Sunday, October 22, 2017

Tad Richards, Douglas Malan, and the Other Side of Midterms!

Photo from Max Pixel

This past summer Tad Richards sent me a non-driving poem, which I am going to publish tonight.  Although the non-driving contest was last season, I am always happy to post poems in that vein as both my husband and I do not drive.


It dances on little
scraps of rubber
to your tune
for now but you know
it’s going to make a move

you won’t see it
behind you
make a crossover
slidestep for the guardrail
there before you

or it turns
doubles back on you
glares at you with its
red as bats’ eyes
now it’s mad

you’re still behind the
wheel but it doesn’t care
now it’s got you in its sights
forget your seatbelt

it’ll go through its own
windshield to get
at you now
it can smell your bones
it will eat itself whole

-- Tad Richards


It was the first time I ever saw
a Fender bass, and the first I ever saw
a guy put his hand down a girl’s pants.

It was Buddy Holly and the Crickets.
The guy was in the seat in front of me.
The girl was wearing black toreadors,

tight, so she had to squirm and help
for him to get all the way down.
They left halfway through the set.

My first rock and roll show
(I’d been to New York alone before,
to see the Dodgers at Ebbets Field),

I guessed I would have done what he did,
given the chance, but it would have been
a tough call. The Cleftones
were still on the bill, and the Moonglows,
Thurston Harris and the Charts,

Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

-- Tad Richards

Douglas Malan also sent me a Halloween poem.  Enjoy!

Photo by Jorge Gonzalez

Hand Me Down 
For lunch,
I drank more tequila
than typical on a Monday in October,
and decided I needed a Halloween costume
in Dia de los Muertos style.

I floated toward the cavernous thrift store
by the greasy Chinese take-out joint
in the depressed 1960s Florida strip mall
that sheds aluminum siding
like metallic dandruff off a balding head.

Sweat trickled down my back,
pounded out of my pores by a molten afternoon sun
with no breeze under a damp mohair blanket of air.
The thrift store’s cold mustiness embraced me.

The few people shuffled across filthy industrial tiles
in a slow-motion, fluorescent fog
with faces frozen by pain, resignation or drudgery
made functional by the use or abuse
of various substances, manmade and otherwise.

At the front,
the smudged-dusty glass cases showed off
decorative plates
depicting landmarks of Libertyville, or
thin tin signs championing creamy root beer, or
old jewelry that once was worn only on the most special occasions,
all positioned in a neat jumble of past-life detritus.

Moth-balled racks of clothes hung languidly
off broken-down hangers.
The creaky PA system leaked out
some familiar chorus,
Alllllll byyyyyy myyyyyself,
don’t wanna be
alllll byyyy myyyyyyself.

I drifted across the grungy floor
to the “Halloween section” that was
a handful of sad, mopey costumes on a rolling rack.
and would have worked for me in another time and place
I was fortunate to leave.

Tequila and curiosity
destroyed my structure and sense of direction,
causing me to turn right instead of left,
back into the racks
of what others call odious rags.

When I emerged,
into heat too harsh for October,
I had achieved my goal, even when I hadn’t,
by walking out with a bag
of dead men’s clothes.

-- Douglas Malan

Friday night my husband and I went to a fantastic concert by Lila Downs, so I'll post a few of her songs.  I can't find the one I really want, but I will start with "Peligrosa":

She sang one song about the teacher and the spider being punished for their negligence.  Not sure if it is out yet.

This video of "Zapata Se Queda" is a little spooky:

Here she is singing "Arbor de la Vida":

I'll finish with her singing at Hollywood Forever Cemetery:


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