Friday, May 28, 2010

Hot Bombs & Cool Guitars

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

We caught the killer
In the act
The evidence is clear
No happy ending to report
A long-drawn trial in the court
We must convict this wily sort
Because life is just so dear

We tried the case
Under our good laws
Which measure things by weight
A ton of facts to be broken down
Is this witness credible, or a serious clown?
Are the scales of justice caught on the gown?
All this to deliberate

But winning this case
Won’t bring back lives
To share our smiles and joking
Their bodies we still bury
Heavy memories we still carry
The outlook is frightful and scary
Big Tobacco just keeps on smoking


Thanks, Carl! Carl Schwartz says this poem was inspired by this week's earlier LittleNip, Richard Tuttle's "[I want to create] something that goes from the eye to the soul without passing through the brain", and that Carl "offers the attached poem, which observes a product that has been marketed with that same goal in mind".

This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Sat. (5/29), 7-9pm: Neo-Soul vocalist Kevin Sandbloom from L.A. and The Saint from Stockton (2010 King of the Mic & ILL List Spoken Word Champ) will be featured at The Show at New Dimension (formerly known as the Wo'se Community Center), 2863 35th St. (off 35th and Broadway, across from the parking lot). For vendor or event info, call T. Mo at (916) 208-POET or The Show is every last Saturday of the month. $5.

•••Sat. (5/29), 9pm-midnight: Poetry and live music with Sene Goss, Kevin Sandbloom, Lakeisha Mondy, Nate Hall. Presented by Malikspeaks and hosted by Tenisha Michelle. Sol Collective Art Space, 2574 21st St., Sacramento. $10. Info: 916-730-5405.

•••Mon. (5/31), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center presents S.A. Griffin in his Poetry Bomb tour. The Poetry Bomb is a former U.S. military practice bomb. The artifact will be completely converted into a beautiful object filled with poetry from around the world. When finished, it will have a primo paint job just as if it were a classic car, complete with pin-striping. It will also have a window or portal that will open and close making it possible to not only see inside of the piece, but to take poems out at performances to read out loud, and to add future submissions. Open mic—read one poem of social, political or cultural comment and have it included in “The Bomb”.

S. A. Griffin is a Los Angeles-based poet, DJ for and co-editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, awarded The Firecracker Award as best in alternative press, and named Best Performance Poet by Wanda Coleman for the LA Weekly in 1989. Griffin has traveled extensively throughout the Western United States and Canada with Los Angeles based poetry/performance ensemble, The Carma Bums. He has also written for the LA Weekly and is a contributing writer for The Underground Guide To Los Angeles, which remained on The Los Angeles Times bestseller's list for nine weeks. He served honorably as a clerk typist in the United States Air Force from 1972-1976, and was stationed at Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. He performed as the lead singer in local rock cover/folk bands while serving in Alaska. Griffin is also a Dramalogue Award recipient, having played roles in films by several notable film directors, including Oliver Stone's World Trade Center (2006), Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider (1985), and Ivan Reitman's Twins (1988). Notable television guest star credits include Perry Mason, Matlock, Alien Nation, Designing Women, Melrose Place, Las Vegas, Dexter, and Days of our Lives, and he appears as Dr. Osiris in the ride film, In Search of The Obelisk, directed by Douglas Trumbull at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Click on S.A. on Medusa's b-bd for his Wikipedia page.

If you miss The Bomb here in Sacramento, it will travel to Nevada City the next day, Tuesday, June 1, 7:30pm. It will be at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center, 17894 Tyler Foote Crossing Rd., Nevada City. Info: (530) 265-2826 or (530) 432-8196 or


A new voice heard from today: Kathryn Chun. Thanks to D.R. Wagner for encouraging her to post on Medusa. The first is a rondeau:

—Kathryn Chun

Years before your infancy,
Before your cell-like infantry
Formed a body in your mother,
You were spectral time inside her,
Waiting for destinies to see,
Spec, child, mother, all in agency,
Time declared its own cadency,
One in one in one another,
The future starts.
Seeds in seeds, like you in me,
Imbricate in brilliancy,
Beginnings begin to smother,
Pasts and presents on each other—
But in life’s sweet alliciency
The future starts.


—Kathryn Chun

It begins shifting in the muddy ground,
Which trees soak up in winter time.
Then works its way on unsuspecting bare legs,
For coldness is a natural crime.
It hits you in the gut and stings intestine
And shrivels every heaving muscle,
As flesh withers to its destiny
Of being soiled paper.
It sucks out breath from one's chest,
It sucks out work which toiling years
Have puffed and hardened with strange caress.
It holds one’s face in a clammy grip—in one’s wild fears.
But holds your hand like mother has,
Comforting in your infant years.


—Kathryn Chun

My friend whose face is dark from labor
His skin is a hide from wild deer
Cheeks etched with scars and scratches
Lips whose sticky intoxicant leads beer
To his belly, heaving with moistened air
From ages away to current age
Ages waver from youth to a meek
Eighty years—years playing tricks on his hands
To arms that sling a heavy day’s work
On a back that would be broken
His elbows curved, not yet right angles
But crack when joints have first awoken
He crookedly strums a cool guitar
His body around a musical body
Picasso like—is so like his singing that haunts my dreams
His knees cradle this wooden infant
As musical murmuring seems
To drift down his calves and up his wrists
His legs are planted in the ground
Only to shift slowly with the tempo
His ankles, feet, and toes are a mound
But divide into a hundred pieces
When he taps out time
His toes bob very little to this earthly sound
His body sways to my poem’s little rhyme
As he sits and plays a cool guitar around me


Today's LittleNip:

Hell is easy to enter and very hard to get out of.




Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz