Friday, September 09, 2016

Poetry Never Surrenders

Chalk Pictures from Sacramento's 
Chalk It Up Festival, Sept. 5, 2016
—Photos by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA
—Poems by David Wright, Sacramento, CA


First thing, someone said "Run!", and so
We ran.  Fast.  And caves were like our
Tide-pool homes.  It rained on us like
We already perfected roofs and slickers.
It was this water from above that made us
First laugh.

I digress.  The year was
Nineteen Ninety Five.
When I worked my only suit & tie job.
Nine to five.
In the "Blue Cross Building", a
"Hallmark" in the lobby.
Victory cigar every Friday.
Corned Beef lunch with
Blasters and Paper hearts.
Black & White cookies.
A familiar ’50's dullness everywhere,
But nice.  I went to bed at ten.

The year was
Nineteen Eighty Five.
My co-worker, Sergeant HB, was
Speared to death.

Tiny vacuums at work
So you will never see the between the stanzas.


She got into my cab at the
Sacramento Greyhound Station; a hot number in
Very tight jeans, with long
Flaming red hair.
The cabby behind mine gave me a thumbs up.
I smiled at him.
She handed me a business card with an address
For me to take her to.
I wanted to take her somewhere else.
On the card, a caricature of a topless redhead, and the words:
"If your springs are getting rusty, see Rusty."
The card from a Nevada brothel, "The Mona Lisa Club."

She was headed for the Sacramento home of a John who had paid her for a week's "work"
At his place, a month before.
Something went wrong, and when she left him he
Kept all the clothes he bought her as part of the deal.
She wanted them back.
She tried to seduce me into helping with the task, but I
Turned her down flat, having learned to leave that kind of shit alone.
We got to the home and the guy wouldn't answer the door, or maybe He really wasn't home, but
She swore she saw a curtain move.
So she asked me to take her to a motel, and I drove to the
Motel 6, Madison Avenue.
We were close to it, but mainly I selected it for
Being close to my apartment across from ARC.
I carried her bags to her room and noted the number.

Off work a few hours later, I called her up and asked if she'd like to have dinner and see a movie.
There was a new movie out, Animal House, that my movie critic pals insisted was a must-see.
She turned me down and said she wasn't much into doing the same thing she did for a living.
But when I promised I'd be fine with just the movie, she did go with me.
We had popcorn and plenty of laughs. Toga!
When I took her back to her room, I walked her to the door but didn't try to go inside.
What a shock to me that a few hours later she called me just to talk and she told me
How fun the night was and how this was the first real "date" she had in years.

Never saw her after that.
But I did call the Mono Lisa and talk with her a few times until the
Madame told me to knock it off.
Think of the thousands of men who "scored" with her.
That it's this one who didn't who fondly remembers her.


Who could have known that in
growing old we can still run wild through the
city night?
It's the mind, baby!
Of course, unlike the wild ass kid I was, I
spend whole days now being
quiet, and am shocked that
just nice can finally be nice.
But in honor of that kid,
Hell no, I'm still not tamed!
I can see myself in thirty years,
bent over and drooling, but still
rocking in my mind to
Morrison singing "Wild Child".

Some nights I still tear it up, even if
you'd not know it looking at me.
Do you know that 80% of life on earth
lives under ground?
(And 80% of art with life lives underground.)

There's an army of disincliners!
Each loyal to solitude, we
keep our distance, even from each other.
We fight our fight,
the only good fight there is.
We share our disdain for ingratiation, and
when the crowd begins to like us,
we try to figure out what's gone wrong.
We dread cheap or canned applause.

Come, join us.
We have some mighty fun.
The blood we bleed can fuel a gypsy's fire.
You can swim in our tears and get, for the first time, really wet.

 Half Prince, Half Muhammad Ali


Poetry thinks Wright should
Keep his day job.
Poetry surmises that Wright's OK, but it's
Crowded around the water cooler.

Poetry likes the smell of sex better than Lysol.
Poetry likes musky forest floors better than
That new car smell.

Poetry is postmarked,
"The Future".
Poetry is postmarked by an
Obsolete scribe who looks
Exactly like Wright.

Poetry won't go near a tanning booth or
Dye a single strand of hair.
(Not on my watch.)

Poetry has gusto,
Stumbles out of the surf, body-surfing at eight.
Poetry tasted the burning sea water, as the
Sea tasted Wright.

When poetry forgets death
Poetry forgets life.
Poetry is the single green blade of grass
Rising through an endless patch of asphalt.

Poetry has got to be
Tom Smollen,
Taxi Dispatcher,
Absolute low-life,
Owes everyone in town.
He's strolling up 16th from his room at the
Cabana Motel, he
Flicks a cigarette into the street,
He's wearing a tattered silk shirt,
Looking like he owns the city, he's
Whistling "Like a Rolling Stone".

As a kid on rainy days,
When classmates were covered head to toe with yellow rain gear and rubber boots,
Poetry went to school in a t-shirt and sneakers.

When aliens contact our planet and ask for a description of women,
Science will answer, but
Poetry will intervene
Knowing the number of bones is pointless.
(When they demand an explanation for women, science closes the labs and poetry sues for peace.)

Poetry looked in at the end of eighth grade,
Principal and parents and a box of items confiscated off Wright:
Lighters, knives, cigarettes, football betting lists, etc.....

Poetry is intrepid yet feasible,
Building monuments mockingly.

Poetry's "Hell Week" sends that heart to school.
Poetry, like the Marines, never surrenders!

Today’s LittleNip:

Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words than burn.

—Thomas Gray


—Medusa, thanking David Wright and Michelle Kunert for today’s hot, rib-sticking breakfast in the Kitchen! For more info about Sacramento’s Chalk It Up Festival, see

 —Celebrate poetry! And scroll down to the blue column 
(under the green column at the right) for info about upcoming 
readings in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.