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Walking My Dog During a Florida Thunderstorm

The rainclouds appear as a puffy silk shelf

from which gray garland cotton balls hang

from the saturated swollen sky

like ribbons of Christmas tree ornaments.

Cracks of thunder crackle with

flashes of lightning streaks that explode,

light up the darkness in flames

like oil and water sizzling in a frying pan.

A spectacle of blue spears

slice the sparkling heavens

illuminate the water-logged particles,

like dancing minstrels parading the engorged highway.

All this,

while my dog pissed and shit.

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Azaleas and Wild Onions



I’m in my Azalea bed digging out – again – wild onions that continue to
multiply there year after year.
When a hawk flew into the house and was killed
I buried her in this bed,
rested her on dried Sage,
planted an Azalea next to her,
placed a beautiful stone over her plot.
And the pungent wild onions grew.
When my brother died, Mom and I scattered his ashes
in a hidden clearing in the woods behind her house.
We planted Azaleas to adorn the earth
next to a beautiful stone I placed on his plot.
And the pungent wild onions grew.
Sometimes the sorrowful fragrance of this planet’s progeny is just too much.
Year after year I’ve uprooted the sad scented things.
I’ve covered them over with heavy mulch – leaves and bark-
so the sun can’t warm them, I believe,
so they can’t grow bigger, I think,
so they can’t multiply, I hope.
Still in the spring, wretchedness again grows up around the bushes of pink and purple joy.
Then I discovered I could eat them –
those tart, toothsome, allium canadense.
So now, I snack on them while weeding,
knowing that ants farm aphids, and flowers seduce bees
because they live in mutual symbiotic relationship.
And if I eat bitters, sweetness will by and by appear on my plate
from the soil of the One Earth
from the One Garden.
Where grow both wild onions and Azaleas.




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Three Poems - Karen Corinne Herceg

 A Thin Season

(For a young man beheaded for listening to Western pop tunes

in his father's grocery store)

It is a thin season

culling the air of blue breath

choked sudden as a sword

at the throat of a young infidel

the forbidden pop tune of his innocence

still playing in the annals

of his thoughts

kneeling, repetitive, insistent

as the accusations of the faithful

who behead him

on an afternoon like any other

clouds rising

in a decimation of distance

between the neck and heaven.

Isis goddess of love, the moon,

magic and fertility,

a healing sister of deities

daughter of earth and sky,

twists in a massacre

of celestial delusions

bearing the severed body

back to the arms that bore him,

the one who will hear music

no more. here ...


Autumn Waits

The day screams colder

presuming bare

desperate winter trees.

Leaves bleed out colors,

sap freezing in their veins,

skies running bleak.

I build fires

against a frigid

unforgiving horizon,

fabricating warmer hope,

when climate will not mirror

the measure of my soul,

dictate rhythms of desires,

the direction of spirit.

When melting or igniting

will not be issues

within the waiting.


Feline Intensity

She regards him

with a feline intensity

the pierce of question

disguised as bravado

fake it 'till you make it

says the swish of the tail

the come hither

bait and switch love trap

that knows you want it

so she gives it

hoarding triumph

like a flag

raised

while gazing in the moist aftermath

her sleek eyes following sky-framed rooftops

that keep reaching.

Cats never look hurt:

just indignant.

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Jewel Weed

The jewel weed is blooming 

In the late summer field. 

It's strangely sad that sweltering days 

are coming to a chilly end, 

Like a love affair that smolders 

with desires and resentments, 

Kept in teetering balance 

Till the tipping point comes sure as bills. 

And what once filled the dancing heart 

Now spills ashes on the floor. 

But while the jewel weed still blooms, 

The lingering high sun brings to blossom 

what could be, 

Then rolls downhill to the icy cold 

of what will be.  

(8/22/15 JM)

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The Book Faire


The book faire is a distraction.
Why would I leave an early
Summer morning of soft breezes
through my window;
gentle piano from the radio,
a Blue Jay's rescue from
sentimental memory;
the heavy burden of capturing
the plight of the charmed
and the damned—
rendering these hours of wealth
worthy of my attention,
with half of my life achieved,
to walk into a weekend carnival
of colour, food, and noise;
leaving money—earned from
my strange morning meditation,
for bound collections of ideas
scribed by other minds,
when I have hundreds
in my garret already?
The book faire is my destination.


-Robert Milby
July 2, 2016


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Jazz Is Me

The sax player blows upbeat soulful notes
The bass player punctuates the air with staccato beats
The drummer's drum brushes scratches the skins softly
The trumpeter's muted wa wa's is a stiffled laugh
Accompanying the pianist tickling the ivories.
Fingers snap to the scat and feet stomp ready to romp
Jazz is an exorcism of the mundane
An eclectic at times hectic proliferation
Of improvised mastery of a music artistry
Eclectic as it may be it has always appealed to me.
The greatness of Miles, Coltrane and Count Basie,
Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie
And so very talented more.
Jazz for the rich and the poor
Black and white.
Jazz is me without the blues
Aaahh Blues, that's a whole new poem...

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Teachings

My mother taught me to walk in heels.
She didn't teach me to kick.

My mother taught me to smile.
She didn't teach me to question.

My mother taught me to be alone.
She didn't teach me solitude.

My mother taught me vanity.
She didn't like me.

My father encouraged my independence.
He didn't like rebellion.

My father encouraged my talents.
He discouraged my direction.

My father made me listen.
His voice buried mine.

My father made me eat.
He did not feed me.

My brother brought the world home.
I wasn't allowed in his room.

My brother wrote for the college paper.
I wrote for myself.

My brother went to Paris.
I defended against men on the subway.

My brother argued with my father.
I watched.

My parents held to monogamy.
I learned to suffocate need.

My parents held to thrift.
I learned to turn off want.

My sister took care of my mother.
My mother took care of my father.
My father taught Gabriela to sing.
Gabriela bought me a dress.

I took care not to cause trouble.
Trouble took me in.

Trouble took me in
so quietly, I thought it listened.

Trouble took me in
so softly, I thought it was love.

Trouble took me in
with such a thrill, I thought I was free.

Trouble took me in
so deftly, there was no choice.

Trouble has a gnarled face -
Unmasked now, it unravels.

I continue to follow
dazed, hidden
I await the infant to kick.

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jane street (our tellings)

Jane Street (our tellings)

 They all wanted to fuck me
on Jane Street but didn't.
Such was the luck
of the brotherly type.
A witness to women
learning to walk
along the Rockaway sand.

Playing them Dusty. Joni. Laura.
Our voices rising to the sky
black w/worry. Intrigue. Late periods
and trouble at home. Manhattan dying.
The Bronx afire. The autumns
in Washington Square.

We talked to the city and
the city talked back.
Whispered us secrets
and lies. And truths that later
proved true.

They all wanted to fuck me
on Jane Street but didn't.
Such was the luck
of the brotherly type and
some pangs still play
in our tellings today.
Certainly sickness. Certainly death.
Certainly the tides, high and low and
who did who on Jane Street.

       
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CAPS @ The Vinyl Room, 2656 E. Main, Wappingers Falls, NY January 17, 7-9pm

We're pleased to report that Calling All Poets Series is expanding once again with a new Open Mic reading series at The Vinyl Room, 2656 E. Main Street, Wappingers Falls, NY. John Kilhner, the owner of The Vinyl Room, offers a warm, welcoming venue with wine, local beers, and coffee. Myael Simpson, an associate of Duchess County Poet Laureate Poet Gold, will be our new host. We're hoping to encourage dialogue between the open mic participants, to establish a type of poetry salon.

Please bring your voice, words, and friends. There is a $3.00 suggested donation.

Join the event Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/callingallpoetsseries/photos/a.1461334544105957.1073741836.1403907129848699/1972088693030537/?type=1&theater

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ReCAPS 2017

2017 was a year of long visualized, creative realizations for our Calling All Poets Series. And I'd like to take a few moments recounting them and hopefully give you all an idea what the future holds for the Hudson Valley's longest running poetry performance series.

In August, after being rent chased from Beacon after nearly sixteen years, we celebrated the start of our second full year at Roost Studios and Art Gallery in New Paltz. But oddly, and perhaps in an ironic twist only the creative muses could perpetrate, it was Beacon, at Quinn's Resturant, that welcomed us back to CAPS hometown with two (February and July) SRO, trailblazing performances of Jazzoetry, a vibrant and visceral fusion of jazz, poetry, and rhythm and blues. Special thanks to all at Quinn's, especially Che Pizaro, Tom Schmitz, George Spafford, and James Keepnews. Featuring six of the Valley's truly gifted and incomparable jazz players, the Jazzoetry Quartet - bassist Robert Kopec, piano/keyboardists Joe Tranchina and Neil Alexander, sax and reeds man Eric Person and soundscapist Dean Sharp and drummer T. Xiques - laid down the groove, the swing, the funk and the ska behind Dutchess County Poet Laureate Poet Gold, Suffolk County Poet Laureate George Wallace, CAPS stalwarts Jim Eve, Glenn Werner, Penny Brodie, (host of WVKR's Mingus Moments and widow to the Valley's own jazz legend and mentor Hugh Brodie) Terence Chiesa; special guests Rev. Evelyn Clarke, Esther Taylor Evans; American Songbook stylist and Executive Director of the Maverick Chamber Concerts Kitt Potter (Kitt's been instrumental and an invaluable source of energy for much of CAPS recent activity) many diverse open mic'ers, and yours truly. Then, on October 31st, with the full exuberance of Tony Falco at The Falcon in Marlboro, CAPS presented JazzQuerade, a Halloween-themed revue that had Kopec, Tranchina, and T. Xiques returning as a trio to support Kitt singing "I Put A Spell On You" and "Witchcraft" among others, Poet Gold, Westchester's own musical gift and creative arts mogul Steve Worthy, Lady Esther Gin, actor/storyteller Steve Jones, and a reunion of the poetry, politics 'n pathos mid-90's duo New Nervous Voice (actually Steve Worthy and your humble narrator.) Watch the CAPS website - www.callingallpoets.net - for future Jazzoetry dates.

Speaking of the CAPS website, Greg Correll, a brilliant writer, artist, and web designer who graciously and egolessly oversees and maintains the site, was recently awarded a CUNY fellowship and is studying under many of most respected editors in publishing. While I'm at it, let's shout-out props to the many CAPS members and supporters who have had books published this last year, including Irene O'Garden, Hudson Valley's grand saint of poetry, Don Lev, Catherine Arra, Dr. Lucia Cherciu, Matthew J. Spireng, Rebecca Schmejda, and me. And let's not forget Cheryl A. Rice and Ken Holland who placed first and second respectively in the Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Awards and Raphael Kosek for winning the Bacopa Literary Review's nonfiction prize for her "Caregiver's Journal: How to Survive or Not."

And while we're recapping CAPS triumphant return to Beacon, June began CAPS run on the Towne Crier Cafe's Main Street Stage for a monthly program entitled #wordsmusicdialogue, a strikingly new twist on the traditional poetry reading/open mic format. Featuring two writers and one singer/songwriter (the past six programs have highlighted such names as Emmy and Golden Globe nominee and novelist John Leonard Pielmeier, memoirist Dara Lurie, award winning poets Mary Makofske, Roger Aplon, and Nepalese poet Yuyutsu Sharma; Beacon Poet Laureate Tony Pena, and singer/songwriters RoseAnne Fino, Kurt Henry, Marc Von Em, Judith Tulloch, Jim Coyle, and Slambovia's own Joziah Longo) Each artist performs for thirty minutes then discusses their art and craft with an audience always ready with questions. Special thanks to Phil Ciganer and Vickie Rabin for making this unique performance/salon a success.

Early in 2017 Calling All Poets Series was approached by Michael Sussman, the Valley's long crusading civil rights attorney, to help advocate for creative expression and establish an open forum in Ellenville, one of the growing number of Hudson Valley towns suffering under the weight of America's harsh and crushing economic injustice. For several months, Empowering Ellenville was home to a CAPS open mic every second Friday. Unfortunately, the program closed in August, but that has not stopped Calling All Poets from reaching out to our neighbors in Orange and Sullivan Counties. We want to hear from you. Your voice matters as much, if not more so, then any so called Presidential tweet. Let's make it happen.

Back to New Paltz at Roost Studios and poetry marathons featuring several professors and their students from SUNY New Paltz. Props to Creative Writing Director Pauline Uchmanowicz, Lecturer Larry Carr, and Professor Jan Schmidt for their continued support. In May, globally admired poet and retired Vassar professor Eamon Grennan, inaugurated The CAPS Masters Series with a brilliant and compelling evening of poetry and discussion. ARToetry, The Ekphrasis Exhibit - debuted in September. A visual/poetic collaboration between CAPS and Roost Studios,
spotlighting ten members from each ascendent organization working together to create a fuller discussion of the creative process and exchange of ideas. Marcia Cole, David Wilkes, Louisa Finn, Mary Newell, Tom Delooza, were just some of the participants. The Ekphrasis Exhibit has long been an idea that our VP, Glenn Werner had envisioned, and we would like to thank Roost Director Marcy Bernstein for being open to and genuinely excited by the idea and seeing it through. ARToetry - The Ekphrasis Exhibit book will be available by early 2018 through CAPS Press.

While we're all concerned about the cruel and crude de-evolution of America's heart and soul, when your family and community reaches from Brooklyn to Albany, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, there is bound to be, despite the many successes shared and mentioned previously, some glitch, some disappointments. 2017 had a couple of those for CAPS, but we look forward to 2018 to unify our voices to create the unity our country needs now more than ever. After all, if we can't talk to each other, how do we speak to, and for, the greater whole?


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/callingallpoetsseries/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbTkXI6QILPcHY8PDuhC0xg
 

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