Thursday, February 20, 2014

Embark We Must

Max West

—Max West, Sacramento

Sheelah, lead singer of the band,
                leans toward the other members at her table
                while watching the lone guitarist
                                               across the room
and murmurs, “at last
                         I think I understand:
       as part of a famous group
                          we expect others
                                to ingratiate themselves
       but he has long since given up
             on any acceptance but his own
             and so lives in
                         the most exclusive club of all,
                         with a membership of one,
       and an inner life behind those eyes
              that demands nothing of us…
                     unless we wish
                                to be let in.”
—Max West

Embark we must
To emblazon our sail colors
Onto the blue wind
To embrace our solitary silhouette presence
Dwarfed by an enormous yellow orb
To embolden each step in accordance with the tempo waves
As we begin an expedition of rescue
For the distressed damsel
In our own unacknowledged smile—
Her beauty terrifies as it beckons
But we are brave
From long years of addressing fear
Long days of working true lines
And a lifetime played
Out on relentless waves


—Max West

Now I know I’ve fucked up
Most likely worse than most
But too much effort spent
On old apologies
Is just more wasted time
As far as I’m concerned
And my present actions don’t have to explain
Or justify my past
Any more than one crooked step should mean
I have to jump off the ledge
Or spend my remaining life
Looking over the edge and


—Max West

Once the tracks of an act have been lain
The tendency of momentum
Draws the engine down
So far into the brain
Even the scar disappears
Until we attribute such detours
In our inner workings
To quirks
Of personality

To know the full course
Of our own goings
We have to see
What we’re doing
Before we’ve begun,
Which means always examining
A moment’s happening
With eyes headlighting the place
Space comes from


—Max West

I’m sorry, sometimes
I really wish
I could write best-selling
Works of science fiction,
Traditional novels
Or introductions to
The compilations of past masters

But it’s not an issue
Of “should”

I can only write
What I have to

Then, if
There’s anything left
I’ll consider one or two
Literary vacations
Externalizing the interior of things like
Imagination and dreams,
Putting together puzzles that please you
Or visiting close friends

Right now, I’ve still
Got some exorcising
To do


Today's LittleNip:

—Max West

A press of unseen caresses felt softer than lips.


—Medusa, with thanks to Max West for today's delights in the Kitchen! Max is one of the many poets and artists who will be represented in the new issue of Rattlesnake Press's
WTF to be premiered tonight at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8pm, hosted by frank andrick. Max West is a creative writer, musician, and graduate of UC Davis, who has published articles, a book entitled Fourteen Months and Two Weeks Downtown: A Fictional Documentary with Names Changed to Protect the Guilty, poems and several chapbooks of poetry, including Professions, Pocket Poems Vol. 1 & 2, and Semi-Serious Multi-Faceted Flowering Wheel Poem. He resides in Sacramento. More words from Max are available at

The lively photo below is by Los Angeles-area's Audrey Bitoni, and it graces the back of the new WTF cover—be sure to get yours tonight for free at Luna's. Thanks, Audrey!

Luna Park, Australia
—Photo by Audrey Bitoni