Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Welcome to Perry Nicholas

Let's return to the 1940s contest with Perry Nicholas' poems inspired by Bob Dylan, one of the more prominent musicians born in that decade.  The picture above is Dylan in concert in London.   Perry's poems, by the way, are in the wonderful anthology Resurrection of a Sunflower.  Have you bought your copy yet?


I hurry home to our sanctuary,
finger a lock of your hair,
stare at the page-white ceiling
at shadows like shadows on a stage,
partial phrases still pinging in my head.

The naked truths are: we are comfortable here,
he should consider reciting his farewells.
You are my sad-eyed lady, and I resist
dislodging my arm from underneath your neck
to find a pencil, let it sing, never one
to risk line breaks in unnatural places.

We are natural here, a bluesy melody
under the radar of electric, garbled lyrics.
He and I need to say our complicated goodbyes.
You and I fit into each other, simply spoon. 


You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way—Bob Dylan

No, I never realized I would be
surrounded by those who couldn’t see,

loving eyes that remain unopened,
never read a book in their lives.

I’ve been through two lifetimes now,
one leaving only scribbles on a page.

You asked me to write down my questions
since I was on my way out,

but I’m still here.
With all this righteous poetry.


Karl Berger is a vibraphonist, educator,  and pianist who is based in Woodstock and, with Ornette Coleman, founded the Creative Music Studio.  

Here is his "From Now On, Side A":
 He has worked with Dave Holland:,
and Pharoah Sanders among others.  

I can't find a video of Berger and Sanders together, but here is Sanders' "Astral Traveling":

Berger leads the Stone Workshop Orchestra in an excerpt from "Ornette" : 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Welcome to Wayne F. Burke

Tonight I am changing things up with Wayne F. Burke and his poems.  He, too, is a poet from Resurrection of a Sunflower.  I hope that you are enjoying these poems by participants in Catfish McDaris and Dr. Marc Pietryzkowski's anthology.  Perhaps they will encourage you to buy the anthology!


I told the girl
sitting beside me
on the bus
that I had to use the bathroom
and as I stood
she said "no thanks"
I thought odd,
and as I leaned against the bathroom wall
and pissed down the metal hole
as the bus swayed back & forth,
I realized that she had thought
I had asked her to come with me
to the toilet,
something I had not considered,
even though
I had been feeling her tits since Denver...
Who or what did she think I was?
Not much, I guessed.
I got off the bus at the station in Rawlins
without asking her name or number.


I got a room in the YWCA
which was immeasurably better than
sleeping outside
on a bench in the park
although the Y was not without problems;
there were roaches who
came out at night
and ran across my face
I tried to sleep with my mouth closed
but woke one night
after a tickling in my throat
and swallowed one
and the roach started to walk around
inside of me
I could feel it
and would punch myself in the belly
and people probably thought me funny
but I never could kill it and
I went to see a doctor
and was given some pills
I took but then
stopped taking after I over-heard some trees
talking about me
I drank some Clorox
to kill the roach
but only made myself ill
and I went to the hospital
and had my stomach pumped
(I hate that)
and still the roach
I could feel it kicking
growing bigger
and I decided to cut it out
and bought a knife
for twenty dollars
but before I cut
the thing came out
a healthy seven-pound
with little roach face
and two cute tiny antennae.


I returned to the apartment
at midnight
after the last shift of
my work week
and got out
of the car
my sore legs and feet
and the little Shit-Sue dog
started to bark from the window
and I bent
picked-up a rock
and threw it
and heard the window glass
and shards fall 
with a sound like chimes
and I ran
around the house,
climbed the stairs to my place
and sat
in the dark,
and listened to excited voices
next door
and watched for cops
who never came,
and when the voices calmed
I went to bed
but just as I started to fall
that damn dog
began barking

Wayne FBurke's poetry has been published in a variety of magazines, online and in print. His four published poetry collections, all from Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN, DICKHEAD, KNUCKLE SANDWICHES, and A LARK UP THE NOSE OF TIME. He lives, or tries to anyway, in the central Vermont area.

I don't remember if I've posted anything by Jack Walrath.  The title of this song, "Napoleon Blown Apart," is worth including:

Charles Mingus recorded Walrath's "Black Bats and Poles":

Here is Walrath's version of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," the one video from his Master of Suspense CD:

I'll finish with a live version of "Suzy's Knees":

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Welcome to Lisa Stice!

This evening I would like to post some poems by Lisa Stice, a fellow poet from the anthology Resurrection of a Sunflower.   The first poem made me stop and think about the price that the military and their families pay as well as the difficult lives that many women lead.

A Funeral for Our Own

And there we were
all together for the first time
with one of us in an open casket
and a husband grieving for
the three months not shared.
Our hearts beat a cadence.
How little we help each other.
The life in slides looks like any
of us who smile for a camera,
hug near-strangers in times of public grief,
and in the end we embrace each other,
say This is a sign, we need to be there
but one honest wife says
with car keys in her hand
In the sixteen years
I have been married to the Corps,
this is the first time
I have gotten together with other wives.
I don’t think it will happen again.

originally published in Lisa Stice’s Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016)

Lisa also sent me a tribute to Joan Baez, another of the musicians born in the 1940s and a key figure in the 1960s for her music and politics.

high notes and scratchy static
from my record player
like diamonds and rust
like an old car that still starts
and rumbles down
dusty roads to a familiar
place        here’s to you
a love song to a stranger
a memory of slower days
when I could sit under a tree—
maybe cherry or dogwood—
and read or do nothing at all
rooted as a wildwood flower
like you on the album cover
smiling and forever young

* Italicized words are song titles.

Lisa Stice is a poet/mother/military spouse who received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of a poetry collection, Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016). You can find out more about her and her publications at and

I'll start off the music with Joan Baez's version of "There But for Fortune," a song written by Phil Ochs:

Here she sings "Gracias a la Vida" with Mercedes Sosa:

Sergio Ortiz wrote a tribute to Mercedes Sosa that I published last spring:

I'm going to switch gears and play some music by Jerry Gonzalez, a jazz musician born in 1949.  Here is his version of Monk's "Jackie-ing":

I'll add his version of "Misterioso":

This last song is his witty version of "Parisian Thoroughfare":