2012 Poem Compilation

The Rain Came Down Collect

by Scott Wannberg

the old timers sleep in
as the rain comes down collect
don’t hurry now, best to park your heart in an amiable space.
rescue teams used to hang around this end of the park,
but they went and got lost one afternoon.
you’ll have to rescue yourself, today,
if you can handle the load.
the young ones are wound up loud
and it will be days, maybe months,
before they see themselves in the mirror.
the doctor sits high up on a tree limb,
searching through binoculars,
the healing will arrive soon, i hear.
don’t quite know which train will bring it,
but there will be room for the hootenanny.
bring your wounded luggage,
bring your passion and your hope.
some things still mean,
despite rhetoric,lies,and misdealt cards.
i am going slow now,
slower than usual,
but i am going along the trail
one foot, then the other,
as the rain calls collect
and says go easy, son, go easy indeed.


One Thousand Dead Abbie Hoffman

for Scott Wannberg
by John Dorsey, Toledo, OH

I will remember you this way:
Bong in hand,
Inhaling the fears
of a thousand dead revolutionaries.

Mid-afternoon
In the Sacramento sun,
Where Abbie Hoffman became a rosary.

What can I say?

You knew mambo when you saw it.

Knew dreams by the way
they kissed your skin
for a taste of freedom.


Things I know to be true

by John Dorsey, Toledo, OH

god was a multitasker

could teach both love and hate to the bisexual heartbeat of the world

matthew shepard wasn’t a scarecrow

bob dylan told me i was an underground man

i am not elvis presley or the lizard king
singing you a pop song about death
blue hawaii in the afterlife of a moonlight drive

hitler liked killing jews with everything but kindness
and taking long walks on the beaches of normandy

like don quixote
i once fought a bottle of whiskey
in the honor of women

once referred to jimmy hoffa
as MR.star studded bones

once built towering infernos of love
out of the last matchstick in napoleon’s coat pocket
while dreaming about the morton salt girl
singing in the purple rain with gene kelly
and the artist formerly known as brendan behan

yelling to gig young, “they shoot hippies don’t they?”

NO SHIRT
NO SHOES
NO BOMBS

NO SHIRT
NO SHOES
NO BONES

the dead hold vigils on bourbon street
the last embers of rome slipped through my fingers
while writing you a love letter on the lid to grant’s tomb

it will be morning soon
my shadow waits for your song
by the invisible rivers of empathy
parked quietly along the highway at wounded knee


A Mountain of Accusations

by John Dorsey, Toledo, OH

north vegas sits just
off the highway like a
discarded sofa a mountain of zen accusations
bathing
in the glow of
golden eternity a tourist
biting kerouac’s style in
a kiddie pool with
the ghost of elvis
peaceful at 3:28am

we wake to the
rattle and hum
of
construction

here i am a
leaning tower of babel
a hunk a hunk
of burning love comping
an inferno of words
to the misguided glittering
angels filled with fear and loathing
at the ends of the earth

here even poverty has
its own beat filled
with history this city
where rumor has it
sinatra pawned the dancing shoes
of god after tapping his
way into stardom like
a true new jersey
alley cat

i think about these things
as i leave jacob playing
cards on the casino floor
to go in search
of the hotel pool

in the hallway i overhear
a young hispanic girl
pleading with her family
to bring her kids
for a visit only
to be denied the
payphone asks for another $
for a few more
minutes of fleeting hope
she reaches into her
pocket for the last
bit of change everything
feels like a gamble
maybe her father won’t
even pick up the
phone next time

in an hour she will
go out on the
street under the moonlight
with a vagina like a clown car
the bargain basement queen
of hopeless romantics

the scent of pot
rolls down the hall
i follow it to its
last breath like a
swooning lover looking for
a glass slipper in a whorehouse

i have always been
ready to dance with love
drunk on darkness i
go upstairs and wait
by the window for
the next sad song to begin


West Coast Sunday

by Phillip E. Burnham, Jr., Cambridge, MA

It was a careless California crowd
In Santa Cruz, strolling the beach boardwalk
In random, restless hordes, well-fed and loud
Pleasured seekers with their children enthralled
By rollercoasters’ vertigo thrill, all
Stomach-in-the-mouth, barkers’ siren call
To contests or prospects of other rides,
Nearby on muscle beach, where no skin hides,
Athletic amazons make sandy sides
For volleyball, this world of games and food
An entertainment whirled into a mood
Of mindlessness beside the ocean’s flood
Where riders on their boards close under cliffs
Risk-dance across and down the breaking surf’s
Uncurling waves and sudden rocks beneath.

North from the city land lies quietly
In mountain fields and stands of redwood trees
That come precipitously down to sea,
Ledges of stone edges round slim crescent bays
Tide swept and salted clean twice turned each day,
A brief decent down from the ripple way
Of road set carefully along the cliffs
The water will not leave alone, as if
It were unsalted by an endless gift
Of continent consumed year after year,
And we now passing this uncertain shore
Ourselves abruptly soon to disappear
Without a trace, though waves, breaking to spray,
And sliding back in gravity’s deep play,
Engender hope all might not wear away.