MAP 59

This week's theme: Ars Poetica: Poetry about poetry.

Thanks to all who generously permit me to publish your work!

Upcoming Themes:

Issue #60 - What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Issue #61 - New Years Resolutions: Honey, I promise to change my lowdown ways.

Issue #62 - Cartwheel-Challenged Poets (All submissions eligible for anthology: "Why I Wasn't A Dallas Cheerleader or It's Hard to Write When Spinning")

1. (Drumroll!) From Guy LeCharles Gonzales of 1998 NPS's #1 Team New York. Guy performed this piece at the NPS finals:

33-1/3 Revolutions Per Minute

a love poem for Friday night revolutionaries...

The revolution has been--

the revolution has been--

the revolution is in danger of becoming a has-been.

Hip-hop has failed its mission

straying from its destiny as the poetry of the people

rock & roll's sequel in its soulless quest for mass appeal.

Been around the world and I I I

I've seen history repeated too many times by

too many people

that should know better.

Slavery was replaced by the music industry

house niggers go to the highest bidders

keeping the revolution underground

undermanned

undermined

so I'm tired of waiting for poets to open their eyes

and reject the status quo.

Complacency is an angel of light

everything's not all right 'cause the CIA could be tapping my phone.

One false move and my death becomes a mystery

the Las Vegas police won't bother to solve

and though I'm ready to die

I've realized that the revolution does not need another martyr.

Biggie failed to see this reality

succumbing to self-prophecy

selling his soul

thinking he'd get money from his playa-presidency to buy it back.

All caught up in stereotypical fantasies

...that gangsta mentality

that's killing us softly

as the DEATH of the revolution is televised nightly

the number-one rated show on MTV

starring Puff Daddy and family

with thick bass licks from '80's pop hits

supporting stupid-ass lyrics

spurting from the lips of Versace-branded slaves

turning my stomach late at night when I find myself

dancing to it

...lost in that bass line

reality shrouded my mind clouded

my hands where my eyes CAN'T see

forgetting how it used to be

...it's all about the Benjamins now

as hip-hop heads become wannabe's

Gil-Scott Heron collects his royalties

and the revolution is a commercial property

pimped by Sprite and the NBA...

ideals are nothing

image is everything

Jordan got another ring and

Mumia's plight is a hollow slogan to hook a poem on

as the revolution is compromised

by wannabe rap stars disguised as slam poets

pandering to the crowd

telling them what they want to hear

instead of what they need to hear.

Thoughtless words like mad-cow disease

wiping out an entire generation

so I poke you in your third eye to clear your vision

realize that you're the problem

not the solution.

You're not a poet you just slam a lot

cram a lot of senseless rhyming

soulless pantomiming

saying shit like Tommy Kills-niggers

'cause it always fashionable to lay blame elsewhere

especially if it'll get a laugh and a couple of extra points.

Store-bought politics from brain-washed hypocrites

sweet-nothings disguised as calls for revolution

designed to win the Slam

disguising true intentions

grab a blunt and a forty and that bleach-blonde shorty you dissed from stage

patronizing the black woman's rage

acting lactose intolerant

knowing damn well that you got milk.

Sometimes the thieves in the temple are the priests themselves

and despite my own glass house I dare to throw stones

'cause it takes a clean break to heal right

and I can't let the revolution go on without you...

© 1998 Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

2. From our friend in Dublin, Audrey Kaufman:

I once wrote a poem.

It brought me many friends.

But the poem was about death and destruction.

It was about love and compassion.

Together we grieved.

Together we shared an uncertain future.

I once wrote a poem and it brought me many, many friends ....

one day I will tell you about it.

3. And then there's the rascally, adorable Nicki Miller of Fredericksburg, Maryland

Saturday Night, Missing You After Poetry

Gathering plastic cups, crumpled napkins,

an exiled stuffed mushroom peeks out from

it's hiding place near the end table,

a runaway earlier this evening.

The cracker crumbs, idle plates,

empty wine bottles stacked forlorn, forgotten

in the kitchen sink.

Poets laughter echoes

warm and contagious still,

as I collect the bones of another

evening wrapped in the arms

of luxurious words, montrechet,

raucous companions.

Drifting off to another space within

that one, tucked away only in me,

I envision you here, too.

Smiling, this pleasure,

this private desire roots,

gains hold.

Yes, were you here;

I see you, club chair cross-legged,

at my side, presiding.

Your eyes felt on the back of my neck,

running through my hair.

I can hear your voice ...

strong, resonant,

capturing the ears of all, but

know you read only to me;

consuming your words, squeezing your

hand. They could only grasp a hint

of your magic. I would later

behold it softly, in sweeter light.

The white dots of dissolution melt,

and I sigh, come back to them,

still deep in your embrace.

Reality is

it's 30 degrees outside, two plastic

tall kitchen bags still need hauling out,

the kitchen swept, the wine stems and

silverware washed. I don't mind

this ritual housekeeping afterwards.

After all, my soul has just been fed.

This night of poetry, one night of magic.

Soon. So soon, but not soon enough,

the next comes.

And you.

© 1998 nicki miller

4. From Chuck Rice, another fine poet:

Seeing, As Only Our Eyes See

Black skyscrapers low on the horizon

like broken teeth

eat the fizzling sun.

I wonder, wander through crowds

a face, on a corner,

are you one of us-

man in a business suit,

in rags, old woman, teenage girl,

strangers in clever disguise?

Our eyes glance-

are you scanning me also,

seeing as only our eyes see,

feeling and sensing pain-

fully deeper

attuned to the deafening cry

of every rock, tree, the pain

in every face, the fear

the hopelessness in every eye?

When I move through random streets

cursed of tall clawing concrete

feeling the heartbeat of each building,

the chaos in every cloud,

the tranquil order in each frenzied pulse

of traffic, every sound screaming volumes

of questions, each moment

a story begging not

to be forgotten, to be told.

I wonder,

has your mind's eye already been here,

has your sixth sense already probed

this random street's

cold fixtures of normality,

felt its way

down this hall of fury and emotion

like a blind sage,

touched its cries of life,

buses windows faces cigarette butts

sirens, lost smiles,

hearing what they cannot feel,

seeing what they cannot see?

Why us- cursed with this unrest

of unyielding awareness

which (piercing) reflects back,

separates us, banishes,

condemns us to walk alone.

Fleeing this alien world

away and alone on some dark beach

lying back my thoughts reach up

to caress the moon like a lover.

Are the hands of your mind silently there

already reaching

from some similar darkness?

Aching, longing, I search faces

on the street

yet never asking,

"Are you one of us?"

For we must remain silent, secret

frailest of all creatures,

for to be uncovered, revealed,

rejected

is to risk death of the soul.

Our forms clever, diverse,

doubtless in our defenses

our prejudgements, preconceived ideas

we could not even spot one another,

lest at some vulnerable place,

some weak moment,

on the risk of a notion

we perhaps exchange pleasantries,

"Yes, I too am a poet."

This poem first appeared in Private Crystallography, an anthology

published by Cosmic Trend of Canada.