Posts tagged ‘poetry’

February 1, 2022

Post #2 from Cantab Tango 

From Novel #9 of The Sequoia Saga

Hi Readers.

Thanks so much for your patience. It’s been over two weeks since I sent out my first post when I’d hoped to send another post before then. I’m not sure if my post selections will go out biweekly or bi-coastal or non-monthly—but I’ll figure that all out as I go. The writing of my next novel has resumed with a vengeance (that’s actually a part of the plot) and that’s taken my energy, too. Mostly it’s the newness of becoming a publisher like this and learning the ropes and the tropes and the tech of it. But here’s another post. Enjoy.


David Krancher

Pudding Creek Haiku

Strings of sea weed and seal laughs
mix into seven sea gull filled waves
until fog hides our eyes from us.

EXCERPT #2 from Cantab Tango

“Watch Tony show off for you,” I say to Satchmo, “while I’m jonesing for a fat spliff of ganja—or let’s call the whole thing off.”

Tony gives me a dirty look. Satchmo sighs.

“As a matter of fact,” Tony says, “it’d be best to stack a minor 6th chord on top of your tonic, then flat the fifth, and add a 13th over that—it’s so musically insane, it’s perfect. Especially since it becomes a great way to end it—so up in the air and unresolved, you know—like the lyrics imply.”

I answer by throwing my hands around like they explode from a bomb.

“Lyrics imply, Tony? Where’d you learn to be so damn understated? That song is one hundred percent unresolved. Fuck! That’s its whole idea—we should play all the chords in the world at the end with every crash cymbal and cake pan in the house banging! And fifty howling dogs in heat!”

Satchmo buzzes us with his lips. He is not impressed.

“You two should get a room and just fuck it out—I’d watch that—put it on a motherfuckin’ authorized tube video. Just fuck it out, man!”

Ouch for Tony. His eyes turn to snakes. Ouch for me, too. But funny!

Is Tony clock-watching again? Just how good does Satchmo sound? Satchmo is not impressed with us yet.

I certainly hope he will be, because no way I’m fucking it out.


We still need a good demo to succeed.

Satchmo starts to test the microphone before he sings, but first Tony has him tap his foot to a click track to keep the tempo even. Satchmo looks at me and frowns.

“Play it straight through at full speed, but keep it steady,” says Tony. “So we can get a proper reference copy. And then we can use it later to work on an arrangement and balance the levels. Tempo is the most important thing to get right.”

“Tony? Please,” I say.

Tony always thought dominating a production meeting was the most important thing to get right—but not in an audition.

“Shut up, Tone. This is a demo for a demo. Let him play free,” I say.

Tony frowns.

Satchmo warms up with a spinning dance move. He swings the guitar around his back and kicks one leg high before he plays a note. Tony narrows his eyes and checks the clock. I’m happily surprised—the first riff itself syncopates the song like Prince might. The second phrase echoes the bass part which propels the first vocal line. It’s almost a short climax in itself. Then he sings:

“Well, I don’t walk [beat, beat] like my daddy do . . .”

Satchmo adds a few off-beat chord scratches against the bass line that might imply horn shouts in a James Brown tune. I check Tony’s face but it’s hard to see a smile because he’s bobbing to the beat so hard. I smile.

“. . . and I don’t pray like my daddy do [scratch-beat, beat].”

I bob, too. I can hardly stay in my seat because I can’t wait to tell Tony that Satchmo did not write that himself—I wrote that riff and those lyrics—and I wrote those rhythms, too [beat, beat]. I’ll just wait until he overpraises Satchmo’s tune, before I let his prejudice kill him with the truth about the song. Satchmo and I actually wrote it together after a rehearsal last night—so he’s in on the joke. Tony always underestimates my ability to write.

“And even though I’m too cool,

you know I ain’t no fool

. . . ’cause I love ya like my daddy . . .”

On the chorus Tony jumps to his feet like a club DJ—twisting imaginary dials and shoving imaginary sliders—I can tell he imagines a thundering under-bass with Latin horn shouts on top. He likes that sound. Timbales slap air. He pounds a fist down on the one-beat like James Brown might—thrusts a hip out on the two.

“But I ain’t afraid of eating cliché’s [shout, shout]

if they taste better than apple pie . . . [shout, shout—shout, shout]”

Tony gives me an odd look to hear that line—smells like Jack spirit doesn’t it? Or is he onto our trick so soon? He’s not laughing yet. Satchmo doesn’t laugh—he’s dead serious about increasing the funk so he rakes the guitar into double-time at the bridge then pops to a full stop before he dives into a final rave-up.

“I love ya like my daddy,

love ya like my daddy, [shout, shout]

like my daddy love Ma!”

Da dum, da dum dum—pow! The tune ends. Satchmo bows.

The crowd applauds and whistles—one of us.

Tony smiles—he’s onto me now—but he also sees what Satchmo’s done with it: voice, guitar, and those rhythms. He applauds Satchmo but yells at me.

“He would be in The Beatles—and he’d be the best one!”

I laugh. Satchmo looks perplexed. Beatles?

* * * * * * * * * *

November 8, 2017

America, Not Always So Beautiful.


America, Not Always So Beautiful

Not so beautiful to the thousands of families burnt out of their homes or flooded only to be stiffed by the insurance companies and an underfunded FEMA who who do not care for them.
Not so beautiful to the three million Americans in Puerto Rico who don’t have electricity or enough food.
Not so beautiful to bicycle riders who get run over by drunks who the law allows to keep driving our roads.
Not so beautiful to the 50,000 Americans killed each year by gun fanatics who can’t get the mental healthcare they need.
Not so beautiful to the sick and dying Americans who suffer a lack of healthcare so the rich can buy new summer homes.
Not so beautiful to the millions of immigrant children thrown in jail and deported back to a country they hardly know.
Not so beautiful to American women who face discrimination and sexual harassment on the job and at home.
Not so beautiful to people of color who face racism every day.
Not so beautiful to American citizens threatened with nuclear war by a president too narcissistic and too sociopathic to face reality.
Not so beautiful to the people who are not rich enough to afford the lies the rich tell themselves about how beautiful they imagine America might be.

And it wouldn’t be so beautiful to Jesus Christ. He threw the rich moneylenders out of the temple, when they sold their souls for such riches.
And it wouldn’t be so beautiful to Martin Luther King, Jr. to hear that his dream has not become true.
Not always so beautiful to me.
When the Star Bangled Banner plays, I kneel out of respect for the human dignity and justice this country no longer offers.

(All text by me, Art by Anne Abrams.)

December 18, 2014

Rondeau At The Train Stop By Erin Belieu

Rondeau At The Train Stop

It bothers me: the genital smell of the bay
drifting toward me on the T stop, the train
circling the city like a dingy, year-round
Christmas display. The Puritans were right! Sin
is everywhere in Massachusetts, hell-bound

in the population. it bothers me
because it’s summer now and sticky – no rain
to cool things down; heat like a wound
that will not close. Too hot, these shameful
percolations of the body that bloom
between strangers on a train. It bothers me

now that I’m alone and singles foam
around the city, bothered by the lather, the rings
of sweat. Know this bay’s a watery animal, hind-end
perpetually raised: a wanting posture, pain
so apparent, wanting so much that it bothers me.

Rondeau At The Train Stop By Erin Belieu.



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December 3, 2014

New poem by Walt Whitman

New poem by that upstart poet, Walt Whitman:
“To Bryant, the Poet of Nature”



September 28, 2014

Position Needed, a poem for peace

Position Needed

United States Secretary of Peace:
an Executive Cabinet position to
be appointed by enlightenment
itself. This Secretary may not be
removed by any president ever.
Secretary of Defense answers to
Secretary of Peace who has veto
power over anything it says or does.
The United States Secretary of Peace
answers to no one but to peace itself. 

  (Photo by Anne Abrams)

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August 8, 2012

Emily Dickinson, Virgin Recluse—Not

Wild Nights by Emily Dickinson, The Text

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

—”Wild nights! Wild nights!” is a poem of sexual passion. Colonel Higginson, her editor, wrote:

One poem only I dread a little to print–that wonderful ‘Wild Nights,’—lest the malignant read into it more than that virgin recluse ever dreamed of putting there. Has Miss Lavinia [Emily Dickinson’s sister] any shrinking about it? You will understand & pardon my solicitude. Yet what a loss to omit it! Indeed it is not to be omitted.

The myth of Emily Dickinson as some kind of  virgin recluse?

We poet gots passion!

July 31, 2012

Four poems from Charles Simic: “The Future” & Other Poems

I’ve been reading a collection of the poems of Charles Simic. I like his poems. He is a Serbian American and was named the 15th poet laureate of the United States. I love the way he juxtaposes ordinary images with evocative ones. When questioned about his style, he once said: “I wanted something seemingly artless and pedestrian to surprise the reader by conveying so much more. In other words, I wanted a poem a dog can understand. Still, I love odd words, strange images, startling metaphors, and rich diction, so I’m like a monk in a whorehouse, gnawing on a chunk of dry bread while watching the ladies drink champagne and parade in their lacy undergarments.” At another time he said: “In America, if you want to know where the heart is you listen to the blues and country music.” This juxtaposition is also something Margot Suydam does well in her work (found below). Here are two excerpts of his:

“I like to cloister myself
Watching my thoughts roam
Like a homeless family
Holding on to their children
And their few possessions
Seeking shelter for the night.”
“Friends of the small hours of the night:
Stub of a pencil, small notebook,
Reading lamp on the table,
Making me welcome in your circle of light.”

Here are four of his best poems from “The Future & Other Poems.”

July 16, 2012

Amanda, poet

Amanda, poet

“I am Pete Rose, dying with the hopelessly screwed, scorning giants whose plans date back before saviors . . . .” —This from is a mash-up of a blogpost, lyrics from several musicians, and three poems from a poet called Amanda. She can write. Check her out here:

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December 13, 2011

Read the pages that Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Galileo saw.

I found this Website from Octavo,, that brings us into all the best rare book rooms of the world. You can read the same type that our earliest writings, scholars, and musicians wrote and read. You can read Books of Hours, medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts; check out Galileo’s notebooks; and study charts of Copernicus about how he proved the truth about the solar system. Of course Octavo hopes you’ll buy some limited edition reprints of these, but if you can’t afford them, you certainly can’t afford not to check it out on your computer. The reality of these pages makes the type fonts on any computer screen look lame and pale by comparison, and something of the spirit of those times is transferred to the reader.

Octavo says, for instance: “Over the past several years in cooperation with the world’s greatest libraries, Octavo has digitally photographed most of the existing early quarto editions of William Shakespeare’s plays and poems, as well as the quarto editions of plays such as The Yorkshire Tragedy once considered part of the Shakespeare canon.”

You can explore the earliest texts here.

October 9, 2011

The Boston Book Festival: Copley Square, Saturday Oct 15. It’s free.

There are many events including a Flash Fiction Open Mic at 2:00pm, Old South Church, Mary Norton Hall, 645 Boylston Street. For other events, check out the site:

Read your very, very short story out loud for an eager audience. The Drum, an audio literary magazine, will be recording each story, choosing the best ones for publication in the magazine. Each piece must be no longer than three minutes. Emceed by Henriette Lazaridis Power, editor of The Drum. (The Drum is a made-up one-time literary magazine created for this event, but the readings should be fun.)

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