Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Preview of My New Poetry Chapbook, "Long Blue Boomerang"







The first posting about my new poetry chapbook “Long Blue Boomerang” is up on Heavy Hands Ink Press’s Web site and features me waxing stupid about what LBB is truly about. LBB will expose itself on May 7 and will be available for free (You can’t beat that price!) as a pdf download, or as a hard copy for the exceptional price of $10, both at lulu.com.
 
In the coming weeks there will be news, trivia, and carrot cake recipes, plus reviews of (I was 2 for 2 with the critics!) and poems from my previous poetry chapbook, “Poetry is Dead,” as well as a special offer for a free pdf of the now seemingly unattainable “Poetry is Dead.”
 
But today we’re all about “Long Blue Boomerang,” AKA “Poetry is Dead 2: Electric Boogaloo!” Check it all out at Heavy Hands Ink and The Unpublishables!
 
Boomshanka!
 
mlf
 
P.S. The Kid is looking for interns/groupies to spread the word and be down with LBB, as well as anyone who might want to, or knows someone who might want to, be sent a free pdf in order to review LBB on his, or her Web site. The reviews need not always be positive. The Kid enjoys being told he sucks.



For Reviews of my first chapbook, Poetry is Dead, go here and here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

THE UNPUBLISHABLES, PART V: KITTY POO BAGS JOHNSON

KITTY POO BAGS JOHNSON: The Story of a Man Named Johnson Who Carried Bags of Cat Poo Around








Kitty Poo Bags Johnson was an old widower in the neighborhood who lived with five cats. He got his name because, if you rang his doorbell, he would inevitably answer holding a plastic bag of cat feces in one hand, and a scooper in the other. The nickname wasn’t because we disliked him. We all loved KPB, as we often called him. Josh, Robbie and I would visit him all the time. He didn’t yell at the neighborhood kids like other old people would, and he was real sweet to those cats of his. They were all strays at one point, and KPB took them in.

There was a litter box for each cat. Each room was filled with big dust clouds, frequent stenches and litter we would often step on, both clay and crystal. Some of the cats also had vomiting problems because KPB kept their food and their litter in the same room. So, in addition to emptying litter boxes all day, KPB was cleaning up kitty puke a lot.

KPB’s wife had died a year or so before. She was really nice too. She would make candied apples and popcorn balls for Halloween, and Christmas cookies for the holidays. She would make us lemonade in the summertime and hot chocolate in the winter. She loved crossword puzzles and sudoku. KPB was really lonely after she passed. So we all started coming by more often.

My little sister Kate adored KPB, mostly because she was a collector and there was always stuff to collect around the KPB house, like stray cat poo or old chewed-up cat toys. KPB smoked these really big stogies. Whenever she would come with us to see him, she’d always go home with a handful of KPB’s used cigar butts she’d picked up off the ground.

KPB was the kind of old man that the paranoid parents would at first suspect was a pedophile, what with his being around children more than adults and always offering us candy. But he was a genuinely nice person who loved kids and animals, and neither in any sexual way whatsoever. He was the opposite of W.C. Fields in this aspect (meaning that Fields hated children and animals, not that he engaged in sexual relationships with them). And KPB was a huge Fields fan. He named all of his cats after characters Fields played in his movies:

There were little Cuthbert J. Twillie and Larson E. Whipsnade, both orange tabbies; Egbert Souse, (pronounced sue-ZAY, with an accent grave over the E, as Fields says in the film The Bank Dick), a black cat; and The Great Man, a Siamese. This last name was certainly an odd one for a cat, but no more so than the others. The fifth cat’s name, Mr. Dilweg, was from a Fields short, but this didn’t make him any less important, KPB always said. Mr. Dilweg was a grey and white fella.

The funny thing was KPB was even built a little like WC Fields. He was usually dressed in a white T-shirt and black work pants. He always dressed like the men you would see in old movies, or Elmer Fudd. In a cartoon life, KPB would probably be Elmer Fudd.

One day KPB invited the three of us in for smoothies. It was a warm summer day, and he had been on this kick about giving us a variety. Instead of lemonade, he’d make us lemon snow cones with his son’s old Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. He had had a smoothie at the dairy bar and found it very refreshing. He wanted to break out his blender and start chopping fruit and making his own. But he wasn’t quite there yet.

So, when he invited us in, KPB produced three bottles from his refrigerator. “This is a yogurt blend,” he said proudly. “Who wants what? I have Berry Crème, Mocha Latte, and Green Tea Smoothie.”

Josh took the Berry Crème. Robbie and I both wanted a Mocha Latte. Luckily KPB had extras in the fridge. As we drank them we each made gagging sounds in unison. These were not smoothies. They tasted like soap. I looked at my bottle and Village Creamery was the company who made the drink. But they weren’t drinks. They were actually exfoliating body washes.

KPB felts terrible and apologized to us over and over. We said it was no big deal, and it wasn’t. We each had a mouthful of soap and a pretty good shock, but no harm was done. This wasn’t how our parents saw it, at least mine and Robbie’s. They misunderstood and thought KPB was trying to discipline their children by washing our mouths out. How dare he, they said.

Both fathers went over to KPB’s place to give him what for. He tried to explain, but neither would hear it. Robbie and I were forbidden from going to see ole KPB anymore.

Josh’s parents, on the other hand, were quite easy going, some might say neglectful. His father, who longed for the days of spankings and cuttin’ a switch, just said, “Good for him.”

So Josh was still allowed to see KPB, and he did for the first week. But a ten-year-old kid would surely rather hang out with boys his own age than an old man.

Eventually the three of us stopped seeing him. We’d talk about him, and every once in a while Josh would stop by to get an update. Or we’d look over in his direction and see him sweeping the walkway or watering the flowers.

Then one day Josh came running to us, shouting that KPB was dead. His front door was slightly ajar and Josh knocked and knocked, then went right in. He found KPB on the kitchen floor. His cats had been eating his face off. We later discovered that Josh was lying about that last part, but this didn’t lessen the shock any.

But, yes, KPB was dead. Everyone in the neighborhood was heartbroken, but we knew he was reunited with his wife in a better place. And no one had to worry about the cats after an overzealous cop shot all five while KPB’s body was being carried away. They too were with KPB.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

THE UNPUBLISHABLES PART IV: EASTER/PATRIOTS DAY

Someday people will read this like mad and say, "Yeah, I've always read his blog."





John walked in wearing some hideous-looking thing on his head. He looked uncomfortable walking around with it. I had to laugh at the way he pretended it looked normal.

“Dude, what is that?”

“What?”

“On your head, what the hell is that?”

“It’s a bandana.”

“Yes, and it’s moving weird. Is that a water bandana?”

“Maybe.”

“Where did you get that?”

“None of your business.”

“You know, my uncle has one of those, only he fills his with goat blood.”

“Shut up.”

“Be careful not to head butt anyone wearing a crown of thorns.”

“Hey, guys,” Barry interrupted, ruining my fun. “What was the name of the cat who dated Cleo on Heathcliff?”

“What?” I replied.







“You had Heathcliff with Iggy Nutmeg and Spike. There were those three loser cats: Hector, Wordsworth and Mongo. Cleo was the hottie.”

“You liked her, did you?” I said.

“She was cute.”

“Hey,” I said. “My aunt has a poodle that puts out. You want me to…?”

“Shut up. This is important.”

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t realize.”

“Cleo’s boyfriend, the leader. What was his name?”









“All right, go away,” I said, trying to get rid of him. “By the way,” I continued, turning back to John, “why a Confederate flag bandana, Buford?”

“I like it. I feel like I’m from Hazard County.”

“We’ve discussed this. The General Lee may as well have had a giant swastika on the hood. You’re a lifelong northerner. Take that off.”

“My mom’s from the South.”

“Baltimore is, like, right on the Mason-Dixon Line. Do you like country music?”

“No, it sucks.”

“Do you watch auto racing?”

“No, it’s stupid.”

“That thing’s starting to leak, isn’t it?”

“A little bit, yes.”

The entire bandana popped, and John stood soaked in his own headwear.

“And the Yankees win!” I yelled.

“Very funny.”

“Where did you get that, seriously?”

“It was an Easter present.”

“An Easter present? Did you get an Easter basket too? With chocolate bunnies, and Eastroturf, and li’l marshmallow peeps?”

“As a matter of fact I did.”

“That’s cute,” I said. “My girlfriend got me a Patriot’s Day present.”

“Who the hell gets a Patriot’s Day present?”

“I got it for running in the Boston Marathon.”

“You didn’t run in the marathon.”

“Yes, Sir, from Hopkinton to Ashland.”

“That’s less than a mile.”

“I ran 1.2 miles. Bite me. And dry yourself off.”

“So what did she get you?”

“She got me this family of sock puppets called the Sockdolagers.”

“A family? Where are they?”

“In the basement. They built themselves a dojo, and they’ve been training 24-7.”

“What? Get out. Training for what?”

“Like, battles and shit. They’re like the Mighty Heroes.”

“You mean Strong Man, Rope Man, Tornado Man…”

“Diaper Man and Cuckoo Man, that’s right.”










“I used to love that. You can’t find it anymore.”

“No, it’s sad.”

“Do the socks have cool names?”

“I haven’t named them yet. I was thinking of naming them either after former ECW wrestlers circa 1996 or characters Groucho Marx played in films.”

“You’re a weirdo.”

“Okay, wet-Confederate-flag-bandana head. It’s just a matter of what sounds better: Stevie, Perry and Tommy or Captain Spaulding, Rufus T. Firefly and Dr. Hackenbush.”

BAM!!! Suddenly my sock puppets came from downstairs and started fighting us, and winning! John had a bum leg, and I had just eaten a heavy lunch, so we didn’t last very long. We were both beaten senseless, as the Sockdolagers flew out of the house and into the real world.

“I got it!” Barry said, entering finally. “Riff-Raff. Cleo’s boyfriend was Riff-Raff!”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Poems from "Poetry is Dead"

The poems "Egad" and "Bonecrusher and Dee," written in the mid-90s and first appearing in Poetry is Dead (Coatlism Press, 2009).



Egad


Egad, a sparkle on yonder hill,
the spark of the peppermint daffodil.
And the beachcombers ponder what yonder hill
does in the evening when the evening is still.
Still in the sparkle and markle of night
to pray on weary peasants' plight.
"Egad!" says the hillman.
"Godfrey!" says the beach.
"Shut up," says the hillsman.








Bonecrusher and Dee


Bonecrusher and Dee, I see,
frolicking, skipping through quicksand.
Can't say as I understand those crazy kids.
"Hey, Bonecrusher," says Dee.
"Are we sinking?"
Bonecrusher replies, "No, see,
the Earth, she is rising."
"Right," says Dee. "Wait, what?"
"Oh, I was wrong," Bonecrusher says.
"We're going to die."




Review of the April Issue of Electronic Magazine Lady

Every month I await the new issue of elimae so I can read how ridiculous the new shit is. Elimae is pronounced L-E-MAY, and it stands for something like Electronic Magazine Lady or Literary Electric Man or Arbitrary Horseshit.

So I started looking at the April 2011 issue, thinking I might parody some of this crap like I used to, but I don’t have it in me anymore. I couldn’t care less. Still, I wanted to see if the same old names appeared in the contents. Sure enough, many of the names I’m used to seeing are there. I think they might be staff writers or something.








But there are some new writers, like this one fella who wrote a poem called “Pimento 7,” in which every damn line is crossed out. Why the hell would you do that? If you don’t like what you wrote, why did you submit it? And why did they accept it? I can’t read it! It looks ridiculous.

There are also three poems by actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. They make absolutely no sense and are lousy with forward slashes. Why in God’s name would you pepper your crap poetry with forward slashes? Why not just cross everything out?

Now, mind you, I only ever read the short shit in elimae. There are always two or three really long pieces that I ignore because the extremely short ones are the gold. For example, Mickey Tettleton’s two poems about crystal meth addiction. At least I think that’s what they’re about. Damned if I could tell. And wait, sorry. These aren’t “poems,” they’re “fictions.” Elimae is big on the word “fictions.”

Mickey’s first poem goes something like: “I hitchhike in the dark and wear my wig and I miss my hair. I do what I do because I don’t do it Didn’t. Donn’t. I’m wearing a wifebeater.”

What?

In the next fiction (God, that sounds stupid), he’s eating glass cereal and defecating on someone. Good concept, but I don’t completely get it.

Then there’s Elimae Ellen, who is also in every issue of this thing. I don’t read her stuff most times because they’re often longer than I’m willing to give. I see there are plenty of references to famous broads in this one and I still won’t read it.

Then there’s some haiku, which is important. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Finally there’s Howie Good. No issue of any poetry journal is complete without a Howie Good poem for some Godforsaken reason. This poem is short (even though it’s labeled “Extended Version” LOL!). Anyway, read it. Figure it out for yourself.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nadsat Version

There was me, – that is Mike - and my mother, my son Alex. We had just had a real choodessny lunch at the Mayflower, the zammechat Chinese restaurant across the street from the Safeway where Gabriel Giffords was tolchocked, when me Mum says, “Oh, I need to itty over to the CVS to kupet some synthmesc.”

I said, “Some drencrom, ay? I could go for a sammy shlem of the ole vellocet.”

But I didn’t itty over with her. For whilst Mum was negotiating gollies with the rozzes at the ole pharm, I yeckdated Alex around the lot, trying to get him some spatchka. As we passed the Mayflower for the fourth or fifth raz, a bolshy, obese sod goolied by our car.
I skazatted to Alex, “Alex, viddy the bolshy brooko on that chelloveck.”
Alex, of course, smotted with as much radosty as he would a millicent or a sinny. And when the malchick’’s baboochka got in the car, Alex said, “G’amma! Did you viddy the bolshy veck?”



I hesitated to skazat this raskazz to Alex’s Em, as he had already went sodding in the middle of a store many razzes. But I did tell her, Amy, my zheena, and she was quite razdrez with your humble narrator.



That nochy we were having pishcha at the domy, and I did tell Amy and Amy’s Em more about our lunch.

I told her that the restaurant had Yo Gabba Gabba on the telly and that Jack Black was the special guest and that Alex was viddying and guffing and smecking real horrowshow.

Then Alex creeched, “bolshy sod!”

And Amy skazats, “Did you slooshy the slovos he just said?” All shilarnied like. Then, my droogies, she clopped me about the gulliver and pletchoes with her rookers, and I creeched and covered my yarbles.