Canto CXCVI

I gave some of my first readings right there,
the spot a few feet from where I sit now.
I didn’t think it then—that in the years

to come I’d spend so many verbose hours
on that same spot. Back then I’d spend the day
digging a mile long trench or pruning flowers

while reciting my poems til they’d stay
in my head later on despite the beer.
The poems sucked, rip offs of Bukowksi,

thank goodness You Tube’s birth was still so far.
The notebooks have been pulped, weep, weep scholars!
You’ll never cop my juvenialia!

The room is empty, all the plastic chairs
are stacked but I can still recall a little
of the young poet I was, reading right there

and all I really want to do is heckle.

Canto LXXIII

And so it’s Au Revoir to The Cellar
in fact it’s more a great big fat goodbye.
It all ends—not with a bang, but a whisper,

it’s not that I’ve got bigger fish to fry,
it is the same excuse Pacino used
in the opening scene of Carlito’s Way—

I got old! Time to usher in the new,
the Spoken Word Billy Blancos from the Bronx,
and bid a relieved, bittersweet adieu

to vice and verse weekenders with the ranks
of London’s boisterous, Biro chewing bards.
So, in place of a tedious round of thanks

I raise a glass and slowly step backwards
to watch the London scene move on without me
and toast the veterans and the upstarts.

I can’t get pissed, the missus won’t allow me.

Canto VI

Back to the basement, dungeon if you will,
the underworld for novices and hacks—
the quasi byrons, preening, on the pull;

The iphone thoughts of hip insomniacs;
the Speaker’s Corner residents to come;
denied requests for CD backing tracks;

the poverty tourists recall the slums
that bolstered their nobility of soul,
their bank account’s bolstered by Dad and Mum.

And reader, I have played each of those roles
they’re ain’t a cliche that I haven’t used—
the urban griot, bigging up the proles,

the fake-kowski laments for girls and booze.
But when I glimpse the upper echelons,
the free wine at the la de da venues

occasionaly breakthroughs of the “unknowns”
that write just like the orthodox elite.
The boys club rules for style are set in stone.

I race back to that basement in Betterton Street,
to welcome in the city gent and wino
for while the Paradiso’s lines are sweet

I get my kicks from reading the Inferno.

Canto II

A back story? Well sure, if you insist,
though I’ve a tendency to pad the tale
and in that mess the point is often missed.

A few years back, when I often sat still
and counted breaths to quiten the mind,
my later walking hours would all be filled

with revelations, epiphanies gleaned
from things I often dismissed as mundane.
So, trees became the boom of seed grenades

and when I strolled by elders I refrained
from judging them as past it or infirm—
for all the years they’ve been here they remained,

like all of us while our bodies stay warm,
the true born children of the universe
and stay that way throughout this fleeting term

as verbose bipeds on the planet earth.
And that’s what I felt when I heard the tale
from that old poet, bemoaning the dearth

of recognition for his villanelles
and free verse scrawlings of his eighty years.
I didn’t see a bitter, jaded male–

I saw somebody’s son, I saw a peer,
I saw a childhood friend, a schoolyard foe,
I saw my own regrets and petty fears,

I saw a man who was an embryo,
as tiny as a seed, so new to life
just like the child that has been newly sown

within the soft, brown belly of my wife.

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