beats

From It’ll Never Be Over For Me by Mark Lamoureux

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From It’ll Never Be Over For Me

by

Mark Lamoureux

K-JEE

after The Nite-Liters

 

Slinky

descending

a staircase, yellow,

plastic & full

of air.  Something pale

from the automat,

headlong, sidelong into

the wireless future.

The kiss of a suture,

the cinnamon spark

that eats up

the fuse.  What results

is something

that one saw

coming, from the vantage

above the food court,

where the fountain reached,

deaf & dumb

toward the lacquered ceiling.

They fill it

with pennies.  Pennies

for ice cream, pennies

for the long afterlife.

The mute slot like a weeping

snake-eye.  Multiple sixes

to the nines.

It’s not the end

of the world.

Dance dance dance

under the fireflies, under

the seeking planes, crucifixes

dripping antifreeze,

UFO pips, the stupid translucence

of the inside

of the dice.

 

Lucky SEVENTEEN

Morning, noon & The Nite-Liters.  Nothing light about a band of seventeen whose biggest hit would peak at seventeen, heavy numerology.  Brothers & sisters tattooed by trumpets & guitars, some groovy sans-serif.  Not the only good thing besides Kentucky Fried Chicken to come out of Kentucky, quipped the Channel 13 DJ on November 1, 1972 as he proceeded to bungle the dudes’ names while they killed it onstage in matching baby blue sailor suits to an all-black crowd, PBS still segregating acts in ’72, the real deal not much like Sesame Street ,but it sounded cooler at any rate.  Becoming New Birth to summarily die—they had it & lost it all in the Hollywood Haze, hemorrhaging members across the decade, done by ’79—Nite-Lite(r)s out, enter monsters.

 

EARTHQUAKE

after Bobbi Lynn

Lined up behind the dull chrome of the clouds,

the armies of ruin, prepped to drag premises all along

the neglected ground.  Brown dirt the universal principle

of absence, world opened like an orange.   We perturb

its thin skin only.  What waits for us in the alien core,

geoded bubbles harboring air unblemished by the stain

of our being.  What lies below: iguanas the size of dinosaurs,

three-lidded demons or some abhorrent mycelium,

immortal, uninterested in us.  No shaker of earth,

this God—so who to curdle & still the shifting plates

that sleep below our folly?  Fear always what lies

below, but look always there.  You, named to bury

your dead.  Conjugal bed of mind & universe, the union

so poisonous to skin—that bower that calls to us in low

frequencies, whips up the puddle of the oceans.  This life

a mad dash away from Mother’s arms until we are called

home by the booming voice, inexorable but inexplicable,

but we still too young to answer.

 

THE ELUSIVE BOBBI LYNN

You know in life, some people try to make it, some don’t.  Some keep trying, some give up.  I tried to make it & this is my story.  Well I was born just around the corner, about half a block from Opportunity Street.  I lived 18 years of good memories; I’ve had 27 since, every meal to eat.  I met a boy just around the corner about half a block from Opportunity Street.  He had charms at 20 nearly drove me mad, but he stole my love, took everything I had on Opportunity Street.  It seems to me that I could see there must be another way, but some don’t get another chance & I guess I’ll have to stay.  Now a word to all you people, about half a block from Opportunity Street.  Listen to me, if you lived the life you planned to be, just make about face & take a look at me: Opportunity Street.

 

Statement:  These pieces are from a project called It’ll Never Be Over For Me, which is a meditation on the Northern Soul youth culture in the U.K. in the 70s and beyond, whereby the kids formed this kind of cargo cult around obscure African American soul records from Detroit & elsewhere, among other things.  The book takes the form of lyric glosses on the songs themselves coupled with prose investigations of the (often tragic, sometimes privileged, sometimes unknown) lives of the songwriters.

 

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Bachelorette by Stephanie Kaylor

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Bachelorette

 by

Stephanie Kaylor

1. I never much cared for hosting parties.

Always, it seemed, in the morning there’d be broken glass.

 

2. I’d crack abstractions into the glass until I could recognize myself, a hundred eyes searching back at me for what, they did not know.

 

3. I offered a bandage to a broken mankind.

I forgot the antiseptics, said I’d be back within the hour.

 

4. Once a man took me to the river.

We could only stare at it through all the barbed wires and their proclamations: turn around, there’s enough of a mess for you to swim in there.

I thought myself Bathsheba, but I couldn’t even dip my feet.

 

5. I thought myself an enlightened convict but they wouldn’t give back the key. “We said it would only be on my conditions,” but he’s gone and he can’t hear, and he didn’t say he’s coming back.

 

6. Blissfully illiterate, he never read my notes.

He’d fold them into origami, flowing into another world on the breathe of every kiss.

 

7. In the corner I recalled my grandmother’s warning like a prayer.

Do not heed the sun. The moonlit reveries & their daytime retrieval is the only way to stay unburned.

 

8. The reminiscent complex,

the sugar-titted histories overflowed from my nursing bottle every time I tried to heat it up.

 

9. The mattress is grey.

Not grey in indistinguishable soot, but the led of pencil etchings we could dream then erase. I like to lie here with you at my side.

 

Bio: Stephanie Kaylor is an Albany-based daydreamer currently working enrolled in two graduate programs: an MA in Media Philosophy at European Graduate School, and an MA in Women’s Studies at the University at Albany. She is a staunch advocate of ecriture feminine, but won’t shy from admitting to being seduced by the female beats. Stephanie is also currently working with Reginald Lewis, an incarcerated writer whose information can be found at facebook.com/reginaldsinclairlewis.

Ghazal For Ginsberg

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 Ghazal For Ginsberg

by

E. S. Cormac

Tell us this story, goddess daughter of Zeus, beginning at whatever point you will.

I have studied your immense enumerations grey beard

I carefully crafted lines in response to shopping list strophes jazz beard

Thrown away to mind’s inner recesses and 182GB of RAM that’s all I have left either way

It is our pleasure to report neon fruit hydrogen jukeboxes the least of worries, father beard

It started off beautiful lines echoing your madness devoured minds of generation

Poseidon’s blinded children air out intimacies despite song of emperor’s fiddle, vigilant beard

It lead away to Troy’s shores and roster of ship’s crews using exacting turn-o-phrase

They snap fingers in cafe bravo to poetic truths of high school journal keepers now, beat beard

Lines stopped weary of flowing thoughts returned to foreign fiord

Struggle self society is it lost in transliteration mouthings, pariah beard

I am tired of them. I am tired of their flying circus. I don’t want to be a clown. I want to look outside

IWW, CCCP, LBGT, your Spartan Phalluses battled Barbara Billinglsy boulevards kabala beard

I will no longer write of the I, the me,  the we, the ours.

It is our pleasure to report, sertraline, fluoxetine, replace cerebellum scars now, committed beard

I will become Clipper of Coupons for Packets of Tea. I, soldier of emperors, swear, grand beard.

I am having a slow epiphany beatnik beard.

The beatnik poets as a whole, and Allen Ginsburg in particular, struggled against the norms of society. Through verse and prose they spoke of taboos, railed against mainstream America, and confessed dark desires in a style that also rebelled against the formal literature of the time. Whether through translation or imitation this style is what is most remembered and copied today. Hidden in the human caricature that has become the Beat Writer’s are the real life struggles of men against their society. A society they felt alienated from somehow.