Sunday, October 29, 2017

Welcome to Alan Britt!

Longer ago than I care to admit Alan Britt sent me some poems that I'd like to post tonight.  I'm happy to see that his first poem references various bluesmen born in the 1940s, most of whom are new to the contest.  Alan, by the way, was also in Resurrection of a Sunflower.  I am always thrilled to publish someone from Catfish and Marc's anthology!


Sprinkle in Eric’s falsetto and you’ve really got
something—a sprig of Mayall, Jack Bruce, Stevie
Winwood—rolling rock on its ear, as if rock’n’roll
had an ear according to swingsters cartwheeling
their way across Nazi ballrooms.

A pinch of Derek Trucks for good measure,  
just enough to tenderize what many preachers
call porterhouse love affairs on the verge,
on the verge, on the verge of what some poor
exhausted praying bastard might say if only
he had a love affair.

So, forget the verge; better he doesn’t know;
easier that way. & with your alchemical harp,

Mick, take us out . . . take us out. 

This next poem is surprisingly timely!


Leaves fall through hard black shadows.

Banana-bitten leaves
with ink stains of infant green
& brown spots tattooing
their oval bodies.

November wind, with a walnut walking
stick, churns their chilly graves.         


I've already forgotten which day
it was I've forgotten!


I understand how it feels to be tangled in monofilament line 
cast from a corporate yacht by its captain donning a white 
fabric black-brimmed cap that features a braided yellow trim 
slip-knotted at both ends with gold embroidered ships wheel 
& anchor on a black background.

Wrapped in monofilament line beneath irrational undertow. 

I understand that certain sentiments when threatened 
erupt like Mount Tambora.

But like Helen Keller lost in a blizzard, I developed tentacles 
disguised as Spanish dancer sea slugs trawling a reef off 
East Timor while performing flamenco among cauliflower 
coral that’s survived seventy zillion evolutions.

Enough or too much, William poses the eternal question? 

So, how much is enough? 


Crow squawks resemble high heels scraping
a sidewalk between two clapboard houses framed
by budding birches, elderly elms, & Japanese maples.

Mail truck over blue gravel rattles like ice
cubes clattering an icemaker’s throat.

Butterfly wings of radiant rust clip the clover,
braise wild onion, & tumble like flakes of amber
over forsythia singeing a split-rail fence.

Algae, like waves staining beach sand, bruises
the torso of a whitewashed shed.

Palomino dog beside wrought iron railing pants
on patio steps that eviscerate TV voices revealing
windows in the flesh, daffodil’s wilted yellow star,
tomato vines reduced to shoestrings by a renegade  
winter, & catbird cries like russet gears inside magnolia
blossoms that resemble artichoke leaves dipped
below garlic & melted butter dreams.

               *                  *   

Like lava, pollen migrates from barbaric verbs
to feral nouns one breath at a time.


Tyger dragonflies—her hair after
a gust during 3rd grade recess.

Then in bed dreaming of rescuing preschool
crush’s hair like wet tobacco while riding
a bareback granite stallion
that requires no maintenance,
no oats, no hay, no excuses.

Initial commands sketchy
when nuclear weapons
entered the conversation,
head beneath Florida desktop,
body curled like armadillo
scale by scale, link by link,
into the vault, a dream of sorts,
but vault all the same,
accountants disappearing in quicksand,
rulers on roller skates behind Plexiglas,
behind the advertising cartel all smiles
ripe for orthodontic ads—reminds
me of lavender-dipped-in-opium
perfume intoxicating the rail-splitter
in me—I had two cows, maybe,
six goats, & three mangy dogs,
for sure—I had some chickens
won in a euchre contest—feathers
flew, eggs hard to come by—but
I inherited something cherished
by primordial DNA—I found love,
or it found me—either way, from
this day forward I’ll spread
poetry like Johnny Apple
spread his seeds. 

Alan Britt has published over 3,000 poems nationally and internationally in such places as Agni, Bitter Oleander, Bloomsbury Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Christian Science Monitor, Confrontation, English Journal, Epoch, Flint Hills Review, Gallerie International (India), Kansas Quarterly, Letras (Chile), Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Minnesota Review, Missouri Review, New Letters, Northwest Review, Osiris, Pedrada Zurda (Ecuador), Poet’s Market, Queen’s Quarterly (Canada), Revista/Review Interamericana (Puerto Rico), Revista Solar (Mexico), Roanoke Review, Steaua (Romania), Sunstone, Tulane Review, Wasafiri (UK), and The Writer’s Journal. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica RadioJanuary 2013. He has published 16 books of poetry. He teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.
Library Home
ALAN BRITT: Library of Congress Interview:

I hope that the link to the interview with Grace Cavalieri works!

 Tonight I'd like to post some videos of Michael Brecker, another musician born in the 1940s.  His Don't Try This at Home was the first jazz CD I bought.  "Itsbynne Reel" started off the CD:

"Suspone" is another song from that CD:  It sounds like a song from another place and time.

Let's add to my collection of "Night in Tunisia" with Chaka Khan on vocals:

Here is Michael and Randy Brecker's "Some Skunk Funk":

I'll finish with their "Strap-Hangin'":


1 comment:

  1. I see you like Michael Brecker so much that you bought a copy of "Don't Try This at Home!" I still have my copy. He left us all too soon. He also worked with Carly Simon, as on the DVD of the concert Carly did at her home town on Martha's Vineyard. ( Also available at most music stores and on line merchants.