Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tony Renner Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, April 27


Tony Renner will be one of the featured readers at Chance Operation's 5th anniversary reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 27. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Also featured will be Sean Arnold, Christy Callahan, Julia Gordon-Bramer, and Stefene Russell.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic between our featured readers.

Tony Renner is a late bloomer. He returned to writing poetry in 2009 when, after he ran out of the poems he had written as a high school student in 1978 to post on a blog, he began writing new poems so that he could post a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month. He has been published in Bad Shoe, A Handful of Stones, and Troubadour 21.
The Wedding Dress

He had moved his mother's wedding dress
time after time, from apartment to
apartment, city to city

Friend to friend, lover to lover

Until we found him hanging
A white apparition in a candlelit room
Acrid myrrh failing to mask the death-stench of shit

"A fruit on a loop," the cop called him.

-- Tony Renner

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stefene Russell Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, April 27

,

Stefene Russell will be one of the featured readers at Chance Operation's 5th anniversary reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 27. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Also featured will be Sean Arnold, Christy Callahan, Julia Gordon-Bramer, and Tony Renner.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic between our featured readers.

Stefene Russell is St. Louis Magazine's Culture Editor and a member of Poetry Scores, an arts collective that translates poetry into other media. She is also the author of Go South For Animal Index (2007) and Inferna (2013).
Keyhole: Emergency Mockingbird

She sings one thousand songs a night.
She sings the blurry fretting of night doves.
She sings stuck hinges, worrying in their own way,
and the dog testing his bark in the cold dusk.

She’s all small gray birds, the ones you spy
peripheral
tail seesawing the fence-line
as you sift through mail on the porch.

When the summer climbs its sine curve
of heat, and the lawn begins to singe—
the season you can never sleep—she
sits on the roof, singing to you, the same tune
over and over: that one
about someone stealing your car.

She remembers your face, even on days
when you don’t. She is up on the phone pole,
watching you curse your garbagey life
when you lock keys in the car.
Maybe she cares. Maybe she’s afraid
you’ll trash the whole world,
and her, unlucky enough to be around
when you do it.

-- Stefene Russell

Julia Gordon-Bramer Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, April 27


Julia Gordon-Bramer will be one of the featured readers at Chance Operation's 5th anniversary reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 27. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Also featured will be Sean Arnold, Christy Callahan, Stef Russell, and Tony Renner.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic between our featured readers.

Julia Gordon-Bramer is a professional tarot card reader, writer, and scholar of Sylvia Plath. Her book, Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath will be out this year with Stephen F. Austin State University Press and can be ordered on Amazon now. In 2013, the Riverfront Times called her St. Louis’ Best Local Poet.
Anthony Bourdain, I hate you.

You, and your layovers, the sixty-
minute getaways to the farthest
limits of Somewhere with no reservations, surrounded
by all the hippest people I will never meet.
Dude, your steely curls are bringing me down,
mussed just right, you are a head and shoulders
higher than everyone, donning shiny
suits, or casually rumpled in Ralph Lauren.
Oh, Anthony, Arbiter of Taste, I hate
your punk rock background,
your Discovery budget, your street cred,
your throaty cleverness, the savage
similes off your tongue. I hate
your Boys’ Club as you bite
underbelly bits and parts unknown
of poor skewered beasts. You: flesh-eater,
bone slurper, booze sucking snob,
with your glory stories of hangovers
fueled by foolish foreign women
smiling from back in the kitchen, stirring
mixing bowls close against their ample hearts.
Anthony Bourdain, I hate
your cigarette smoke as it jets off and away
like curls of skywriting from your pouty lips.
You are not pretty, yet the world is your mirror,
flattering as you simulate your spicy jerk
chicken adventures. Oh, Satan of gravy,
grease, and cheese curd. Sipping scummy broth,
an oily smile hides those white shark teeth.
Goddamnit, Bourdain! Why do you fascinate me?

I am as guilty of watching as the rest, and yet
I have been on the other side of reality
TV. I see the cameramen coaching
its suave illusion toward the next visual lie:
I see the retakes with more oomph; the pretend
sleep and pseudo-conversations; the false
temporary friends. Let’s get confidential,
Anthony Bourdain: if I confess I love your life,
does this mean I must love you?
Will you tell me who you really are, and
am I cool enough
to come along too?

--Julia Gordon-Bramer

Christy Callahan Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, April 27

Photo by Sam Davis

Christy Callahan will be one of the featured readers at Chance Operation's 5th anniversary reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 27. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Also featured will be Sean Arnold, Julia Gordon-Bramer, Stef Russell, and Tony Renner.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic between our featured readers.

Christy Callahan earned her Bachelor of Social Work and MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her poetry has been featured in publications such as LitMag, Bellerive, and Bad Shoe. She has read her work in Galway, Ireland, and locally at the Archive, Dressel’s, and as a featured reader at Chance Operations, Open Mic Night at the Inn, Poems, Prose & Pints, and Second Friday Notes reading series. Christy has recently been chosen as a Des Lee Scholar and an honorable mention in the 2012 James H. Nash Poetry Contest.

Campus Coffee

On Friday, my husband boards a plane for Missouri,
honeymoon shifting to a semester abroad.
I stare out the window of my Galway hostel,
and if I squint enough, I can see him return.

I lay on my bed’s patterned quilt,
hand-sewn edges tattered and fraying,
and coil myself into a dream.

When sleep no longer charms,
I sit on the stoop with the landlord’s
cat, watching pigeons dethroning
one another from the streetlight.

By Sunday, I am tired of sleeping,
and my dreams are starting to contain
more pigeons than people.

When my phone fails to find my husband
I walk one block left, return to the stoop,
then one block right, eyes on the streetlight,
pigeons volunteering as tour guides of Galway.

On Monday, I tell the pigeons it’s time
and walk three blocks past the roundabout
to my summer apartment at Gort na Coiribe.

Wednesday morning I walk in windy rain
across the bridge that passes a dilapidated
tower house, a smile tugging my left cheek
as I picture myself crawling through its rubble.

The first day of class still makes my palms sweat.

On Friday, the pigeons develop a buddy system to trigger
the automatic doors of the university, stroll to the café,
and order white chocolate banana mochas, shooting me a wink.

-- Christy Callahan

Sean Arnold Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, April 27

Sean Arnold will be one of the featured readers at Chance Operation's 5th anniversary reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 27. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Also featured will be Christy Callahan, Julia Gordon-Bramer, Stef Russell, and Tony Renner.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic between our featured readers.

Sean Arnold lives in St. Louis across the street from the Botanical Gardens in an apartment with his lovely girlfriend and their dog and cat.

He recently published his fourth chapbook “Soliloquy From a Freight Yard: An Open Fall Window”. This is the final season/book in his “Soliloquy From a Freight Yard” series based around the seasons and freight yard romanticisms.

Sean is taking a final attempt at his undergrad in creative writing at Webster University. He is the former host and co-organizer of Voices From the Underground and Casinotown poetry readings. His poetics have been set to folk music, electronic music, hip-hop, and everything in between.

OH! The Wheat!
all those dates
and pictures
and apps.
-- weird the way myths have always reinforced and combated the hyperreal.
all those screenshots and toocool avatars
like bob marley playing from a youtube page
on a tv hooked up to a bluray player and
pandora.
and a department store in wichita kansas
with kevin kidwell
or a steak n shake in ofallon beside the blockbuster
across from the gasmart
with my old friend who joined the marines.
--and so i think, all
the st louis anarchists
were out of touch
with folks who ride motorcycles.
somewhere the wolves are howling
in an unfettered wilderness. i know,
for i have been there.
ill text you soon homie,
--here we stand
like germs of wheat
blown by the wind.
-- Sean Arnold

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mae Soule Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, March 30


Mae Soule will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, March 30.

Also featured will be Robert Earlywine, and Carole Cohen.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Mae Soule is a poet, singer, songwriter and single mother from St. Louis. Raised within the extended family of literary, musical and eclectic bohemian artists of 1970's inner city St. Louis, she was the youngest member of the Soulard Culture Squad literary group and attended CASA Midtown, St. Louis Conservatory and School for the Arts, for dance and drama. Mae received her BA in English, with an emphasis in creative writing from Coe College, where she was Poetry Editor of the Coe Review. Her poems have been published in several Midwestern and local journals and she has two poetry collections: As Blue As I Can Be and Wash Line. Additionally, she has performed her writing in spoken word modern dance compositions, multi-media performance art and slam poetry competitions in Iowa and New York City.
Pawn Shop Whore/Common Measure

There was a time when she swore
she'd never go back, but want
broke the spirit she had made her
hot back, shoot some and flaunt.

She thought she was cool brick
red as cherries, but she blew it
baked her brains on spoon sugar
lost out on faith, cashed blanks and lit.

Flew straight fast and blacked
found out she'd been fucked up the ass
she walks crooked, axed her neck
fat with blue swells, blood mass.

-- Mae Soule

Monday, March 23, 2015

Carole Cohen Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, March 30


Carole Cohen will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, March 30.

Also featured will be Robert Earlywine, and Mae Soule.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Carole Cohen graduated from University of Missouri St. Louis, and was former poetry editor for Boulevard. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, among which are Cape Rock, Madison Review, Ascent, Sou’wester, Margie, and Spoon River Poetry Review. She has also had her Door poem series featured a the Mary Tomas Gallery in Dallas, where artists interpreted her poems in mixed media. She has also appeared in several anthologies. She has published two books, Restless Beauty and The World Arranged.

Recital

Through the late afternoon fog,
I can see branches of trees
swaying, conducted by light breezes.
Thin, arthritic fingers
play clouds like a piano.
Falling leaves swirl,
musical notes fall gently,
calming the water.

A lake serene and intent
as an audience listening
to a Bach concerto, concentrating
on every note, absorbing
each fallen leaf onto its surface.

Night drops in, music fades out,
the concert over
until the next performance,
ushered in by the raucous calls
of morning herons.

-- Carole Cohen

Robert Earlywine Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, March 30


Robert Earlywine will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, March 30.

Also featured will be Carole Cohen, and Mae Soule.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Robert Earleywine earned his MFA in Fiction from Washington University in 1980 where he has been teaching fiction writing and literature since 1983. In 2001, he was awarded the Dean's Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and Service to University College. During the Vietnam Era he served as an Air Police Sentrydog Handler, but in Southern California. He has worked as a shoe salesman, bartender, and high school teacher in the inner city. He has also taught at Forest Park Community College, Webster University, St.Louis University and Lindenwood University.

In 1972 he co-authored, with Edward James Scannell, a book of short stories and poems entitled In the Big Sky's Mouth. He has published fiction, non fiction and poetry. His short stories have appeared in Epoch, Webster Review, Delmar, Natural Bridge, and Scintilla Press. His story "Fido the Talking Dog" is included in an anthology of St. Louis writers called Under the Arch.

Children’s voices from the schoolyard
call me to my windows. High up here
from my third floor they look small and far,
all looking up and yelling
at the big dark cloud over their heads
as the wind spins fallen leaves up,
wind swooping dead leaves, swirling
together up from the ground
and the kids distant voices babbling
while they wait for the wind to
twirl them, too, up and away
while teachers’ voices call for order.

-- Robert Earlywine

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Catherine Rankovic Featured Reader on Monday, February 23, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Catherine Rankovic will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, February 23.

Also featured will be Matthew Freeman.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Catherine Rankovic is the author of five books including Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis, Fierce Consent and Other Poems, and the new chapbook Hide and Sex, her first poetry collection in ten years. Catherine has an M.A. from Syracuse University and an M.F.A. from Washington University and has taught poetry and creative nonfiction writing in St. Louis since 1989, currently in the online M.F.A. program at Lindenwood University. Her essays and poems have appeared in December, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Boulevard, River Styx, Umbrella, The Progressive, Natural Bridge, Gulf Coast, other journals, and four anthologies.
Micropenis

I pretended not to notice.
It wasn’t a lot to work with.
We worked with it insofar
And with energy and compensatory strategies
Already in his repertoire.
We worked the sheets off the bed.
Near checkout time when he wouldn’t be offended
I said, “This is Klaus. He was made in Germany.
This is Buzz. This is Skippy the Second,
And this is The Bunny. He was very expensive.”
He said, “Do you have a preference?”
I should have said right then
"Let's go out for fried catfish" and ended this.

-- Catherine Rankovic

Monday, February 16, 2015

Matthew Freeman Featured Reader on Monday, February 23, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Matthew Freeman will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, February 23.

Also featured will be Catherine Rankovic.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Matthew Freeman woke up and found he was falling when as a teenager his football coach got him into Dylan Thomas and a dear girl friend introduced him to the romantics. So began a wild journey which would leave him expelled from school and committed to an asylum, and diagnosed with schizophrenia. After bouncing in and out of hospitals and drunk tanks he finally began his recovery. He has had four books published and has graduated from Saint Louis University, where he was awarded the Montesi prize, and is now an MFA student at the University of Missouri St. Louis, where he was awarded the Graduate Prize in poetry.
Lake Woeishere

When I hear Garrison Keilor talk about Lutherans
in that light comedic kitsch
on pusillanimous public radio
amid the seemingly knowing chuckles
of fat farts in the audience—
oh my lord can you imagine someone
taking a date there?—I myself
don’t laugh but get ever angry
because this guy doesn’t know anything at all
about Martin Luther or Lutherans.

You’re not a real Lutheran until
you’ve walked on your knees up the stairs of a monastery
flagellating yourself with a bitter whip
on each step ten times
over guilt at having glimpsed
the subtle bare momentary wrist
of a heavily-clothed maiden
in a congregation of stone Catholics.

-- Matthew Freeman

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Julia Gordon-Bramer Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, January 26


Julia Gordon-Bramer will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 26.

Also featured will be Jane Ellen Ibur and Robert Nazarene.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Julia Gordon-Bramer is a professional tarot card reader, writer, and scholar of Sylvia Plath. Her book, Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath will be out this year with Stephen F. Austin State University Press and can be ordered on Amazon now. In 2013, the Riverfront Times called her St. Louis’ Best Local Poet.
Anthony Bourdain, I hate you.

You, and your layovers, the sixty-
minute getaways to the farthest
limits of Somewhere with no reservations, surrounded
by all the hippest people I will never meet.
Dude, your steely curls are bringing me down,
mussed just right, you are a head and shoulders
higher than everyone, donning shiny
suits, or casually rumpled in Ralph Lauren.
Oh, Anthony, Arbiter of Taste, I hate
your punk rock background,
your Discovery budget, your street cred,
your throaty cleverness, the savage
similes off your tongue. I hate
your Boys’ Club as you bite
underbelly bits and parts unknown
of poor skewered beasts. You: flesh-eater,
bone slurper, booze sucking snob,
with your glory stories of hangovers
fueled by foolish foreign women
smiling from back in the kitchen, stirring
mixing bowls close against their ample hearts.
Anthony Bourdain, I hate
your cigarette smoke as it jets off and away
like curls of skywriting from your pouty lips.
You are not pretty, yet the world is your mirror,
flattering as you simulate your spicy jerk
chicken adventures. Oh, Satan of gravy,
grease, and cheese curd. Sipping scummy broth,
an oily smile hides those white shark teeth.
Goddamnit, Bourdain! Why do you fascinate me?

I am as guilty of watching as the rest, and yet
I have been on the other side of reality
TV. I see the cameramen coaching
its suave illusion toward the next visual lie:
I see the retakes with more oomph; the pretend
sleep and pseudo-conversations; the false
temporary friends. Let’s get confidential,
Anthony Bourdain: if I confess I love your life,
does this mean I must love you?
Will you tell me who you really are, and
am I cool enough
to come along too?

--Julia Gordon-Bramer

Jane Ellen Ibur Featured Reader on Monday, January 26, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Jane Ellen Ibur will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 26.

Also featured will be Robert Nazarene and Julia Gordon-Bramer.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Jane Ellen Ibur is the author of Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’ published by PenUltimate Press. Her award winning poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She has won much recognition as an Arts Educator with over 30 years experience teaching writing in public schools, jails, museums, residential schools, social service agencies, veterans, homeless men. Lead Faculty for the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute, she is one of its founders. She directs Poets & Writers Ink for emerging young writers. For 19 years she co-hosted and co-produced "Literature for the Halibut" on FM 88.1 KDHX.
Cancun

In Mexico, I see your face
waning, shaded by cataracts
you rise above me, a watchful eye,
lid nearly drawn, 25 years between
us now passed like so many waves
against the shore. I gather bits
of broken sand dollars or pieces
of moon you throw down to me,
lunar coins washed on the beach
for me to cash in at low tide.

-- Jane Ellen Ibur

Robert Nazarene Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, January 26


Robert Nazarene will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 26.

Also featured will be Jane Ellen Ibur and Julia Gordon-Bramer.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Robert Nazarene founded Margie/The American Journal and received a publishers' National Book Critics Circle award in poetry. His first book of poems is Church. A new collection, Idyll, is forthcoming in 2015. Educated at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown, his work has appeared in Ploughshares, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Iowa Review, African American Review, Salmagundi and elsewhere.
Dolor

I have known the ineluctable grief of waiting,
the desolation of fluorescence and its quiet
accompanist: the low drone of vending machinery.

The sadness of the silent switchboard;
of sleeping pushcarts, empty reception areas;
the unending
tunnelry of immaculate public spaces; the odor
of antiseptic, the pale standard face of nightshift
workers; the grey duplication of mornings;
the quiet

clatter and clink of the cafeteria -- slowly
regaining consciousness.

Out the window,
on the street below, the clamor of children
filling the crosswalk, crowding the playground.

The baby got sick.
The baby
never woke up.

My baby: wrapped in linen,
stiff, still--
perfect,
in her box.

-- Robert Nazarene

Note: Originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stefene Russell Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 27

,

Stefene Russell will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, October 27.

Other featured readers are still to be determined..

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Stefene Russell is St. Louis Magazine's Culture Editor and a member of Poetry Scores, an arts collective that translates poetry into other media. She is also the author of Go South For Animal Index (2007) and Inferna (2013). 

Keyhole: Emergency Mockingbird 

She sings one thousand songs a night.
She sings the blurry fretting of night doves.
She sings stuck hinges, worrying in their own way,
and the dog testing his bark in the cold dusk.

She’s all small gray birds, the ones you spy
peripheral
tail seesawing the fence-line
as you sift through mail on the porch.

When the summer climbs its sine curve
of heat, and the lawn begins to singe—
the season you can never sleep—she
sits on the roof, singing to you, the same tune
over and over: that one
about someone stealing your car.

She remembers your face, even on days
when you don’t. She is up on the phone pole,
watching you curse your garbagey life
when you lock keys in the car.
Maybe she cares. Maybe she’s afraid
you’ll trash the whole world,
and her, unlucky enough to be around
when you do it.
-- Stefene Russell