Tuesday, June 14, 2011

mofo' rises again--a new poem

the beautiful
fucked-up man
is at it again:
having risen
once again,
he sits
at the keyboard,
writes another
peanut butter
at his side,
his woman
and a child
just this side
of womanhood
to beat
the band.

it’s another day
of ‘I love you’s’
and misbegotten
another day
that the sun shines
on the just
and the unjust;
another day,
just to get
a few more words
down on paper,
just to
another day,
so as
not to feel
like another day’s
been wasted.

a mofo
will not be
to mundane
and on-the-job
will not be
by the whims
of others
who think
they know
better than
a caged bird,
a mofo’s
gotta sing,
even if
it is
only on paper;
even if
no one else
sees it.
other than
the love
of a good woman
and a child
more talented
than he,
other than
the camaderie
of a few good
and the
of family;
maybe even
other than
the unmitigated
of a
silent God,
it’s the only
fucking reason
to rise
and face
another day.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

for your eyes only--a new poem

your perception
of my reality
is an
you are
by the mote
in your left eye
and the
blurred vision
in your right;
you can’t
handle the truth
of me;
you need
to go
back to school,
where I will
be your teacher
and learn
you some knowledge,
cause clearly
you’ve not
been educated.

what you have
before you
is a
of multitudes;
the culmination
of blood spilt
and wisdom
passed down
from centuries;
the sum total
of what
a village
can produce.

for truth will
only be
spoken once
and if
you miss it,
you have
no one
to blame
but yourself.
you’ve been
duly notified
and put
on record
for being
what should
be obvious.
if you
the meaning
of these
you are
if in fact,
you are reading
I will
give you
more credit
you deserve,
for this,
first lesson,
which hereby,
is now
until further

© 2011 Joseph Powell

this is what's real--a new poem

I haven’t given up the ghost
just yet.
I’m a poet
in an age
of fake reality
I’m more liable
to be killed
in an accident
on the 405
than I am
for speaking
truth to power
with the stroke
of my pen.
no one
gives a damn
about the beauty
in the ugliness
of poetry—
it’s a fool’s
quixotic quest;
and yet
here I still am,
my ink-ed sword
at windmills
both real
and imagined.
even fools
have to be
some time.

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Word Was And Still Is God

"and you can't force the word
to do anything it doesn't
want to do.
you can't overwork it.
and you can't awaken it
when it decides to

"the word will treat you well
at times,
depending upon what you
ask it to
other times, it will treat
you badly
no matter what you ask
it to

"the word comes and

Charles Bukowski
from his poem, "the word"

"Anyone who says he wants to be a writer and isn't writing, doesn't."

--Ernest Hemingway

I am writing to save my life. The reason probably why I feel that I am suffocating is that I'm not writing. Writing should be as breathing to me. It's all about the word, stupid. Even God said it--"In the beginning was the Word." The word was and still is God. It's the lifeblood of any writer worth his or her salt. There is nothing else. There's no reason not to be writing. No one else is going to do it for me. No one else is going to push me to do it. I have to be the one to cut the vein; to puke out my guts; to exhale. Whether it takes me all day(what a glorious possibility I wish that was) or an hour or even 10 minutes, there is no excuse. None! I should be prolific. I could be prolific. Even if a lot of it is just crap, I should be utilizing every possible space available to get the word out. Whether it's in prose form or free verse. I should be consumed by the same fire that allowed me to make up three months worth of journal entries in a week and a half's time for a class project. Be reminded of the young man who frequently visited the student lounge of the University of Illinois-Chicago Circle campus just to jot down his thoughts and impressions. Be infused with the same inspiration that caused me to write such poems as "Apple and Rose", "A Hymn For Sister Maya", and "Resolved: To Be Seen And Heard". If not directly influenced by their genius, at the very least, motivated by the output and prolificacy of writers such as Baldwin and Bukowski, Hemingway and Shakespeare, et al. Compelled by the very notion that God in His infinite foolishness decided to bestow upon a wretch like me the talent to string together a few words into some kind of coherent shape. And even though I, like most writers, will continue to strive to make my words available for public consumption, that will not be the be-all, end-all for my writing. If another living soul never, ever sees my words, so be it. I am a writer, dammit! If I had a chalkboard at my disposal to write upon it 100 times or a billboard to post it, I would convey this truth. As much as I am a son, a brother, a husband, a father(the degree to which how good I am at each of these, you'd have to ask those who benefit from these roles), I am a writer and I sum up by humbly acknowledging that I believe I'm only as good as the willingness and effort to be one.

A Poem For Bukowski--A New Poem

A Poem For Bukowski

hey, Hank—
this is me
not trying;
putting one word
after another
after another;
keeping it simple,
shooting it straight.

maybe not
like you did—
I didn’t have
a whiskey bottle
or even a
beer bottle
next to me
as I write
just the desire
to put it
all down
whether anybody
cares to read it
or not.

I don’t even know
if you would
have read it
or not
when you were
even then,
it wouldn’t have
you always said,
it’s all about
the words
and as with you,
for me,
that is

© 2011 Joseph Powell

Not Just A Passing Phase--A New Poem

Not Just A Passing Phase
(for Santi)

the girl-child
has become
a woman
right before
our very eyes.
it was expected,
but it still surprises.
that’s what time
does, even
when you’re not looking.

she has graduated
from one phase
to the next
and seemingly
unknown one.
she will put away
childish things;
but hopefully,
not the child
we’ve known
and loved
all these years
as she becomes
the woman
we will get
to know
and learn
even more.

© 2011 Joseph Powell