Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reading at Dante Hall

Tomorrow at 7 PM Jeff McDaniel and I will be the featured readers at the World Above Poetry Series at Dante Hall here in AC. You don't want to miss this reading, you really don't. It will be pure ungranulated awesomeness liquified in the form of words. Don't believe me? Check out this poem of Jeff's Keeper of the Light. Best of all, the reading is FREE!! The best possible price. There will be love and laughter and no small amount of looniness. But most of all there will be peripatetic poems (not that I know what peripatetic means). There might even be mini powdered donuts.
 And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits 20 Aug 13

Her lipstick suddenly
more orange

Piercing the dark room
Her trembling Oh

shimmering beneath
the boat

This past Thursday the Revel Casino closed their poker room. This made me sad, as I had played almost one thousand hours there since they opened. I really dug the casino even though I ran terrible there and lost over 10k while I played there. One of the things I loved was the food, they had a great poker room menu that was very cheaply priced but served Room Service food. And the Revel has awesome room service food. The Reuben sandwich was ridiculous!! I also loved a couple of the restaurants there, Amada was very good, but the Taco Truck and Luke's Marketplace were my favorites. I went to the Taco truck so often that I didn't have to order, they'd see me and just start ringing up my order. Luke's Marketplace was my absolute favorite though. I once ate there everyday for three weeks straight. The waffles are the best I've ever had, bar none. Pizza, sandwiches, salads it didnt matter. I was such a good customer they let me order off menu, in fact, I ordered a waffle with a scoop of Pistachio Gelato so often that they actually added it to the menu. It was expensive, but I didn't care because I was using Comps. Now, with no way to generate Comps I'll be a lot less likely to eat there. Gonna miss that place. Especially the Mexican Cokes. Check out a haiku I got published over at 

Below is a new version of an older poem I've been revising. I happened to bump into the woman I wrote it for, she was a poker dealer at Revel for a while. 


I've always loved to say 
A wizened woman 
Once said 
some words are swords, 
and Almighty in the mouth. 
Can be held on the tongue 
like a nib of licorice, 
or chewed like roots 
for medicinal value. 
Some taint the tongue, 
blade the blood pressure 
or unharry the hard muscles 
of the heart. 
Like 'acetaminophen,' 
some swords cause bleeding. 
Your name is a sword 
in a language I yearn to speak. 
Yearning is a kind of hope. 
Hope is habit forming 
and stains lips. 
A rare sweet root, 
The chemist says 
boiled into an extract, 
it alleviates even 
the barking cough of bitterness. 
Your name rhymes 
with acetaminophen,
cloaks the tongue 
in a crimson robe. 
Tonight, the moon is a monk, 
kneeling in the dark cave 
of the heart, 
chanting a numinous name 
until the sky bleeds light.

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon). 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Aug. 28th Reading in Atlantic City (Dante Hall)

On Wednesday August 28th at 7PM I'll be one of the featured poets, along with Jeffrey McDaniel. This is going to be the hottest reading of the year. Hands Down. Jeff is an amazing poet and a very entertaining reader. If you've never been to a poetry reading in your life, then make this your first. I guarantee you'll have a great time and be amazed at what can be done with words. Some of you may be familiar with this article that Jeff wrote about me for the Poetry Foundation. I first met Jeff twenty years ago in the Fall of 1993 at a bar in DC called "Fifteen Minutes". It was DC's first poetry slam venue and I had heard that one could win $50 for reading a poem. I didn't know quite what a "poetry slam" was, but I was pretty sure I could win it. As the previous week's winner, Jeff was the judge that night. At 15 Minutes they had the crowd cheer for each poet and the judge decided which poet they cheered loudest for. There were 8 of us competing and I rapidly advanced to the Final Round. My opponent was a tall leggy blonde whose day job involved dancing with less and less clothes on. The bar was packed that night and 85% of the patrons were white guys in their 20s and 30s. She went first, as soon as she said the word "suck" in her poem, I knew I wasn't going to win. Her poem wasn't bad, but mine didn't matter. I hit the mic and rolled out the big baritone, I might as well had been reciting in Cantonese. At the end it was closer than I thought, but she won. Jeff pulled me aside and immediately began apologizing, he told me he thought my poem and performance was much better, but the crowd was louder for her. I agreed and told him it was cool, but he kept insisting it wasn't right. To make things right, he invited me to come out to George Mason University, where he was a grad student and editor of the literary journal Phoebe, to do a reading. I told him he didn't have to do that, but he was adamant. I accepted and thus began an amazing twenty year journey of art and friendship. Jeff had a well earned reputation for being wild and crazy and talented. I came back to 15 Minutes and won a subsequent Slam, which allowed me to compete for a spot on the second ever DC Poetry Slam team that was going to compete at the National Slam in Asheville NC that year. Silvana Straw was the reigning DC poetry Slam Champion, with Jeff a close second. Another amazing poet I met there, Jane Alberdeston, was also a shoo-in for the team. That meant the rest of us were basically fighting for one spot. That spot was mine, nobody was going to keep me from it and on the night of the team competition I was neck and neck with Jeff for the second spot. Jeff wound up just edging me out for second place. Jane inexplicably decided to read a new piece for her final poem and ended up not making the team with Andy Fenwick grabbing the final spot. That summer we went to nationals and although we didn't win, we made the Finals and put DC on the national poetry slam radar. In one of our performances Jeff debuted his legendary poem "The Jerk" and ripped off his shirt mid-performance, given that he had the physique of a middle-aged man, it made quite the stir. There are a millions stories I could tell about traveling and reading with Jeff all over the country, but you'll have to come out to Dante Hall on the 28th of August at 7PM to hear them. Be there, trust me, whatever else you want to do, you don't want to miss this reading. Who knows, maybe Jeff will disrobe one time for old times sake . . . Here is Jeff reciting a love poem for the woman who is now his wife. And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)