull lights
And the squalling caterwauls
Late nights on your back porch.
I told him what we found there
Among the crooked, sun-sprayed tombstones.
I told him all these little things and more.
He responded with a shiver, “Oh, Daddy! Daddy, why?”
On October 12th, 13th, & 14th, small press poets from all over North America descended upon Kansas City to read poetry, sell poetry books, and enjoy all that KC has to offer. What used to go by the moniker of “The Kansas City Poetry Throwdown” (cf. https://jasonpreu.com/2016/04/19/some-of-the-writers-from-this-weekends-poetry-throwdown/ & https://www.facebook.com/pg/Fountainverse/videos), was this year rebranded with a new mission to focus on small presses publishing poetry.
In attendance were:
Outlandish Press (Cleveland, OH)
Spartan Press (Belle, MO)
Epic Rites Press (Alberta, Canada)
Aztlan Libre Press (San Antonio, TX)
Write Bloody Publishing (Los Angeles, CA)
CWP Collective Press (Buffalo, NY)
Additional, there were many representatives from Kansas City area poetry organizations & events, such as Kansas City Poetry Slam, The Riverfront Reading Series, and the Latino Writers Collective.
We partnered this year with Kansas City’s Charlotte Street Foundation and their help and support pushed us into new levels of what we could provide attendees and audiences.
The team that puts this event on is made up of Jeannette Powers, Samantha Slupski, Brandon Whitehead, and me.
I encourage any and all small poetry presses out there reading this to reach out to us (https://www.fountainverse.com) and make plans to attend next year. I can’t emphasize enough how much collaboration and cross-city pollination occurs every year after we put one of this events together. Even if you are not selected as a featured press/reader, there are plenty of opportunities for you to present and perform and sell your work.
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.
I dreamed of an oscillating fan built to temper and tame near-feral cats. They called the fan The Cat Whisperer. What luck! For I co-habitate with near-feral cats who shit where they please, rob the birds of every song, and carve my furniture to shredded signs of true ownership. I turned on the demo unit and the fan whirred to life. I wanted to believe The Cat Whisperer would work. I wanted to tame that which the wild had first dibs. I wanted to interrupt nature so friggin’ hard.
Come up, come up
Let us show you the attic
Easy now, mind the dust
Mind the dust everywhere
Stand up, stand up
Tall now, look around now
There’s a box of old books
Too fragile to read through
Those cobwebs in the corner
The prior owner’s condition
Gaps in the insulation
A real character builder
Now step over here
There’s something to see
Look down, look down
Yes, that hole at your feet
You see? Sleeping soundly?
Not knowing you’re up here
And oh! how you’ve wondered
And held your suspicions
How easy we’ve made it
For you to never stop watching
Never stop, never stop
Who’s she dreaming of now?