Thursday, May 14, 2015

Brett Underwood Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, May 25


Brett Underwood will be one of the featured readers at the Chance Operations reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, May 25.

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

Also featured will be Raphael Maurice and Cheeraz Gormon.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic throughout the evening.

Brett Underwood is a bartending gadabout who writes, promotes and produces happenings and mishaps in St. Louis, Missouri. He's quicker with the stink eye than verbal reprimands and favors the brushback pitch over preemptive warfare. He has the wingspan of an albatross and would prefer cash.
Autumnal Delusion

Funny racism or runny fascism while
ye prisoners of hope and fall colors eat
pumpkin-spiced cold meds and mucous to avoid
neti pot death hot dogs and waitresses flying
in every direction.

Put wastoids in your gravitas.
Load ether with lead-ladened muchmuck.
Cough up gravy into your designer tissue.
Oh, and Ichabod's head is off the top of the
visitor’s dugout and kagarooing up
the aisle in that horse's ass.
van hit the soybean head shoot dead boy.

Root for the one percent in your muumuu.
Chug aluminum –bottled water and hoot.
Live it up.
Toss lewd verses to garbage. Your days are few.
Your wool is worthless.
Replay these days and they’ll go back
and look at it stored on yourtube or
reflected in a mirror coffin or
another threat to the environment
babbling DADA in a six-wheeled stroller.

-- Brett Underwood

Raphael Maurice Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, May 25


Raphael Maurice will be one of the featured readers at the Chance Operations reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, May 25.

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

Also featured will be Brett Underwood and Cheeraz Gormon.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic throughout the evening.

Raphael Maurice is a translator and poet. His work appears in the UCity Review, Likestarlings, River Bluff Review, Piecrust, and Monkeybicycle. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where he studied poetry. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Jill Elizabeth Maurice.
Rectitude

The police caught me near these weeping willows
creeping up lakeside. I gave up under dawn’s
wrack and ribbon. They took what little I had.

And I was long gone, babbling my season’s luck
and miscarriages.

The county jail. Silent as a brick, stiller than God.

I crashed out on the bunk’s logic, its rectitude. Rectitude.
What a strange word for dead monks to thrash about.

And I dreamed the horse-faced sheriff was reading
from a sacred book. His boots propped on the desk.
His words scattered by an oscillating fan.

It was litany. It was the liturgy at my father’s funeral,
reverent as the edges of morning glories, a reckoning.

It was a catalogue of tender girls I’d loved,
their terrible fates blowing against these crooked trees.

-- Raphael Maurice

Cheeraz Gormon Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, May 25


Cheeraz Gormon will be one of the featured readers at the Chance Operations reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, May 25.

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

Also featured will be Brett Underwood and Raphael Maurice.

Open-mic readers will step up to the mic throughout the evening.

Cheeraz Gormon is a North St. Louis native, life-long activist, internationally touring spoken word artist and published poet, documentary photographer turned award-winning advertising copywriter.

Her deep passion for humanity and issues affecting various communities provides the fuel for her dynamic spoken word performances, and in her first published book of poetry, In The Midst of Loving, a collection compiled and edited down over 14 years, Cheeraz opens her heart for the world to connect with her story.

Click here to listen to "Words" by Cheeraz Gormon; music by Brothers Lazaroff (Maurice Mo Egeston remix of "I Could Stay Here For the Rest My Life").
Beautiful Boy

In loving memory of a young man I never met... for Terrence Sands

Beautiful boy
No one told you
That this world would be so cruel
That the cold would brush against your soul
And chafe it
Exposing you to pain
That your mother dreamed of protecting you from
As she watched her belly expand
And that your father
Upon seeing that you were a reflection of him
A manchild
Perhaps swallowed a deep breath
Held it for as long as he could
In hopes that the empty space would make a path for you

I am a stranger to you
But not to the ways of this world
That you faced
Until your eyes drifted

Beautiful boy
You have become an ancestor way too soon
Your meeting with manhood
Too short

Beautiful boy
I hope you know that your skin was Black
But you were never soiled
As this world may have made you believe
Know that you were beautiful, boy

You are now free
To be what you may have always known you were

Beautiful boy
Fly
And be
Beautiful

-- Cheeraz Gormon

Monday, May 4, 2015

"Sandra Lee Scheuer" by Gary Geddes


(Killed by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University, May 4, 1970.)

You might have met her on a Saturday night,
cutting precise circles, clockwise, at the Moon-Glo
Roller Rink, or walking with quick step

between the campus and a green two-storey house,
where the room was always tidy, the bed made,
the books in confraternity on the shelves.

She did not throw stones, major in philosophy
or set fire to buildings, though acquaintances say
she hated war, had heard of Cambodia.

In truth she wore a modicum of make-up, a brassiere,
and could no doubt more easily have married a guardsman
than cursed or put a flower in his rifle barrel.

While the armouries burned, she studied,
bent low over notes, speech therapy books, pages
open at sections on impairment, physiology.

And while they milled and shouted on the commons,
she helped a boy named Billy with his lisp, saying
Hiss, Billy, like a snake. That’s it, SSSSSSSS,

tongue well up and back behind your teeth.
Now buzz, Billy, like a bee. Feel the air
vibrating in my windpipe as I breathe?

As she walked in sunlight through the parking-lot
at noon, feeling the world a passing lovely place,
a young guardsman, who had his sights on her,

was going down on one knee, as if he might propose.
His declaration, unmistakable, articulate,
flowered within her, passed through her neck,

severed her trachea, taking her breath away.
Now who will burn the midnight oil for Billy,
ensure the perilous freedom of his speech;

and who will see her skating at the Moon-Glo
Roller Rink, the eight small wooden wheels
making their countless revolutions on the floor?

-- Gary Geddes

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, 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, 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, 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

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 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