Action Poetry: February 2013

Some people have asked me how Action Poetry works on Litkicks. It’s so simple. You read other people’s poems and post one of your own, and other people do the same. This month’s illustration is a wire sculpture of a mule by sculptor and spoken-word poet Mark ‘Wireman’ Coburn. Now, please write us a poem!

40 Responses

  1. Squalling green parrots take
    Squalling green parrots take flight simultaneously
    20 strong they circle, squawk and scream overhead as I head to work this morning
    Always stay high
    Lowest I ever saw was a lone one in an 8-foot tree dining on little orange pee-pas
    Never touch the ground, unlike their black crow cousins who are big and strut the lawns, streets and driveways
    I heard as a kid at my grandparents house
    Tropical bird cries high in the sky
    I never saw them, could it be real?
    I heard the sound years later in the jungles of Yucatan
    Decades have been good to them and now its like The Birds sometimes
    Hundreds all high in the trees or telephone lines
    Flying flocked green, winging, screaming
    Legend has it there was a fire and a few got released back in the 50’s
    They scream through the window early morning
    Some hate it
    I love it
    I feel like Li Po going to Baidi in his skiff
    The red cloud glow misty morning
    Nonstop screaming monkeys in the trees of both riverbank sides
    I got green parrots
    Who scream and eat pee-pas
    And black crows
    Who caw and drop dead rats
    In the back yard

  2. Half-Assing It:
    Half-Assing It:

    We drive a long dark furrow
    into soil the color of Stroganov,
    He, dropping shiny black seeds like jewels
    into the dampness I’ve torn
    from the dead earth, and I,
    Shivering in the sweat of my exhaustion,
    Quivering under the fear of his next blow,
    Beaten like my rented brethren
    Until the failing light delivers its reprieve.

  3. you are a source of divine
    you are a source of divine light and anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar!

  4. Abstract jackass
    Straight up mule
    Her name, Dixie
    Ears long
    Eyes sad
    Muzzle tightly wired
    In a field
    Waiting to be fed
    Not to be led
    Yes, she’s stubborn
    (Thanks Levi)

  5. This the freak room
    This the freak room
    the inner gulag
    it foldeth it don’t exist
    this the pocket it empty
    they tell us
    they stamp us
    they condemn us to cold
    this the zero
    we wear it
    we hide it
    we shuffle alone
    in day rooms
    in night rooms
    our rosary bones
    this the time out
    the white out
    the mind out
    it broken inside
    it don’t get no better
    it smile
    it pill-cup
    it xerox the day
    it xerox the day
    it tv
    it happy
    it die it don’t die anymore
    it say what they say
    it don’t say
    it don’t hurt
    it pretend it so good
    they don’t hurt it some more

  6. This the freak room
    This the freak room
    the inner gulag
    it foldeth it don’t exist
    this the pocket it empty
    they tell us
    they stamp us
    they condemn us to cold
    this the zero
    we wear it
    we hide it
    we shuffle alone
    in day rooms
    in night rooms
    our rosary bones
    this the time out
    the white out
    the mind out
    it broken inside
    it don’t get no better
    it smile
    it pill-cup
    it xerox the day
    it xerox the day
    it tv
    it happy
    it die it don’t die anymore
    it say what they say
    it don’t say
    it don’t hurt
    it pretend it so good
    they don’t hurt it some more

  7. …my changing heart…
    …my changing heart…

    a hundred thousand dollars to do this job.
    the ladies took a break with the tranquil mob.
    let me tell you ’bout the time i got robbed.
    by the devil himself, but he missed my heart.

    my heart is full of gasoline.
    it’ll beat ’til the final scene.
    fights even while it bleeds.
    my heart, my heart.

    at some point you find that it’s all been tried.
    rocket to the moon. come back alive.
    tried every flavor and seen every sky.
    loved thy neighbor and loved the child.

    my soul is full of elements.
    been yearning for the sacraments.
    my soul knows where it’s been.
    my changing heart.

  8. Drop down to it
    Drop down to it
    Action night turning
    on the head of a pin
    Blue night
    Poetry night
    Dreams of falling
    Awakened alive
    Snow came on little cats pistols
    We drove the fast lane
    each and every morning
    Except today
    Action holy
    Action sweet
    Action flow
    Word stew stirred
    Meaning found……later
    Night lost in a cold fog
    Heavenly coffee
    A millionaires money
    could never buy it….it…it…

  9. …thinking will never end…
    …thinking will never end…

    …hazy and lethargic mind…the combat medicines and sunken eyes…the body heats as its forces are called in…friction produces the energy…head is full of empty thoughts…knowing that thinking will never end…humanity on a space ride refusing to look to the night sky…caught in a circle of years…kept bound by gravity…the gravity…the pull of the sun…another pulling and compelling continues as well…the Son and His way…completely irrational to the modern mind…music continues to satisfy…six notes form a thousand chords…origins unknown and mysterious…constantly awakening my mind…

  10. I am the ferrous scent of
    I am the ferrous scent of various sized screws nuts nails
    small cardboard boxes coloured window-panes unwashed
    by light transfixed by eastern light my eastern Sunday morning sight

    Now I turn golden into southern noonday light
    I am one single brimstone wing lying parched between
    cold ashes of cigarettes he smoked sometime

    I am the smell of oil wax turpentine
    birdsong from the other sky
    and now in corners as beggars velvet dust
    excelsior! I am coming into live

    A foreshadow of spring and someone else is entering
    I rush hush recompose again
    and as the girl I am standing here with clunky feet
    on PVC floor covering the lively ground beneath

    I am my breath my gruff moving chest
    my head rings swings reaches into mad
    magic mid air highly enriched with Canadian green
    mountain peak dreams Indian soul freeing patron
    feels African terror moth wings Chinese silk
    machine steam As the grey-faced man comes in

    Grey-faced and thin the man points with his grey fingertip at my chest asking me what for i do live and I don’t have to think to give my reply and tell him that I live for my own joy just for my joy I live and I wonder if he wonders as I watch his face and think I notice something I think there in his eyes I see it rise I think some kind of light watching it there as it lights up his face and he smiles his grey finger rests still lingers here on my chest while he just smiles his smile my smile with me

    Such trips I use to have I was a zebra once a stubborn mule a dark old comedy assistant I was shaved and shaky and I was perfect once and failure then so many times I was a revolutionary hero I was a lie a parasite a child I was great weight and blight to my beloveds I’m sure I taught wrong things am I that mysterious I ask I was an audience to sweetest men I was an artist to some herds of kids and crowds of crows above their heads I am not privileged to appear as nothingness I must exist and I’m not nature just the stinky steam of culture and they are not special my trips just the commonplace raptures of helplessness

  11. ..dirty looks..
    ..dirty looks..

    ..just a sad faced, sleepy clone..
    ..regrets have ruined the love..
    ..only new love can electrify..
    ..neon patios and dirty eyes..

  12. He cam on like
    He came on like
    gangbusters here
    11 years ago
    Lighting up the
    old Litkicks boards
    with his genuine words
    A musician and poet
    from the lone star state
    he left his mark on all
    of us he touched
    I knew him in real time
    as many of you did
    I believe the last time
    I saw LRod was when I
    was in the hospital a
    few years back
    He brought me a copy
    of Burroughs Naked Lunch
    Clay January was a feisty
    writer and a true gentleman
    I will always remember him
    in performance
    Rest in peace Lightning Rod

  13. …crystal sky…
    …crystal sky…

    …estimating the crystal sky… …plainly we are adrift… …just observers to the job… …took us for all our cash… …stole my watch too… …one nation under debt… …the apocalypse must be near… …as it always is… …every day is the end times… …count them down always…

  14. I throw clouds at my ego
    I throw clouds at my ego because Zeus was right
    The moon is my brother.

  15. I Make Hitler Laugh
    I Make Hitler Laugh

    We were hiking through the Tyrol with the Fuhrer.
    At a scenic overlook, the famous naturalist,
    long deceased,
    was pointing out the resemblance
    of various famous people
    to other famous people in a book
    full of photographs of famous people: Sartre to Cary Grant,
    Glenn Gould to someone or other,
    that sort of thing.

    What was his point?
    That all famous people are basically identical?
    The scenery, by the way,
    was breathtaking.
    Shrouded in a lavender mist, etc.

    So, inevitably, the famous dead naturalist
    comes to a picture of Hitler—it’s one of the last,
    Berlin in ruins, the Fuhrer,
    his peaked cap pulled low,
    bundled up against the cold,
    is reviewing the “troops,”
    a motley collection of men and pre-teen boys
    rounded up for one last
    hopeless defense of Nazism.
    That was a bad day for Hitler,
    the sort every dictator dreads,
    but he was out there putting the best face on things.
    You had to hand him that.

    “Now in this photograph…”
    and the naturalist, undaunted,
    flips through the pages
    to suggest another of his unlikely look-a-likes.

    “Good grief,” I cry, with a not entirely mock exasperation.
    “You’d think at least being the Fuhrer
    would be enough in itself.
    That you wouldn’t need to search out
    these kinds of tortured comparisons
    between him and anyone else!”

    At this, Hitler himself bursts out laughing.
    It was a hardy, sincere laugh,
    filled with warmth and the spirit of fellowship.
    It made me feel good to make him laugh like that,
    god only knows why.

    The long-dead naturalist,
    caught unawares for a moment,
    begins to chuckle, too.
    Soon we’re all sharing a hearty laugh
    in the crisp mountain air.

    Yes, it’s a fine day in the Tyrol.
    The thawing landscape sparkles.

  16. PENNY HAIKU #197
    PENNY HAIKU #197
    “A Moment to Reflect”
    Traffic is horrendous
    A big gashog SUV
    Might run me off the road.
    So, it being lunchtime,
    I stop my traveling,
    Run into “The Mudpie”
    Wearing a bright bandana.

    PENNY HAIKU #198
    People know me here.
    I can get a moment to reflect—
    On my next moves,
    On the next “talkeic verse” to
    Quote the “The Duke of Earl”…
    Under a big bandana.

    PENNY HAIKU #199
    The wind blows over the river fog
    The fog rises to meet the sky
    All wearing bright rainbow bandanas.

    PENNY HAIKU #200
    When I die, know that I’ve
    Lived a while,
    Trying to make everyone smile
    Put on me a bright bandana.
    Before they place me in the fire.
    Out of the crematorium my
    Smoking soul will rise
    Wearing that beloved bandana.

    Author’s Note; Excerpt From: POEMS FOR MY DAUGHTER: PENNY HAIKU
    Circa Summer 2000

  17. .almost always, we end with
    .almost always, we end with an I love you.the morning early songs a nickel a dozen.broken love.budding love.hard love.grateful love.tough love.old love.mirror love.woman love.anxious love.silent love.island love.mean love.sad love.coasting love.winner love.loser love.funny funny love.the rambling notes and prose.expressing love but never specifically.a general appreciation and occasional attraction.nothing like the love of a creator.unapologetic and constant.the holy act.loved for all your years.loved in all ways.forgiven too.for things done and left undone.until the heart cries.alone we is patient.and kind.

  18. Wojciech knows God because
    Wojciech knows God because
    he doesn’t know God

    We’re on a first name basis,
    He’s on my speed dial

    His will is my will.

  19. Mood dark & achy
    Mood dark & achy
    Back atcha
    Reminisce on love
    Wasteland understandings
    Under the table listening
    Living so bright
    Out there on the street
    Watching as I cross
    Being real careful
    Albeit business route 40
    It still is route 40

  20. ..John 441..
    ..John 441..

    terrible terrible, it’s falling from the sky a whole world is looking up helpless roars and smoke across the horizon some poor lost soul was weeping convinced that time was gone sad eyes lonely and scarlet empty like the unforgiven watery like the regretful hands folded together in a seated position elbows on knees chin on the top mind racing His words praying peace john 441

  21. Sunday brunch
    Sunday brunch
    Grumpy faces w/false :)’s
    On CNN
    Reading the dialogue (me)
    French toast, bacon, and eggs
    A screwdriver …a coffee
    No good connection
    Onto Starbucks
    Big mouths on all sides
    Cold outside, smokers lair
    Like machine guns they chatter
    My mocha steaming
    no music?
    Although it would be nice
    Wire waiting
    Show next week
    Better crack that whip

  22. The Cable Guy
    The Cable Guy

    Okay, so this is pretty weird.
    I’m in a video store
    and this guy makes me his sex slave
    by forcing an outlet for a coaxial cable
    into my anus.

    Really, you can’t make this stuff up!

    When plugged in, apparently,
    I’ll be a sort of receiver
    for all of his x-rated fantasies.
    Right from the start,
    I’m somewhat intrigued, yes,
    even turned on.
    Maybe I’m receiving a program already
    and no longer in full control
    of my faculties.
    Who can tell?

    I see myself in a miniskirt and high-heels.
    I find myself getting turned on
    when I think about his promise
    to “complete my installation.”
    I really can’t help myself.

  23. It took a trip around the
    It took a trip around the world to realize
    “living language” isn’t just a cliche.
    But who ever stops to think about
    Just how much a language shapes the world?
    Complex, everchanging, always some exception
    Each one’s an individual with it’s own outlook,
    Own specific way of thinking,
    Protection and exclusion at the same time.
    Is it any wonder how impenetrable the “language barrier” may seem?

    Too bad my equally impenetrable grammar textbook
    Isn’t nearly as alive.

  24. time

    sun sent its ghouls down here
    to spin their yarn
    about our heads
    around our legs
    throughout our bellies
    and across our chests

    and we lame breathless and stupid
    pray for another just
    one more day
    to live

    and night in fear embraces moon
    so moon flushes pale
    fresh milk to nurse them
    star folk

    and drunk stars flyfall in silent
    euphoria – groundless (like smiles
    fall from your lips)

    sun’s ghouls I see
    clearly how they weave
    all the possibilities to drive
    us mad
    about sun light lust
    love life ever

  25. i do this because i don’t
    i do this because i don’t know
    what my smile looks like
    until i see it
    on you

    hide my tears behind your teeth

  26. ..rapid fire hipsters..
    ..rapid fire hipsters..

    .hungry are the wishing upon a star.thirsty are the rainy rainy days.hollow are the featured headliners.glorified are the shining rays of light.nervous are the rapid fire hipsters.lovely are the glowing neon moons.jaded are the rickety old whiners.joyful are the clowns in the rooms.plastered are the stumbling weary lads.floating are the happy go luckys.pitiful are the half a million strangers. lonely are the twisting in the wind.heavy are the hearts that lost their mother.tortured are the fallen folks of time.blinking are the lights of motel windows.charming are the joksters of the hills.bleeding are the souls of desperation.ready are the people in the valley.kneeling are the sinners that repent.

  27. A Condensed Version of Every
    A Condensed Version of Every Epic Russian Novel Ever Written

    “It’s all a procession of ghosts!”
    the Cossack shouts,
    slashing right and left with his sword
    from atop a rearing white horse.
    “People, dogs, birds, the whole lot of it,
    passing from right to left,
    into and out of my life.
    Just drifting smoke from a village
    burning somewhere far away.”

    He proves his theory
    by cutting harmlessly
    through the fog
    of an imaginary St. Petersburg.
    “It’s like a film, but a film
    that can only be shown once, to me,
    an audience of one,
    dissolving as it goes…”

    In a field, alone, I read all this,
    in a book that has taken the shape
    of a towering sunflower,
    its golden petals rippling.

    Seagulls pass overhead
    with small bits of the sea,
    still alive and screaming,
    in their beaks.
    On the velvety soft mud plains
    left behind at low tide,
    a handful of villagers have come out already,
    looking for souvenirs
    from the shipwreck.

    The wind is still strong where the beast has passed.

  28. .my grapes are good.
    .my grapes are good.
    .my wine is better.
    .told me she missed me.
    .wrote me a letter.

    .my body is wrecked.
    .but just for awhile.
    .gonna rise in the morning.
    .honey don’t’ you cry.

    .my grapes are good.
    .but my wine is better.
    .stood on the mountain.
    .told ’em all about it.

  29. .those shaking girls got me
    .those shaking girls got me good.
    .big brown eyes and smooth skins.
    .winks and good evenings and talks.
    .those lips must be soft.
    .those hands must be curious.
    .watching all the time with wondering.
    .stepping carefully and stoic.
    .the aftermath is limiting.
    .any rational analysis confirming.
    .follow that lead and you lose.
    .close the book on one night stands.
    .stand proudly with your woman.
    .in heat or not.
    .lift her up as queen.
    .pull her close at night.

  30. i can stand
    i can stand
    this now
    is good
    work i got
    and summer comes
    to mexico i go
    in june
    buy records
    until then
    saved up some strength
    and my reflection
    i can stand

  31. Still waiting for jack
    Still waiting for jack
    Action up March
    Here at little Caesars
    Where the stars come out
    In the fright
    Glitter eyed bugged
    Followed by their pill poppin
    Paparazzi glued to the wheel
    Saturated by all that camel smoke
    Still waiting for jack
    All the passion play
    As life goes on for hours and daze
    Flow by like Delhi carriages wading
    thru the do waka dew of morn

  32. …skeptical of common
    …skeptical of common thought…

    …starlights in the grey night, shaking the effects of our complete lack of control. impulses directing the actions, alterations ignored and disputed. alternately, we know that our decisions are extremly important and ramifications await to validate the wisdom of those decisions. these ramifications become the reality and decisions made at that point have their own ramifications. and it goes on and on. and on. without an adjustment in the decision making process itself, improvement in the wisdom and eventualities is limited. a good measure is the common sense approach. not all bad, but always be skeptical of common thought. or common theory. or anything common. be a skeptic of success in this world. strengthen your soul first and most consistently. encourage others always. don’t make decisions for other people, except as parent. prior to children turning eighteen. morality is not absolute for everybody. your truth, while true, doesn’t have to be imposed on everybody. or anybody. you cannot convince by force, but it is a matter of convincing. to influence by reason is effective, but reason is relative and tiresome. influence by mockery is perhaps the worst possible way, but one way sadly used in today’s religion wars. the dumb mockers of men. men meaning humanity, which includes women. to be clear. brazen and sloppy fools. the early judgers. the thin skinned. the nervous and uncomfortable. have good sense…

  33. …the glowface generation…
    …the glowface generation…

    …let it be known. document accordingly, credit is due and expected. this declaration serves as my ownership of thought. the phrase glowface generation has been coined. it defines a particular age group to be sure, but one that has grown beyond the common bounds of generational discription. like a virus it spreads, exponential and broad. connection on a global scale. the world is at the fingertips. and the face just glows. hypnotic trances and busy minds. the term, used as a noun, verb, or adjective. what a glowface. she’s glowfacing while driving. the glowfaced room was quiet and cool. that’s a glowface family. the phrasiology opportunities stretch far and wide. through it all the glowfacers are taking over the world. good for them. or good for us, i mean. got a computer in my pocket. cameras and video everywhere. a more mellow generation has never been known. content, but determined. traditional decisions of limits and privacy will have to be reviewed. definitions of writing and content mediums will need another look. the dreaded middlemen will get cut out, desperately dragging as many down with them as possible. i’ll write this about the glowface generation: they ain’t a drag…..copyright/patent/trademarked/2013.

  34. Coming out of
    Coming out of
    ’39 Collossus
    Eve of Great War
    Famine upon dry land
    So many years between
    Yet little changed
    All mighty $ rules
    the night and day
    The get the hell out of “my way!”
    Filthy uncles
    Fathomless bottoms
    Smoke them if you got them’s
    Eyes on the prize
    They thought they were so wise
    In three’s they came
    Playing jazz notes on the land
    No plan
    No scheme
    Perchance to dream

  35. i fit God into my mind
    i fit God into my mind
    like one would fit the Pacific ocean into a coffee cup

    my love is not enough

  36. dagd
    all the cardinals are in town, the flashbulbs do confirm.
    gonna pick pick a pope today, til Jesus Christ returns.

    angel armies rise to meet this holy man.
    gotta dress just right, to lead this wayward clan.

    white smoke gets hazy,
    church folks go crazy,
    stole all the daisys,
    you know the fix is in.

    God already decided the way it all would go.
    long time before, the white robes picked the pope.

    hope the Spirit loves him and listens to his prayers.
    hope he leads his church to the God that we all share.

    white smoke gets hazy,
    church folks go crazy,
    stole all the daisys,
    you know the fix is in.

  37. Conversations with Great Men
    Conversations with Great Men

    Emerson was bitter.
    We were fighting our way
    through a weed-choked lot when,
    hoping to break the ice,
    I admitted that I’d tried to re-read Walden
    at least four times over the last year
    and never managed to get through it.
    I specifically used the word
    “turgid” a few times.
    He took the bait.

    The weeds in this part of the lot
    were grown clear over our heads.
    I nearly lost Ralph Waldo
    a couple of times—in fact,
    high-strung and touchy
    as he was about the subject at hand,
    he was one misinterpreted word
    from stalking off through the phlox.

    I ventured a light joke.
    “We sure could use that ax
    he borrowed about now, eh?”

    “That ax was none too sharp
    when he brought it back,
    I can tell you that,” Emerson snapped back,

    Hmm. I said nothing for a time.
    This is a country where the king sits
    untouchable on high
    and the poor hobble through the blizzard
    on homemade crutches.
    Even Starbucks stays open
    later than the Church.
    Where is sanctuary…where?
    And this is progress?
    These aren’t the Dark Ages?

    “It’s that one line,” I suggest,
    “about most men living lives
    of quiet desperation.”

    Emerson, in his stiff, high-collared
    Transcendentalist suit,
    is overdressed for the stifling weather,
    but his long, lean face
    doesn’t even break a sweat.

    “Bet you a nickel it’s the only line
    anyone ever remembers.”

    He might be right.
    This is a culture of sound-bytes, after all.
    You have to be pithy to be topical.
    I tactfully pass over in silence
    any mention of R.W.’s own line
    about the hobgoblins of little minds
    or that whole embarrassing bit
    about giant transparent eyeballs…
    it’s hard to blame a great author
    for not foreseeing a time
    when Dan Brown
    would be considered literature.

    “Self-reliance was a good idea,” I say,
    hoping to cheer him up.

    He blows a dismissive raspberry. “Oh please.
    I should have advised buying lottery tickets.
    Worked out formulas for the Pick-6.
    Government grants, bailouts,
    the great white hand from the clouds…
    isn’t that what everyone wants,
    isn’t that what it’s come to?
    Dirt and tickles, American Idols,
    that’s what it’s all about,
    tell me it isn’t.
    Tell me I’ve got it wrong.”

    Who am I to say anything?
    Thank god, up ahead I see the end
    of the lot. Somehow
    we’ve managed to stumble onto a path
    out of this tangled mess.
    It’s the sun itself, I think,
    sitting in a white cloud,
    that is the god-given wealth
    we’re really searching for.
    That’s why we’re always looking for free stuff.
    The golden light,
    which costs no one anything,
    free for one and all,
    has set expectations too high.
    That’s the problem.
    It’s set a bad example for all of history.

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