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Topic: American Open Mike: New American Voices
The new items published under this topic are as follows.


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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Donna Pecore
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 04:22 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4891 Reads

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** Donna Pecore **


Come With Me

Bumper to bumper grey grease stained rode rides past exhaust framed skyline, heading north, heading to freedom as the traffic thins, as the suburbs blurb, as the line between now and then thins. The sky turning from charcoal tinted whites to light bright sky blue with wisps of white floating by as my destination nears, just past the state line.

Grey geese slice the sky in formation, a physical punctuation pointing in my intended direction. Past a low slung redwood house, attached garage, and prefabricated barn into the field I park in line and enter the dark woods following a line of candle lights, that light the path that leads to a hollow, where I hear hullo, welcome, and a ho, where you been, how are you, what took you so long, and so forth.

It is as if I fell back into the womb, the warm comfort of my friends, more than friends, but family, more than an extended family, but my spiritual family. We gossip, we share and compare, we comfort, we forgive, and we pray for ourselves and each other, and more than anything else we celebrate.

Surrounded by trees, and insects, an occasional bird break the line of leaves, there flies a red tailed hawk, that’s good luck, you forget civilization exists, after awhile the world’s circumference contains only this hollow, goodbye Columbus. You don’t know anything, but here in this circle you find everything.

Do not cross the line between the fire and the pit. Sacred circle I look inside, it’s dark in there, is any one home, is anyone in there? This is the place to find that out. This is the place to remember. This is the place through the smoke and the steam that you share, that you care, that you dare, to breathe, to be someone, to become, to belong, to be healed, to be free, to be one, to be. This is the place.


Alley of the Left

no bodies;
sleep be—
neath steel cage high rise,
but beat down,
claimed territory,
brick red alley.

snow swirling
blanket drapes
dumpster tents
some bodies bed.

no name
sits; yellow snow
melts, beneath heat
blown exhaustion.

some alley lined
bright canary doors,
vivid back drop
witness wretchedness.

in defiance yells
the man; denied
the spot besmirched
like pristine virgin.


City Secrets Part One

My city sits on Lake Michigan and I am part of it and it is part of me. I see its dirty underbelly, its secrets hidden from the uninitiated inhabitants and wide eyed visitors. The secrets in every neighborhood regardless of financial status, for example Arlington Heights, home of the Arlington Heights race track with the Millionaire club that host the ladies and gents with their finely appointed apparel and hats reminiscent of My Fair Lady. I remember when Matt, (his dad gave this fellow of Irish and Polish descent, the handle Napoleon, so he called himself Nap, but everyone thought he said Matt) called me for a ride, from a church located in this esteemed local, from which he needed to be relocated, he explained he’d lost track of the homeless shelter rotations, I said hmm… hey what, they have homeless out here, and he said yep they ride the train to keep warm and each night a different house of god, house the desolate and the destitute.


Donna Pecore says: "Recovering from the affliction of being part of the human race, I have struggled to accepts its deficits and make amends to the rest of creation, also doing a personal inventory by spewing verbal vomit, occasionally, making a valid social commentary or/and some plain old entertainment through text. I am sober, but no program. I am past the half century mark. I have 3 kids the youngest is 20. I have a semester and a half to get a bachelors and I am thinking of continuing, or else I will have to get a job to start paying them their loans. I take care of my mother; she is 83 going on 3. I write, Period."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Aaron James Ottinger
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 04:13 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
5273 Reads

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** Aaron James Ottinger **


Exit from a Cave

We crawled out from under a dark, concrete cave,
illuminated, the sun did glow, it glowed to a pale hue green,
and I thought then to myself, from what the sun is made?

But no time to ponder did our vessel permit,
gliding by, the sparrows high,
from my window seat I writ.

Could we ever know the passage through
which we passed?
Nameless chatter was all about as the train pursued to fast.

I saw a one, a woman there, sitting all her own.
I wondered then, had she pen, what her thoughts would’ve shown.

Could there be some connection, her and I betwixt?
Certainly was a silly notion, but on this thought I fixed.

Another boy down the row, I saw and could have sworn I’d seen,
his hair was a mess of curls,
like a pale German girl’s—
where was it that he’d been?

It may have been on the landing, on my way by train.
Oh, memory can only capture glimpses, riddled with eclipses,
and the rest tends to wane.

But in a moment such as first, a child’s born by way of hearse:
the stage incites fear to sight,
And on this thought I’mmerse.


Our Wonderful and Secret Press

By night
her hand lay upon
my face
like a
carving dug
deep inside a plate.

They’re not the same,
nor one,
but rather a perfect
fit—
like the lighted
dark from which
light was lit.

In moments, though,
they separate;
from surfaces of skin
will amass a map of fate.

But as a print
must repair
(from its origins
of intention),
this mold
will declare
the aesthetic
of invention.


Glass Door

There are no natural
visions,
only smoky filled
lenses—
where it rains inside
and the mind
pays no mind
to the
senses.


Aaron James Ottinger says: "Poetry has been something I've felt compelled to write since the age of thirteen. It was not until the summer of 2005 that I felt my pen and I were working together to make something worth re-reading. I primarily blame the sun, or rather, give it the credit. Since 2005,
I've attempted to become more active in pursuing a "poet's life." It's not quite being a pirate, but it's not far off. My endeavors thus far have included a self-produced chapbook of poems and essays (which started out as a Christmas present but is now available at the random places I put them). I've read at the Green Mill."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Elle Ochoa
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 04:06 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
5062 Reads

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** Elle Ochoa **


Internally

Internally I am safe
ruled by unspoken words that only I can hear
Is it self-deception? or a delusion?
The forgotten one
The secret pain of deception

The subconscious speaks
Do you await?
The reconnection? or the redirection of my arrival?
or is my unworthiness apparent?

Make no exceptions to the truth redirection leaves you..
Satisfied in all aspects

But by making exceptions to the truth reconnection leaves me
consumed by the truth, that there will never be us without her.

I examine the situation and make no explanation
Internally I am safe here in the rapture of
love for you & from you.



Elle

Another World
Something you will never see
Secrets whispered in my head
Even though I roam in the darkness
I can still see
I close my eyes tight praying to be found
Mourning for the girl who lives inside of me
Who's alive but alone
Cursed by the eyes of the unknown as well as the unwilling.


Elle Ochoa was born and raised in Chicago’s Little Village area; she now lives in Atlanta, GA. Ochoa says: "I’m a woman who’s trying to make it in this world by trying to find peace in my mind as well as my heart and I feel poetry helps me accomplish that. The reason why I want to be published to share the words of how I am as well as who I once was."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Merimée Moffitt
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 03:57 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4483 Reads

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** Merimée Moffitt **


la edad tercera

The vantage point is lofty, the river far and
winding green a long climb from the sixties

Serenity and suffering resolve
when the last third starts at sixty

you on the cliffs damned sexy in the
sailor’s turtleneck, velvet bells: knit sixty, purl sixty

oh you men of the ocean—think of the gifts given
do they add to a breezy sixty

Cold days, hot, cold decade
hot times six equals sixty

don’t beg run or ask
silly me, stuck again; sixty over sixty is one

Merimée, will you learn for a nanosecond
a strike of light the sixtieth of a sixtieth

The only time is now, arranged like
tulips swaying, multi-colored, sixty or so, at least


Velvet Couch in a Room with No Curtains
(a pantoum for Charlie, Gretchen, and me)

you sat all day with him then called to tell
he went to sofa, morphine sleep at last
he got so skinny, wide-eyed, wasting
we couldn’t tell when AIDS would turn to death

he went to sofa, morphine sleep at last
Manhattan sky over paper Narcissus
we couldn’t guess if AIDS would shout out “uncle”
small Village penthouse now an upturned palm

Manhattan lights through paper Narcissus
the Empire State Building in red on black
his Village penthouse now an upturned palm
did spirit fly or burst to pure bright white?

Empire State Building red against the night
you called at 3 our brother’s body gone
did spirit fly or burst to pure bright white?
quietly, you said. Rest, then he was gone.

you called at 3 our brother’s body’s gone
we watched him ‘til the day became the night
quietly, you said. He rested then was gone.
and you, Yanni, and Wayde were dark and still

with him, the blue-eyed blonde, so skinny
and you, Yanni, and Wayde hearts beating still
sitting all day with him you called to tell
we surrounded him ‘til day became the night


Upon the Occasion of Punky Color
for my daughter August 2000


raspberry-sorbet spotted towels and gloves
the deed is done
from roots to tips
shiny, fluffy, the sheen of rip-stop nylon
your hair is excellently not-so-normal now
not that brownish-blonde color of rich honey
glowing streaks god made
but zinnia wild, a chrysanthemum riot
a pink in-your-face
butterfly landing zone
flower power personified
and I, your mother
love your hair dyed
as I love your hair not dyed

mariposas seek solace and sustenance
on heads like yours

hummingbirds will want from you
the sugar that sends them zinging

you send me zinging
you do


Merimée Moffitt says: "Two of my favorite and most fabulously stunning poetry students, Zach Kluckman and Jessica Lopez (from Albuquerque) encouraged me to join the ChicagoPoetry.com mailing list months ago. Even though I get to teach poetry workshops at our community college, I am an underpublished poet. Those two have inspired me, however, and I’m even writing some slam poems and recently performed for the first time in years."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Margie Mack
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 03:44 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4629 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Marilyn F. Kraus
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 02:35 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4886 Reads

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** Marilyn F. Kraus **


Inevitability

Clouds seem in no hurry to move from here;
mountains cradle them and the wind is lazy.
The sun has better things to do and moves on.
Rain, however, likes this sort of place,
willing to let loose into this space
bringing down waters that bathe nothing

as you sit in a puddle -
which one doesn’t matter.
The water is warm, and feels good on your face.
Once your clothes are thoroughly soaked,
they seem more comfortable against your skin.

It’s the drying out that makes more trouble;
the wind chills you,
hurting your eyes.

It should just keep raining.



Francis

Edges of your sleep are hard.
Small drops of you disappear slowly,
escaping into the pillow.
I hear the loud blood-letting of your dreams.
Further down a child is crying.

Wipe the dampness from your forehead.
Drift into the street. Follow footsteps
just several ahead in this darkness
drawing darkness, drawing together those
who would walk with you briefly,
but leave in distraction.

They speak borrowed monologue
like bad lip sync - dysrhythmic,
sweet sounding noises that stroke your neck.
Gather these vaporous words and swallow them.

Others pause momentarily to take you in -
some strange painting,
requiring tilt of the head, half closed eye.

You live here now-
one who has glimpsed his own exit.
The evolution of this present streams from you,
strange scarf around the neck of a ghost-
uneventful coming into a spectator’s paradise,
gradual consumption by sins of omission.

Lay your hands upon street dogs;
heal their wounds. Your thorns persist.
Sit heavily on this street, full moon warming you,
tattered black coat and mismatched socks.
The sidewalks open and flow with neverwas.

Be mindless of the bleeding of broken dark words,
the dry heaving of this place. The dogs stay close,
your dyslexic thoughts clear to them.
The footsteps are in your head.


House

The view through our window this evening
is endless as your gaze -
past guardian trees, across the street
of occasional people
covered in a comfortable twilight shawl,
randomly moving through last fall
into next-time-perhaps.

Your eyes stop to rest on a house several down.
Brown stone, low shrubs, two stories,
dusted with snow in just such a way,
that house.
A large picture window
fills the front with light, voices,
people you don’t know but recognize -
recurrent dreams that slip away
each morning and wait.

It is this imagining that makes you cry.
You, who sits outside reading lips and eyes
until you fold into thin longing -
and the view through that window is endless.


Marilyn F. Kraus says: "I am an over achiever as an under published writer. I have been writing for years as a serious hobby, although I have rarely formally submitted in the past. But I have begun my collection of rejection slips, and although modest in size at this point, I have aspirations to one day wallpaper an entire room with them, like Ol’ F. Scott (he did a bathroom, right?). Well, you’ve got to have a dream…

I grew up in New Orleans, and have moved around a few times before settling in Chicago in 1999. I have always written, because I love to write - both prose and poetry. I feel best when I am writing, whether or not anyone reads it (although of course that’s always a plus). And my family tree qualifies me for this creative obsession- it is full of artists. And great stories of the South. So I write, while of course keeping a day job in medicine, in the neurosciences."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Zach Kluckman
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 02:28 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
6244 Reads

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** Zach Kluckman **


The Ribbon

Tousled tumbleweed hair sits
Redly, atop shoulders too heavy
For burdens to bear
Eyes whose age tell lies, simply
Too young to know such hardness, such rage,
But clenched fists cannot loose the truth
And the fire-scar of wisdom burns
In the sage flame stare, hidden behind
The pain, behind the shattered reflections
That break from his eyes
He stares with distrust at the silver shine
Gift beneath the tree
Wrapped in white ribbon

Child, you have run your fingers
In the flashing streams of time, whose
Soft whisper screamed urgency in your ears
But this simple package of honest intent
Flashing, refracting red red red
In the dark fear of the corner
On your face, on your pajamas
This small package wrapped in ribbon
Curling white, your hand will not dare

How brilliant the bruises are, that stain your eyes
Black summer cavernous and deep
The wounds that run quickly,
silver and mercury
Silence, refusing to speak
But how brightly shines the pearl ribbon
That your hard fingers fear
Curiosity, innocence, begging
To be free of hiding behind
The stern stone of your face

I see, I know the hatred
The sheer red coal-fire rage
I know the walls you have made
Cannot weather long the storm
No matter how strong
I too. I too child, fought
Where you fight, and like you
I refused the right to cry
But listen child. Please listen.
Put down their ghosts child
Such companions were never meant to be yours
Let them wash like blood from your hands
The past is a prism
A shattered color prison
That no man woman animal can destroy
You must face them
and smile courage
Merely bury the dead
And you will see them rise again
In the glow of the tree string lights
In the bathroom mirror
But it is almost a new year
And it is only a ribbon

Yes, yes! Come forward child
Walk from the shadows you carry
The light here under the tree is soft
The carols like cocoa warm
Give me your hand
No need to tremble my child
Will you open your present?
Look, the ribbon curls hide a card

“To every child who has wanted
To do more than look out the window
Who has felt abandoned, betrayed
Or unloved
To you child, too long ignored
I give this simple gift
You are free”



Feng Shui with Sais

I

Marble green veined columns stand
Tower over the garden
Jade doorstop dragons bow
To the flat palm peace of ivory Buddha
Fast flashing fascination
Koi in the pond drunk with oxygen
Breathe in the flower petal pollen
Perfume scented and dancing
Like teasing lovers before the amorous chase
Of jacketed bees

Emerald green skin lily on pond
Stroking softly jasmine winds
Bansai grow yen over yang
Beneath the red sun tai roof
And the wooden carved phoenix rises
Greeting the sun with her wings
Just beyond the wooden bridge lattice
That stretches from garden to dojo
Where the Bo staff and Sais
Sit cross-legged and waiting

II

The hand and the elbow
Mantis fist, iron palm flow
Cheng style Tai Chi Quan
The two become one

Attack and defense
Slow kata, hammer kick, palm
The soft and the hard
Movement a song

Releasing your thoughts to gather your Qi
Americans say chi
Spin kick, drop, metal
now in your hands

Listen, how slow the leaves fall

The body is a poem, movement
You must know the rhythm
The beat of your breath
Butterfly twirl, sword breaker Sais

The cherry blossom sings

Silver sparks when struck harshly
But the fluid sword whispers
For the hand that holds it to hear
Your hair, and your hand, and the wind

Feng shui whispers the secrets
Long held in bushido
There is honor in movement
That the mind does not delay

III

The polished wooden floor
Like finger to lips is silent
Smiling at the scuffing whisper
Of leather tread footstep
Red lantern glow through the smoke
Of sandalwood incense
And sweat
The sharpened steel ringing
From each side as it plunges
Into spare wooden scabbards
Kneeling with the master
Beneath each palm on the floor
Where a forehead lies resting
Tired, closed eyes still seeking


Poet-Warrior

Disparate Unity
What comes together
Sometimes cannot hold
Without weather

I AM FURY
and I am not a little green eyed monster
Like rabbit fur slippers grinning and funny
The raging razor ribbon of blood
Lining white teeth under a broken nose smile
The fist of anger raised to the sky
The broken bone under your left eye
I AM FURY
And you do not
Want to know me

I seek solace
Like a soft lip in the lazy blue winding of thread
Spilling fate blind from a basket in unsheared play
Rolling through wet fingers across an oaken red floor
A certain insecurity in the rise of light
Like a dappled horse through the willow’s thin hair
Sheltering these ideals in the shallow breath of joy
Laughing at the bruises and scars I no longer carry
Spilling them in blue, in black on torn pages
I seek solace
And I have known it

You have created me
The knuckle tendon jumping in your hands
Is the black stallion beast of burden carrying me forward
You who have pushed, pulled, taunted me
The bestial you who have abused, lied and tried me
In your court of selfish misery
I have sworn vengeance on your outlaw will
Promised to fight for my family, my life, basic survival
I have been like the burnt sea thrown in the forging winds
You have created me
I have promised to stand against your kind
And I will

Words run like kisses
Following the length of my spine, seeking safety
In the sublime supplication of night before dawn
Cranberry wax flows under my fingers, slowing my words
Smoking yet, setting the fires of my dualistic mind
Against the minute, scalpel thin wood of the page
I have spoken out against my battles with hammer fists
My foe is this journal, my passion my friend
Words run like kisses
And sometimes you do not
Want to know them

Disparate unity
Sometimes I come together
Warrior dueling poet
My fist and my pen
Raging like summer weather


Zach Kluckman says: " I have been a writer for 18 years, and currently reside in the stark beauty of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I have co-founded a poetry workshop for local artists. I am also honing my Slamming skills against the current national champs while I earn my Bachelor’s degree in Education, so I can share my love of words with others."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Les Keress
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 01:26 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4596 Reads

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** Les Keress **


I DREAM OF YOU, EVELYN

I dream of you, Evelyn.
We stuck once
to the bathroom floor
from hair spray.
Evelyn, my Mother liked you.
She never stuck to the floor.
Maybe, that would’ve saved her marriage?

I dream of you, Evelyn.
Your husband beats, uses
that pretty head of yours like a
wrecking ball,
and that hole in the wall . . .
is that your signature
as you bleed stucco?

Evelyn, your baby never got past the womb.
Life’s nothing more than a rented room,
and when you pay . . .
THE END is your receipt.

I dream of you, Evelyn.
As your TV Guide horoscope said,
“Avoid Viagra men that fly the American flag,
cause opposites attract the destitute desperate
desperadoes that’ll lasso ya,
and brand ya theirs!”

I dream of you, Evelyn . . .
then that enormous stretching of
muscles interrupts when I
dream . . .
the past, my medicine.

I dream of you, Evelyn.
We stuck once
to the bathroom floor
from hair spray.
Evelyn, my Mother liked you.
I dream . . .
your blood, my receipt.


PERFECT WORLD

Had a dream where this world’s perfect.
Perfect as a July summer night.
O, yes all the single men are gay,
and the bars are filled with women
from all around the world waiting just
for me.

Miniskirts, bikinis and Woodstock happens
every summer cause it’s always 1969;
and every poetry recital I go to I’m the feature poet,
get paid for metaphors.
All the poets have me stay at their houses,
apartments, mansions.
They lend me their cars and ask,
“Do you need any money?”
Poets are so nice in this magical fantasy;
a dream I never want to leave.

Had a dream . . . the beach I’m at
is a lukewarm pizza.
Instead of sand and scaly fish
it’s mushrooms, onions, green peppers
and black olives gettin’ caught between my toes,
and the Atlantic Ocean is my favorite beer
to swim in.

Dolphins are drunk day and night,
and the sharks are confused.
They wonder in bubbly yellow water
what fish to eat.
I swim at ease knowing it’s only a dream,
I never want to leave.

Had a dream where the trees in my backyard
were all green with money,
and nobody cares to peek
since I drive a beat up jalopy with holes and rust,
dress like a hobo,
but then people wonder
how can I buy for someone so poor . . .
I mean poor, poorer than poor,
a Cadillac?

Easy, my friend it’s a dream
I dream every night as I sing, “Hello, I love you!”
Jim peeks from the coffin
with a smile.

Had a dream where it was against the law
to get up before noon.
The pretty police woman in her halter top
and miniskirt writes a ticket
for drinking coffee too early.
Pull the shades down,
with singing birds
Jim peeks from the coffin,
again with a smile.

Had a dream where this world’s perfect.
Perfect as a July summer night.
O, yes all the bookstores have me
as their bestseller of all time.
I’m the poet of the century.
There’s nothing you can do about it.
Just accept it!
Of course you will,
it’s my dream.

A perfect world every night.


Les Keress says: " Was born in a hospital. Don’t remember. Maybe because the food was bad?
Anyway, it lead me to my first poetic experience as a baby. Yeah, I remember. Cried my first poem, and wrote it years later as tears leaped from the box, drawn from that energy, gives me at 50 the taking, is the balance. Still leaping from the Arlington Poetry Project, we poets keep on keepin’. Oh, boy! Yup, in a suburb of Chicago I give back my precious wealth of metaphors, similes. Amazing! And working at two jobs: one a defense plant, and the other a junior college library. Amazing! That poetry, like mine with all the distractions can live like this, online."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Geoffrey W. Hyatt
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 01:13 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4353 Reads

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** Geoffrey W. Hyatt **


Rootbound

the tree sways beneath the shambling
clinging weight of ragged
birds and beasts. tiny feet traverse
the branches’ hard naked skin as
my bones settle on a bench beneath.

cast off newspapers coagulate;
scabbing over drainage grates.
this is the familiar yellow pallor
of jaundice, of jail-cell paint.
grinding my eyes, I wait my turn.

an aging cowboy lights a cigarette
outside the clinic I can’t tell
where smoke ends and breath begins
I ask how’s life treating you, man?

Life shits in my mouth and now I got nothing
to kill the taste, kid—hell,
I’m shaking like a leaf on a tree.


me, my hands tremble, they always have
a silent hum that can’t be stilled
when there’s nothing in their grasp

it’s been a cold autumn
the tree is shorn by frost
it creaks and quivers
roots deep in the frozen earth
we search for nourishment
I bury my hand in my pocket
fingers curl around a bottle

this is not my label of choice
milligrams measuring stillness
how a twisted corporate sigil
deadens these living vibrations
black octopus etched on pink pill
peals free its inky arms and embraces

I could sleep away the sunless seasons,
If I only had the certainty of spring.
time is poison, wearing thin my veins,
coupled with hope, a crass commodity, always
rewiring minds in ways that should somehow
make the simple joy of not being dead enough
to calm a lean dark skeleton
clawing at the sky


Geoff Hyatt says: "Though I am currently working on an MFA in Fiction Writing at Columbia College here in Chicago, verse remains a vital element of my artistic expression. I strive to create poetry with diverse voices, economical language, and thoughtful form."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Sandra Goldsmith
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 12:30 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4710 Reads

.

** Sandra Goldsmith **


Beyond Tradition

I

He was the man
who came home from the plant
cursing grime but soon gave up

trying to clean it off;
the man without recognition
who scratched an "L" for "Luke"

on the steel he forged;
the man who sweated tasks by day
but read books into calmness at night;

the drinking man
who picked fights in taverns
but wanted his son

to write poetry in a coffee house.
His son was the student who rafted
through swirls of ambivalence

over beer blasts and study dates,
four letter words
and frontier vocabulary;

who smirked at homework assignments,
etching scribble and kitchen-table crumbs
into college-ruled notebook paper;

who began to smile, though, at new ideas
gleaned from readings and workshops,
trading supper slang and video game banter

for ponderings;
whose blocks of resistance dissolved
into smooth meanderings

toward a river of consistency,
on the banks of which
his little boy can play.

II

She was the woman behind a lunch counter,
whose hands never idled
in pouring coffee and serving burgers and BLTs,

a robot waitress in pink, timing her moves;
a woman who rode the bus home at night
with a bag of caramel corn from Woolworth's

and a burlap sack to accent her pallor,
going home to laundry, breakfast dishes in the sink,
a supper of Spaghetti O's and Wonder Bread;

going home to vie with television
for a smile, a hug,
a finished homework assignment.

Her daughter was the student
whose repertoire of reading matter
included city street signs, cigarette labels,

safety instructions at her part-time job,
high school detention slips;
a student who came to freshman classes

with eyes lashing out
but turning back upon themselves –
a boomerang of fear –

whose autumn predicted a chilling season
of surveys, questions, uncertain answers,
but whose spring blossomed into new ideas,

one insight nurturing the next;
whose baby girl waits to take her first steps
down a tree-lined path.


Resort Summer – 1969

In the confines of a trailer
doubling as a blouse boutique
she meets a freedom-monger
hawking tie-dyed cotton tee's.
"Where I come from," she says,
"this stuff will never catch on."
She tries one anyway, casting off
a solid beige over-blouse.
She likes her reflection,
smoothing down the tight purples
swirling across her torso.
Her elbow touches his
as she unbinds herself.
He leans toward the rack.
"Here's more," he says.
She smells liberation
in his untamed mane.
He offers her a drink.
She tastes wild oats
in the beer they drink together.
Later, they dive deep into cold water
that buoys her into summer.
They hold tight to the moment,
proud skin
glistening in afternoon air.
That night,
they step upon the moon –
the Hippie
and the married woman
from Brooklyn.
He wants her
to stay up there with him,
but she says,
"Where I come from,
this stuff will never catch on."


Homogeneity Gone Awry

I've been expecting you, weasel that you are,
slouching in a corner, out of sight but never
out of my mind; and now you've come to prey on me,
your head one enormous mutation after another
come to mock and savage all of us
whose frayed lifeline
tethered in a village outside Warsaw –
where my kin clustered for countless generations,
cousins marrying cousins,
their naive genes twisted by unnatural confinement,
determined to multiply and break out.

I do not know this village, yet I inhabit it every day,
just as it inhabits me,
just as I feel the crunch of its gravel path
under my Easy Spirit shoes.
That path splits two rows of centuries-old houses,
tiny ones whose doorposts still hold notches
for mezuzahs wrenched off in '42,
the year of my birth in America
when the desire for longevity was not yet hopeless
and hereditary cancer not yet
a foregone conclusion.

What did they know in the old days?

Today I sit entranced by a counselor
whose phenotype hits my jealous eye
as the genotypic idea.
I gape at her finely sculpted cheek and brow,
envy how her mouth moves
as she utters words from a well-ordered brain
and articulates for me the concepts
behind genetic testing.
Her essence seems perfect,
a contrast to my own frayed being,
which holds more than its share
of errant cells.

But what do we know?
Appearances don't account for much –
never have.

Weasel, take your bite,
be gone, and be damned.


Sandra Goldsmith has a Master's Degree in English Literature and is a former editor of Oyez Review. Her poems have been published in literary journals throughout the country as well as locally. She has recently done readings at The Cafe, DvA Gallery and Printers Row Book Fair. Goldsmith is currently working on a chapbook. She is a long-standing member of Poets' Club of Chicago.


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: jason e
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 10:17 AM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4635 Reads

.

** jason e **


Can You Dig It, Girl?

I washed you out
with a few cold beers,
your pretty face amongst old parts
behind the garage.
You had me under your sheets
before I realized my mistake—
Hooks, lures;
gasping hearts flopping
all over the place.

They say behind every man
is a good woman.
My my,
how things have changed.


The Hawk

The sun begins to warm the day. Soft light filters through the fields. The flora awakens to reclaim its place among the ecosystem of our world. A lone red-tailed hawk sits peacefully on the Braeburn Marsh Bird Sanctuary sign, facing the incoming men with their hard-hats and construction maps. Keys to giant yellow machines hang from thick belts around their waists. Steam from a coffee mug rises into the brisk morning air as they huddle together for the day’s instruction. The proud raptor sits quietly upon his perch, anticipating a good day for hunting. Much time will be spent soaring across the wide open sky, far above the mayhem that’s seeping across the earth. And he knows his life here is near its end. Soon he will have to go away. No one will say goodbye and no one will wish him well. Still, he will go away quietly, and he will go without bitterness.


In Spite of Candlelight

She senses
Something past me
A bit like hope
Cast off my shoulder
To the wall

X, I want to.
O, she can.

I see
Something airborne
A bit like revelation
The tarnished halo
Of her visit

X, tonight!
But O, she cannot.

She feels
Something for herself
A bit like regret
Slipping off the heavy end of a sigh
When she goes


jason e, 33, lives in Geneva, Illinois. Currently unsatisfied with his own work, as well as that of many contemporaries, he is seeking a romantic madness that will awaken his true poetic soul. “It isn’t so much the poems of poets that I’ve been influenced by,” jason says, “but the broken aspects of their lives. Some of my favorite poems, songs, and paintings were created by artists so in tune with the world that the world was hurting them.” He does believe that the struggle to get published is a necessary evil which forces poets to work their hardest, thus fueling their determination. Look for jason at various open mikes throughout the western suburbs with his poetry group The Interzone Poets.


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Esteban Colon
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 10:03 AM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4657 Reads

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** Esteban Colon **


It Hurt More Knowing

Drowning eyes gasped as
warp speed shot my head back
strangling vocal chords, as
Lake Michigan broke dams, exploding through my eyes
coating cheeks while limbs seized, as I
collapsed
in the corner of the theatre, trying to
become as small as humanly possible
where I started calling God
oh God
oh-god-oh-god-oh-god-oh-god-oh-god
bottom jaw shivering under tears
for her, for
sweet lady Shiva
whose hand must still scream red with the stain from
the impact crater embedded in my ribs, still
feasting on my ribs, and
rocking in my niche, thoughts crawled back, of
hours burned
crying till
salt scraped my pupils and
my raw throat kept asking “why?”
mind remembering mood swings like the
impossible roller coasters that only live in the minds of children,

and

in four words, an
unsuspecting friend kicked Atlas in the shin,
sent hum
plummeting to the ground, still holding a now
sideways world
where her words sunk into thick skin
“It
hurt
more
knowing”
flashed brain box theatre screens to the
rattle of her body as her tears
carved us apart, my
Girl Friday chewing the heart off my sleeve, and
lost
in the hole of space that devoured sun, I
watch my breath tremble,
still trying
to save her
from her suffering


Reflecting Divinity

Alix Olson said
"God would be a dike
if she could find someone to hold her,"
but like
any of the seeds blown off their maker
dandelion in the wind, she
craves touch, lies
lonely at night wondering if
all the decisions that lead her here were worth it,
and I'm sure God would
curl fingertips into blankets, arching her back, were
she to meet the right woman,
just like
I'm sure she still dreams of
flesh on flesh, night
ripped in half by orgasmic screams,
and
as much as she wants to
I'm sure she sits like me
staring at the empty pillow, knowing
that no matter how much she aches for Satan
it would never work out, that
despite a shattered heart
precariously placed back together
she still smiles every sun rise
open
to whatever's next to come


Fucking Nebraska

He smiles as he approaches, the
recycled corn staining his grin,
eye color changed to brown in reverence of his last meal,
"surr" he says,
bending into my open window, as if to
hide the erection
bulging under his badge,
"d' you know how fast you wuz goin?"
he continued,
eyes ridin' the contours of
my wild afro, and
before my lips could part, he continued
"cuz we got a traffic plane clocked'chu at ninety"
(smiling like his oldest boy found a wife outside his gene pool)
"an' I gotsta han' you a citation"
he said,
pulling out his pad like
he was alone in the station's shower,
handing me the
white reward of his labor
listening
as his chirping radio places
traffic cops every thirty feet,
following foreigners, every
non-Nebraska plate on the road riding the shoulder,
and
as police lights follow me two hundred miles,
of grass,
and hill,
and random citations,
(I think I still have the one
for my air freshener in the glove box)
I pull over
middle fingers pointing at their traffic plane,
thanking Nebraska
for breaking my be-hymen


Esteban Colon says: "I'm a young Puerto Rican college student from Chicago Heights. I'm in school persuing an English/Secondary Ed degree, but my heart has always been in creative writing. I love language and hope to use it as well as those who inspire me."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Mary Blinn
Posted by : cj on Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - 09:48 AM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4814 Reads

.

** Mary Blinn **


JAZZ CRAZY

she’s jazz
c r a z y
quivers to the bone, low moan rises from the
baritone sax like blue smoke in the spotlight
like warm breath on the back of her neck
turns the juice up to full boil
keeps her pulse pounding hard
keeps her heart pumping beat
keeps the night shivers out of her veins;
she’s jazz
c r a z y
brassy as a crash cymbal glance off the rim
and a slap on the back-talkin bass
burns like a double shot of smooth on the side
lets it slip off her shoulders
lets it glide off her hips
lets it slide
all the way down to the dirty wood floor
she’s jazz
c r a z y
tail twitches rhythm like a cat on the prowl
round the dim-lit corners of cool
scent of the city cinders smoldering cold
like the burned-out moon high skyin’
like the last notes
of the last song
in the last set
of the wide open 4 a.m. finale yowl of
the last call of the wild.


Wake Falling

some days it's enough to
wake falling, bounce like
an acrobat into the net
fling hallelujahs at the
beautiful big insane, discover
that the humor of the dead
is lost upon the living;
enough to stumble through
the slurred syntax of a late night
repartee and the columns of
Stonehenge, unearth the partial
remains of a buried idea;
enough to throw the drapes
wide open, allow the wisdom of
sunlight to spill upon the nonsense of
words placed precisely on a page;
some days it's enough just to
wake falling, not have to decide
whether to live in a dream
or live without one.


Mary Blinn is a Chicago area poet and interdisciplinary artist. She frequents open mic poetry readings, and is a regular contributing poet in the literary journal After Hours. Mary’s video poetry appeared in the Visible Verse festival in Vancouver, Canada and her poetry installations have been exhibited at Gallery 312, Schopf Gallery, Improv Kitchen and the Oak Park Art League. Most recently, her poems appear in the anthology Vacations (Tall Grass Writers Guild, Outrider Press), and The Best of Chicago Poetry, and American Open Mike, Vol. 2 (ChicagoPoetry.com). “I sing, paint and videotape my poems, but it’s always about the poem. I’d like to have my poems in a publication where the work of poets from smaller groups is bound together in a volume that represents the breadth of what’s going on at the open mikes.”


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Ronit Bezalel
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 04:46 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
5040 Reads

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** Ronit Bezalel **


Blue Lips

dull thump
and i miss her more than a bleeding headache
not that i miss the headache
just that i miss her

and she was alive with the bleeding headache
the drip drip still symbolizing life
as frail as it was

now, there's just a dull thump in my body
a rap knocking dullness
the continual realization
that she is not here
how can i go a lifetime without seeing her

it was easier, in some ways, then, when she
first died, my memories clouded by chaos
sheltering the sting

six months later, it's winter,
i have become obsessed with the steady rain,
freezing my cheeks, numbing my mouth, rolling in
rivulets off my face, blue lips
the loneliness seeping into my skin
sharp fists of sleet, melting on the shadowless pavement
the emptiness within

walking home in the gloomy light, steeping like a black tea bag,
dulling the city, then darkness at 4

and now my chest hurts
my bones ache

i want a soft bed, warm pillow
someone to do my laundry as i grieve,
emotions rinsed clean, refreshed
the sun soaking my skin dry


The Last Dance

Monday Morning, 4:00am.

My finger smells of sulphur
the blister glistening rising hurting
and i thought i was past this,
the limp matches
extinguished at the bottom of the cup
twisted and tormented

sparks and fire
and i'm not sure i want to go there
cause she drinks too much
and i drank too much,
i will, sometimes, for a girl
that i don't even know or like

and do i really need this liquid courage?
the flames searing my fingertips

i looked in this new girls eyes, seeing only my sadness
reflected back and how do you explain a lifetime of
fear to a stranger wanting to jump your bones

my scars have long faded
and hers are fresh and raw and proud
and ordinarily i would have wanted to explore them
and her rough hands that once mirrored my pain

but i was tired and it was late,
and i left, stumbled into darkness
trying to steer my bike home
my head fuzzy from drink


Ronit Bezalel says: "As a documentary filmmaker, I grew up writing poetry and prose – but never seriously. Two years ago, I took the plunge and enrolled in a beginner’s creative writing class at Story Studio Chicago. Through this, I re-discovered my voracious love for writing – any kind – from poetry to fiction to journalism.

In my writing, I love to play with rhythm and sentence structure. The rhythm of a piece is just as important to me as the actual content. Perhaps this is why I’m drawn to poetry. My favorite authors include Canadian poet Betsy Warland and author E. Annie Proulx. I like the both writers’ unorthodox use of rhythm and structure.

I would like to be published for the simple reason that I want others to read my work. When I’m making a film, it is never truly finished until the audience watches the piece. The same with writing – I believe that a writer needs an audience to complete the creative cycle."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Cindy Bendel
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 04:20 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4759 Reads

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** Cindy Bendel **


Singing in the Rain, Since You've Been Gone, Somewhere Over the Rainbow...and other tunes

It happened again this morning
The sunshine pierced through the window
Waking me to a new day and before I could think of breakfast
You went dancing shoeless like Fred Astaire
Across the newly polished dance floor of my mind
All I could do was pick up a damn tap shoe
Heaved it full force toward you
Smug now, I felt a little better and put on my own
Dancing shoes, the ones with the spiked heels
My power shoes, Ginger lent them to me

Just when I thought I had put it all to rest
It happened again

I was at the mall shopping
My favorite form of therapy
I entered the Hallmark store looking for
A sympathy card
And as I passed them, I thought I heard a snicker
Murmurings, whispering, even a slight bit of pity
On the face of a few
It became even more awkward
When I passed the 'For the One I Love' section
I nearly broke into tears when I saw that one
Boldly printed against a background of hearts and flowers
You Shall Always Be Mine
A sick feeling overwhelmed me
I ran from them all, out of the store teary-eyed
Thinking of all the ones you had given me
Sent through emails, the ones with music
Your favorite songs still play endlessly
The repeat button of my mind insisting they be played
Again and again
And again

Ok I admit it, I was a little undone
Here I was convinced I had moved on
Shoe shopping would have suited me better
Maybe I should of tried on a pair of ruby slippers
Clicked my heels, repeat ‘there's no place like home’

Anyway......
I ran out to my car, opened the door, got in
Turned the key and put my head on the steering wheel
Just my luck!
So what do you think happens now?
The radio (only on xm)
It was playing that Josh Groban song
You Raise Me Up ?
But all it did was bring me down

Those power shoes, they aren’t working now
It keeps happening more then you know
I sigh, wondering when you will cease to occupy
So much space and
Quit following me around shoeless


Opted Out

you

floated stealth like

into my world

landing gently

upon this broken soil

quickly you came to be

the one bosom of repose

I should know as safe

then abruptly you vanished

like radar on the screen

leaving only the blip

of after thought

for me

to sit

in this questioned state

and bleed within


Cindy Bendel says: "Chicagopoetry.com has greatly boosted my personal confidence in an amazing way! I hope to submit the body of my work to a publisher in the near future."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Jessica Barberia
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 04:08 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4882 Reads

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** Jessica Barberia **


The Little Part of Your Big Mistake

Its over now, but it will never be forgotten.
You try each day but the thought of that little part
Still being with you repeats its self over and over.
You may not show it, but you know the feeling.
Sometimes you wonder if it shows on your face,
When you see people who know the case.
Have they ever forgotten your mistake?

What about him? Does one more night with him
Bring back those memories?
You begin to think did he ever really care…
That little part of your huge existence has been removed.

But, when you look at the big picture,
He probably remembers that little part just as much as you.
Maybe that’s why he desires to hold you so close.

That little part could never be forgotten
No matter where we end up.
That little part was the biggest mistake of your little life.


The Wrong One

He calls all the time,
You talk for hours,
You enjoy every minute of it.
There has been no sex.

You can’t see not talking to him.
He knows what you like,
He understands your crazy ways.
Yet there has been no sex.

He asks you out and you claim you're busy.
You leave him guessing cause,
You know it’s true….
There will be no sex.


Jessica Barberia recently graduated from Caldwell College in Caldwell, NJ with a degree in English. Barberia says: "I enjoy writing poetry about my personal experience and the situations I have been through. I also enjoy writing about the people I met throughout my life. I would like to be published so I can get my thoughts and experiences out to other people in similar situations."


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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Angela Baglione
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 03:59 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4206 Reads

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** Angela Baglione **


A Love Affair of Elegance

Devoted best friends sharing in casual and crucial conversations;
going here and there just enjoying each other’s company.

Passionate lovers yearning for the sound of the voice of their intimate
companion; desiring the touch of their significant other.

Enchanted soul mates knowing what the other will be saying next;
realizing what the other will be needing soon enough.

An exquisite romance was theirs;
with lasting emotion for so long.

A charming devotion was theirs;
a unique adoration through time.

A lovely attachment was theirs;
the caressing tenderness lasted for so many years.

And now that his inspiring lover has passed him by,
may he continue in strength knowing
he will always have her in his
dreams and memories.



Angela Baglione says: "I have a wonderful family and I spend most of my time with them. Also, I'm a religious aide helping teach young children about the Roman Catholic faith. Although they haven't been published, I have written a children's book, a short story, and I developed a memory book for girls called My school days. Currently, I'm working on an affirmation book. My family and my friends love the work that I have written."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Karen Bacon
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 02:24 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4425 Reads

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** Karen Bacon **


Your Leftovers

The kitchen is high risk
No cabinet is safe
And definitely not the fridge
On one rack alone:
Whipped cream
Sliced peaches
The cinnamon rolls
With the past expiration date
One shelf up
The liter of Pepsi
And directly across on the door
The disdainful blue cheese dressing
At least the freezer
Only has bagels and buffalo wings

Maybe I should combine
All the dry goods
Into just one threatening cabinet
That way I can either
Get it all over with at once
Or avoid that one cabinet completely
The Lucky Charms
Peeled tomatoes and egg noodles
3 boxes of Mac ‘n Cheese
The always promised, but never made
Pillsbury banana bread
And don’t forget
The essential chocolates:
Hershey kisses with almonds and Toblerone

The other option, of course
Is to pack up your supermarket
And make it a safe zone
Seeing as so many other places
Are reminders
But even if I had the strength
I’d still remember
This is where that went
This is where this went
Etc.,
Etc.,


Amazon Warrior

To my Amazon Warrior:

Your athletic body
Tall and lean
With broad shoulders
And slender, ‘v’-shaped back
Perfect, full breasts
Long legs
And large, strong hands
Is like an ancient Olympian
Champion in every contest
And your short, wild hair
And penetrating blue eyes
Completes your bold appearance

To my Amazon Warrior:

Your dynamic physique
Is the only distinguishing feature
From your Paradise Island heritage
Because un-like Wonder Woman
You are insincere and manipulative
And lack her morals and honesty
And un-like Diana Prince
Who maintains her identity
So that she can help others
Your alter-ego
Is to serve the selfish purpose
Of deceiving others
Into thinking you are pure and good
So that you can get what you want

To my Amazon Warrior:

It’s not as easy as removing your belt
To take away your power
It’s all in your charisma
And sensuality
And when you’re touching me
You’re like the golden lasso
And my body can’t lie
Despite what I know in my head

To my Amazon Warrior:

You can wear your thick silver bracelet
And red underwear
With the bright yellow star in the middle
And we can have our little joke
Maybe even some day
We’ll pretend I’m the villain
But deep down
I’ll always know the truth:
You’ll never be a Wonder Woman.


Percentages

What I have to remember about you
What I need to
Hold on to
So that I can stop holding on
Is that you are 10%

Last year
You gave me 100%
Of your 10%
Every little bit
That you put out
That you could put out
Was your best
And every single day
Of that month
You tried to revive
And feel
honestly
That 10% of you
With me

But that was only one month
And 90% of who I’ve known
Is addiction
Cold and distant
And selfish
And nothing like
The woman of that 10%
And me holding on 100%
To that 10%
Despite how amazing
That 10% is
Is only distracting me
From the reality of
My 90% experience
with you.


Karen Bacon is 33 years old and I has been writing poetry on and off since she was 16. She has worked in the social services field and over the past couple years, she had the good fortune to work with two very talented teachers who taught her a great deal about writing and the writing process, which has in turn helped her to develop both her skills and confidence. Karen Bacon says: "I think I’m finally at the place where I can take a risk and share my stuff. My writing is very dear to me.

Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Karla Armour
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 02:15 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4628 Reads

.

** Karla Armour **


Stranded

All blondes are hot.
She is not blonde.
Therefore, she is not hot.

Short end of the stick?
Or wrong end of the strand?
The curly, kinky, wavy end
is where she stands.
Suitors chase the tall and willowy
while she walks alone; short and thick.

No bee sting, scalpel or
collagen-filled needle prick
can copy her heart-shaped lips.
A lifetime in the gym and
she still rollin’ them hips.

Yeah, you may need milk
for strong teeth and bones.
Just remember that only
blackberries and chocolate
can cure a sugar jones.

Nightfall cloaks the mainstream’s
masses that file through her back door
like addicts at a drug house, impatiently
crazy for a bite of chili pepper stuffed
with cocoa beans and a shot of espresso
to shoot up their veins.

Daylight sings an abrasively honest song:
“Make way for the blonde, honey!
It’s her world and you don’t belong.”

She coolly smirks and rolls her eyes,
“Yeah, last night it was my flavor
your men demanded! Tell you dumb
blondes one mo’ damned thang,
tonight again you ‘bout to be left stranded!”


Unjuxtaposed Paradox

Concrete ambiguities
A cricket singing background
for a hummingbird
Auburn sunset at dawn
Watercolor parrots flying
across a fresco sky

Fading out of black
A distant close-up
Impotent magic
Angelic cacophony
An abysmal rise
A declining plateau

Stagnant tide of
an ocean that
races to a stream
The brightness of fog
Poisonous chamomile
Medicinal venom

Sagacious virgin
Inexperienced harlot
Murky clarity
Understandable confusion
Ardent winter
Frigid summer

Ladybug spins a web
Spider flies away
Buds wilt into blossoms
Inaudible thunder
Invisible lightning
Milk cries over spilled tears

Unsightly beauty
Attractive homeliness
Aromatic pestilence
Painful ecstasy
An infantile heart
demystifies true love


Multi-Tasking Overachiever

From Big House to the boardroom
From SUV to the slave ship
I multi-task and overachieve
with my baby on my hip

I gits up in da mawnin’
while Missy Ann is still yawnin’
All day long I picks cotton
while Massa treats my man rotten
Cain’t take no mo’ of this rape
Tonight I plans to escape
I’ll make that northbound trip
with my baby on my hip

All dolled up in Chanel
I’m giving Wall Street hell
Making big business deals
in my new Prada heels
Yes, my dear, I’m the boss
and I do pay the cost
Signing checks and pink slips
with my baby on my hip

I’m a fly ghetto queen
Facial expression is mean
Rockin’ weave and capris
Bringin’ yo’ man to his knees
Honey, I takes care of mine
by getting’ down on the grind
And if you trip, I’ll bust yo’ lip
with my baby on my hip

I’m a fiery poet y
todos ustedes know it
I give it all that I’ve got
to keep this microphone hot
African heart, Latin soul
Inglés con Español
I pops my yang real flip
con mi bebé on my hip

From Big House to the boardroom
From SUV to the slaveship
I multi-task and overachieve
with my baby on my hip


As an artist, Karla Armour is known as FyreMouff. She was instructed by the late Paul Carroll at UIC of which she is an alumnus with a B.A. in English (Writing). After a ten-year hiatus from the creative process, she returned to the poetry scene by joining EarCandy, Inc in April 2004.

Karla Armour says: "With all that is going on globally, I want to contribute my words to the outcry for positive change."


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: Diane Anjoue
Posted by : cj on Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - 02:00 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4790 Reads

.

** Diane Anjoue **


oruko lonro ni

the ebb and flow of emptiness
washing over barren lands
stealing away her thoughts, a
stark emotional void laying hold
words she's scattered over the
oceans of so many others

despair's mooning cry, her wail
filling winds of melancholic maladies
she raises her eyes to God's
dry lightening sky'd storms,

her opera acapella unaccompanied
by man's futile weapons,
the purist bound within unleashed
with furies tempest avowed
no longer the chaotic screeching of
life and losses' torment
desperation's keening seeps beyond
the wall of crippled masses

inciting a stance of united front,
arms crooked, strength in Eight
backed by the voice of millions
steeped in global harmonies

she draws together the cries of the
nations impoverished
weaving their pitiful anguish into
her battle-cry for relief
the revolution to eradicate pains
of hunger grotesque
just close your eyes and like a child,
let her whisper peace as

she's sings of ONE love, ONE life, it's
not too late for shared forgiveness
she is the voice behind the song of a
world against poverty...

She is "ONE".

"oruko lonro ni" is of the Yoruban language hailing from the beautiful country of Africa. It is a long-held belief among people of the Yoruban language that 'oruko lonro ni' - "names affect behavior". It is time to change the name of poverty by raising our voices as "ONE".


Untitled 1

Would there be moments caught up in wanting,
memories more than we could bear on our own...?

I wonder...

will you remember quite as fondly as I
the sweet taste of desire staining your lips
as my tongue shyly follows your lead
bold passions in your eyes burning within
the flickering flames of love in my own
the feel of my head trussed upon your pillow
as the heaviness of your weight settles above me
how you trace my curves with trailing kisses as
my fingers knead the muscles strung taut as
your long awaited gift to me offered,
my open acceptance felt deep and true;
rolling explorations tickle the feathery down,
cotton sheets clinging as our bodies weep
the strain of your shoulders as you dare to lift me
my legs anchor around your trim waist
your bow caressing my arch, bent low
driving home our clandestine point of making
love trapped by our own design
tailored by the hands of grace and time...

I believe...

You would remember upon the grey morn
the tears of goodbye that I didn't hide
as the chill set in when our fingers did part
and blown kisses floating towards their marks
the last flutter of lashes as I bid you adieu
the sag of your shoulders as you turn to go ~
a final reach back towards our warmth proves
parting ways is such sweet sad sorrow.

Yet I pray...

let not the weight of our goodbyes dampen
the soaring spirits of our winged hellos...


Uisce Beatha*

Just as my words began as an up reaching trickle,
slowly feeding from gentle stream on to flowing river,
tumbling over waterfall cascade down to raging rapids
and on still to it's vast estuary...

My thoughts, so long buried deep beneath
the frozen surface of my heart, have bubbled forth
and now overflow in a torrent of rushing emotions...

I have not settled on the exact instant my comfort level
rippled from warm friendship over to welcome desire...
Might it have been the eve of talk deep of life, sacrifice and
responsibility or the early morn awakening with a teasing
"how do you do (that to me)?"....

For once, unwilling to question fate's agenda,
I take to heart an epiphany ~ we are a natural progression...
For some wonderful reason, we were intended
to cross streams and the tide, too strong to fight,
carries us to some unseen destination.

As the trickling stream weaves along it's predestined course,
building in strength, width and depth, eventually
it's arrival is heralded by a brilliant phenomenon... a sea,
vast and encompassing.

For as a drop of friendship was sown, the refreshing waters
caressed two barren souls, reviving life long forgotten and
bonding at last into a force to be reckoned with...

What is it to be? What will spring forth from the water of life...
Hold tight to patience my Love, and we shall find out.

*Irish word for whiskey - literally translated "water of life"
(pronounced - ishka baha)



Diane Anjoue currently resides in a small suburb of Chicago, Illinois with her husband and three sons. She writes poetry and short stories, and is considering writing a novel in the future, A Class Of A Sin. A sampling of her poetry has appeared in American Open Mike, The New American Voice, The Panhandler Quarterly and as a part of the poetry anthology, Sometimes We Dream, produced through Lulu.com to benefit the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Diane feels that NOW is the time to band together as one to make our collective voices heard across the world. In order to do this, we must set aside our prejudices, differences and misanthropies; adopt a blanket and uniform vision that will enable all of us to still embrace our individualities yet help to promote brotherhood and sisterhood amongst ourselves in the arts community.

As an international alliance of artists we stand to create a grander platform for our talents to be shared with our hungry audiences. This is truly just the beginning...


Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Roberdt Zielinski
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 05:50 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4562 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Arlene Zide
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 05:22 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
5229 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Sandria M. Washington
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 05:09 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
5032 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Mahesh H. Wadhwani
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 04:32 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4811 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Danette T.M. Vélez
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 04:11 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4878 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Carmella Tate
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 04:04 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4819 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Dennis Pascual-Sevilla
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 03:42 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
4834 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Natalia L. Rudychev
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 03:26 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
5813 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Ted E. Recio
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 03:16 PM
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4855 Reads



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spacer.gif   American Open Mike: Carol Murray-Rossi
Posted by : cj on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 03:05 PM
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  American Open Mike:  New American Voices
5176 Reads



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