Saturday, March 05, 2011

Dreaming of Black Ink

Carl Bernard Schwartz

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

The fair winds were there
along with really foul winds
that followed them everywhere

Rip-tides above water
sailing free and easy
‘round the captain’s daughter

Fingers firmly on the nose
laughing at the jib
as the stern just rose and rose

The sails so confused and impacted
sneezed apart leaving big gaps
like a legal document redacted

Where was this vessel going?
Fair winds and following seas
blessed the crew now just rowing.



said Charlie Sheen
to his crew now unemployed
as if creditors would take no action
and not even act annoyed

Be patient
I tell my lenders
since Arnold used his talents
to skim pay off state workers
until the budget was in balance

Be patient
say the financiers
at the top of their pyramid schemes
all is in place and under control
you will realize every one of your dreams.

—Carl Bernard Schwartz


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

(After "Departmental" by Robert Frost)

The styling of Robert Frost
the senses do not accost;
readers otherwise badgered and bossed
are fortunate his work was not lost.

Another example to bring if I can
is the lyrical verse of the Music Man
which has the energy of a big poetry slam
though the rhymes might line up like a traffic jam.

Just as a uniform is complete with a cap
and the finest maple syrup merely comes from some sap
the power of alliteration is just bait in the trap
till it all comes together as the foundations of rap.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Who shot dead the preacher’s boy
just walking outside the church?
His frail and delicate posture
overcome with such a lurch

At first he didn’t feel the bullet
enter him through the back
then a massive tidal wave of pain
made no mistake of an attack

The soil claimed his body quick
as if trampled by a bull
completely unable to move a limb
he had no push or pull

I had seen a man take out a gun
and aim it toward the boy
but he commanded me to look away
if another breath I would care to enjoy

I followed his direction well
so I didn’t actually see the gunfire
only the bloody remains lying on the ground
under a recruiting sign for the night choir

The police asked me a ton of questions
then let me go inside where I kneeled
No one saw and no one will tell
through lips forever sealed.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Born and raised
heckled and hazed
in just one of the many
suburb cities
in Los Angeles County

I soon could appreciate
how dollars depreciate
because everything equaled
pirate’s treasure
a material bounty

We would play a board game
for our pleasure and fame
or play billiards for honor
Rack ‘em, loser!
It was always a fun thing

Horseshoes, pinball
lots to do, all in all
when I finished my homework
happy play time
water pistols to gun sling

One thing was still missing,
not feasting or kissing,
or self discipline guidelines,
nope, not even
a Canadian Mountie

To this day I still rue
what I saw at the zoo,
‘twas the pioneer spirit
caged and shackled
in Los Angeles County.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

(After Paul Lojeski’s "The American Dream")

While the nation’s top experts
and everyone lower down
fumble awkwardly with
our prolonged history
of deficit spending,
small business
dream of


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Toppled down
I can’t get up
And while I’m stuck
A big ol’ truck
Has run over my cup

My limbs are weary
All other parts ache
My good teeth are few
So everything I chew
Is as tough as a snake

I don’t have a phone
With an answering machine
People look right at me
And believe they see
The epitome of mean

The street is just no place
For refined folks like I am
Somewhere, some time
I’ll earn a dime
And live like the King of Siam


Thanks, Carl, for today's pix and poems. Born and raised in Culver City, California, blocks from MGM Studios, superstars, limos, etc., Carl Bernard Schwartz appeared once on Bowling for Dollars (where he got a spare) but has no other nexus with Hollywood. After getting a degree in music from UCLA he sampled sales, banking, teaching, law office support, and now he’s a state worker. Married (27 years) to his sweet soul mate, and they have one grown son. In 2008 he read some left-leaning poems at Queen Sheba’s, and more recently he has attended the Hart Center Tuesday Night Workshop, been published in Medusa’s Kitchen, and will be in the next Ophidian.

Rattlesnake Press will be releasing a littlesnake broadside of Carl's poems, Maybe Tomorrow, this coming Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30pm at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, along with a chapbook from Martha Ann Blackman entitled The Caring Tree. Be there!


Today's LittleNip: 

The self-assured porcupine, endearingly grotesque, waddles up the road in broad daylight. He looks as if he had slept in his rumpled spiky clothes, and he probably has.

—Bertha Damon



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz