poetry

Best of Cafe Improv 2017

Cafe Improv has released a video of the Best of 2017. The cabaret offers and eclectic group of musicians and poets. Enjoy!

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List of Artists

Cat Moon Daddy

Richie Olivera

Pyrenesia

Steve Hartmann

Russell Norkevich

Joshua Van Ness

Emari DiGiorgio

Pete McDononough

Instant Bingo

Fiona Tyndall

Ajay Divakaran

Avi Wisnia

Curt Lippe

Bear Cave Tower

The Wag

Jim Josselyn Group

Keith Monacchio

Three Guys and a Lady

Mark Wilbur Stewart

Tracy Colletto

G Emil Reutter

Tucker Bickell

Stephanie Chin

Spook Handy

Carolyn Messina

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Happy Joe

Mike Cohen & Steve Delia

Rachael Russell

Ray Naylor

Drew Breder

Robert Jude

Jim Gaven

 

 

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2 Poems by John D Robinson

IMG_0247

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Awaking as Lovers
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I was going to write of
waking up at dawn in a
bus-shelter, robbed of my
money, jacket and shoes
and walking home bare-
foot and fragile but it
was a poem of beauty
and tenderness, like
when Carmelina and I
first awoke as lovers
in my studio-room,
sparsely furnished,
bleak but friendly:
I made some coffee
before she awoke and I
looked at her sleeping,
I still do that now,
over 3 decades later.
 
Footsteps
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Never really got with
William S Burroughs
writings and found his
life far more enthralling
and
 Billy Burroughs Jnr
that cursed at birth
poet who drank himself
to death following a
liver transplant aged 33:
following footsteps can
be easy,
creating your own
isn’t. 
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John D Robinson July B&W portrait
John D Robinson is a UK poet: ‘When You Hear The Bell, There’s Nowhere To Hide’ (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2016) ‘Cowboy Hats & Railways’ (Scars Publications 2016) ‘Damned Dirty and Dangerous’ with Ben John Smith: (Holy&intoxicated Publications 2017): His work appears widely in the small press and online literary journals.
 

2 Poems by Edward L. Canavan

ocean
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form and fade
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playing the part
if only for now
 
caught
in her
graceful
shadow
 
as it dances
across the space
of my mind
 
again
i am swept
by her wake
 
out
to the deepest
dreaming
sea.
 
 
 
clutterfucked
 
things disappear
 
somewhere behind the mind
a junkyard of bits and bolts
 
as we pretend
the incessant rattling din
is nothing
 
and go on
about our
forgetting.
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ed c
Edward L. Canavan is an American poet whose work has been published
in Bleeding Hearts, Ibis Head Review, Burning Word, and Oxford Comma.
He currently resides in the burning cauldron of hellfire known as the
San Fernando Valley, California.

Leave by Tony Walton

IMG_0340 (3)
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Leave
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In Brighton, a suburb of Denver,
at  6:03 pm on a Tuesday, a woman
in dark shades is seen careening through
a yellow traffic light turning red,
grinning straight into the windshield
days rerunning behind her:
 
41 Christmases, 3 mortgages, 4 cars, 5 dogs
7 expired drivers licenses
2 slippers under the bed
 
Days fill
Nights fill
Glasses fill
Calendars fill
Beds fill
 
She never fills
 
But what life did she expect?
 
An ant is crawling across the
knuckles of her driving hand
He knows the answer but
he’s not telling her
 
Radio rising, orange tip of a
cigarette sparks the dark
out the window
a light beer in the cupholder
 
she eases down on the pedal
humming rubber on white concrete
going somewhere:
 
factories without smoke drowse soundless
ships sail from distant harbors
cars run silently at highway rests
numbered seats fly across time zones
 
the world continues to
be the same
 
without her.
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tony w
 
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Tony Walton is a Caribbean writer living in the Cayman Islands. His work has appeared in Storyteller Magazine, Moonkind Press, Wilde Magazine and others. Tony Walton

Call by Gideon Tay Yee Chuen

s window
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Call
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I am
Called to be
a Change-Maker
a Trail-Blazer
a Strong Leader.
Called—
to move Mountains.
I am.
 
Excitement, exhilaration, anticipation.
 
I can’t wait to start
Yet I start to wait
For something—
To happen
To appear
To start.
 
Nothing came, so I stood
Despondent.
 
Then they called out:
Faith without action is
 
Dead.
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AGJN1946
 
Gideon Tay Yee Chuen is a Singaporean poet.

Call for Poetry Submissions

Burholme Park Sled Hill 2

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We are pleased to announce we are bringing in the New Year with an open call for poetry submissions. We are currently caught up with future editions and are looking forward to receiving your best. We carefully read all submissions and strive to provide poets with a timely response. Please read and follow the guidelines when submitting. You can find our guidelines here: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/

Appearances by Michael Collins

appearances
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By Thaddeus Rutkowski
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The title of Michael Collins’ new poetry collection suggests more than one way of seeing things. “Appearances” could indicate things that come into view or into existence. It also could mean the superficial or surface look of things, the way things merely seem. Both of these ideas are at work in these poems of life among people and life lived next to nature.
Near the beginning of the book (published by Saddle Road Press in Hilo, Hawaii), I found this brief poem, titled “Creation”:

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The fleshy snowflakes
twisting blissfully down
through the faint breeze

seem to have been made
in the image of the paperweight
I would gaze at as a child,

a tiny half world upended
in beautiful flurry, set down at will
by a suddenly gigantic hand

to quiet and awe the eye.
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Each stanza, save for the last, is constructed almost like a haiku, and like the classical Japanese form the poem concerns nature, starting with a reference to snow. But the thought turns inward as it becomes a memory of a paperweight owned in childhood. Another shift occurs in the third stanza, with a reference to a “gigantic hand,” as if a supreme force could cause the fall of snow—and could “upend” the world. By juxtaposing the very large with the very small, the poem asks how big we are, or how important we are, in the whole of the world and beyond. We have only our perception, our “eye,” to answer that question, and at the end we arrive at a state of “quiet and awe.”
Nature is in the process of being tamed in “Portraits of Soul,” a poem placed later in the collection:
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The harbor’s a flurry of work:
juggernaut mowers crop the lawn,
bushes are trimmed, the sand is combed
and brushed away from the walkways,
a team sweeps and lines the clay courts,
boats bustle with gossip and cleaning—
Spring is here!
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This excerpt offers a fairly straightforward description of a beach being prepared for human activity as the weather gets warmer. There is a feeling of excitement and anticipation. The area will become a spot of play and recreation. However, the poem takes a detour toward the philosophical in the following stanza: “Forms must be in things / and beings ever shaping space, / and these eyes that we have seen through, / must return to their visions’ graves.” I read this as meaning that “forms,” or objects that we see, are always changing with the forces that shape the space we live in. And all must come to an end, if our eyes, or what we see with, return to the “graves” of their perceptions. The poem ends with a kind of Zen koan: “Make something of what can’t exist.” The paradox of being and nothingness, of existence and nonexistence, cannot be resolved through reason, though it can be accepted through enlightenment. In this way, the last line of the poem functions as a koan. (I use the words “Zen” and “koan,” but to my recollection organized religion isn’t mentioned in this book.)
            Many of the poems in “Appearances” contain a visual element. “Harbor Mandala,” for example, consists of blocks of type arranged in a circle, with a block of type in the center. This pattern allows you to read the poem in different directionstop to bottom, side to side, or around the border. The effect enhances the contemplative quality of the words. As the eye wanders around the poem, certain phrases pop out (I could say “appear”): “i apprehend the amorphous dream,” “your skin creating visions,” “invited you into my soul.” It’s up to the reader to put these thoughts into more coherent order, or not. That “not” might be Collins’ message.
            You can find the book here: http://saddleroadpress.com/ appearances.html
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Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of the prose books Guess and Check, Violent Outbursts, Haywire, Tetched and RoughhouseHaywire won the Members’ Choice Award, given by the Asian American Writers Workshop. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, Medgar Evers College and the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA in New York. He received a fiction writing fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.