While I'm still on winter break, I'd like to post a few poems by Alan Britt, a professor at Towson University. Enjoy!
(For our Veterans)
He who volunteers, reckless
while defending right
from wrong as we observe
history fashioned into marble lions,
harpies, satyrs, minotaurs, hydras,
& mythological winged creatures
surviving well beyond the League
of Nations’ shrapnel stripping British
logos from doughboy helmets designed
for rain but not much else.
He who volunteers is reggae
with a pinch of Christianity holding
strong since Constantine kick started
that religion to unite his empire.
But, today, a rusty bit cuts the corners
of the volunteer’s political mouth,
(laser eyes everywhere),
just ask he who volunteers,
he who recklessly defends right
from wrong while remaining
head over heels in love
with the future.
|Photograph by Kimse, 2008|
There are no rules for this.
Unless one considers the man
beneath a camouflage backpack
& carefully crushed Che Guevara cap.
I’m advised to spread a cloth of carnations
allowing moonlight to flood my chameleon soul
until dreams leave teeth marks
across the bones strewn beside my bed.
I’m told to relax and contemplate my legs
like two boa constrictors stretched out
before me while night’s stainless steel fingers
knit a moonlit shroud above my canopy bed.
I understand some mysteries—
how one day topples the next
like domino waves scudding my ankles, knees, hips,
waist, before breaching my neck.
But once foam invades my chin . . .
So, I rely on simple words, words nourished
by verbs whose vowels are swollen
with humidity & sag like a silken web strung
between two ruby leaves of a plum tree.
I’m talking poems protected
by feathers & damaged scales,
poems dressed & undressed,
poems that weave glistening trails
across darkened concrete stoops at dawn,
poems entering and exiting my pupils that resemble
black holes inhaling the chaos of my universe.
Poems dressed & undressed.
After all, what does one wear
upon entering the ether world?
There are no rules.
I WON’T CONTINUE UNTIL I SEE A HEAD NOD
Sometimes it feels like the beginning
of the end or else the end of the beginning.
Shake your head if you’ve heard this one.
Sometimes it feels like latitude
has replaced longitude
during the 21stcentury coffee wars.
I snap my woolen dog blanket
against a chilly December breeze.
Sometimes it feels like the end
of something or the beginning of it.
Other times it doesn’t feel
like anything at all.
GET THEE TO A HOUSE OF REPUTE
Boardwalk model’s twisted seaweed quaff—
dragon tattoo DNA-ing her lower back
as spandex jiggles adventurous avocados
inside one’s fecund imagination.
I worshipped an Anglo-Saxon monarch eons
ago & watched his Danish cousin lift her
muddy skirt for a border guard during one
particularly gruesome occupation.
I couldn’t help but help, so I dove headlong
into her quartz blue & canary-speckled eyes
with nary a thought of looking back.
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE PARTIALLY ALIVE
Part of me knows nothing at all.
The rest of me even less, or a little.
I sway with Spanish moss, fluorescent
beard in 4thAvenue lamplight, feeling
naked as a palm tree, limbs rooted
beneath cool grey sand.
Now, part of me knows this while
the rest of me waits in silence.
I burrow, bones covered by Modigliani skin,
beneath Florida soil fertilized by rain,
soil fertilized by an ancestry of crows,
plus salamanders under bronze moonlight.
Part of me knows nothing at all,
while the rest of me hears everything.
Prefering to "lean and loafe at his ease," Alan Britt is troubled by the corruption and ambivalence that permeates the Great Experiment, so politically speaking he has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some sounds radical. He believes the US should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds, and oil, also that it’s time to eliminate corporate entitlements and reduce military spending in order to properly educate its citizenry, thereby reducing crime and strengthening the populace in the manner that the Constitution envisioned. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur.
ALAN BRITT: Library of Congress Interview:
Last night my husband and I went to see The Green Book, so I think I'll post some songs by Dr. Don Shirley. Have you seen the movie yet? I recommend it!
Here is Don Shirley's version of "Georgia on My Mind": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWJJm2WJ-WA
He also covered "Bridge Over Troubled Water": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDEyBw_N2bA
This is his version of "Lullaby of Birdland" with Richard Davis on the bass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTeBgrY6MZA
I'll finish with the Don Shirley Trio's version of "Blue Skies": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGrU0jAdeVs