Monday, January 25, 2016

Jason Vasser Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, January 25


Jason Vasser will be a featured reader at the •chance operations• reading at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 25.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE. [Note: Tavern of Fine Arts opens at 5:00 p.m. for pre-reading dinner and drinks, which will also be served throughout the evening.]

Jason Vasser lives and writes in Saint Louis Missouri, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL). His poetry has appeared in Blast Furnace, The Sphinx Magazine, Prairie Gold: An anthology of America’s Heartland, among others and was recently featured in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in an article written by Jane Henderson titled “Poetry can be an early form of artistic response to trauma”, in response to issues in Ferguson, Missouri. He is the author of the chapbook, Agapornis and has a full length collection of poems Shrimp forthcoming.

Jason believes that building relationships sustains community. Over the past few of years, he has worked with the St. Louis Poetry Center (SLPC) as coordinator for the Poetry on the Plaza reading series and as Assistant Curator of Poetry at the Point, and endeavors to continue working to bring the literary community together through programming and collaboration.

Now a board member at the St. Louis Poetry Center, Jason served as curator for the SLPC’s benefit gala honoring Dr. Maya Angelou. This event featured local literary legends, musicians, modern dancers, and an up and coming visual artist. While often working behind the scenes, Jason also reads his poetry at local events, large and small, to share in the recitation of poetry with his elders, contemporaries, and for the literary enthusiast. His work lives on and off the page as he performs spoken word poetry at some events, while also reading at others; Jason is a performance poet, activist for racial equality, and educator.

With a degree in cultural anthropology and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, Jason weaves art and science to bring to life the patterns in life that unite humanity, while also speaking to his experience as a minority. Tracing his ancestral homeland to the Bamileke people of Cameroon, in West Africa, Jason currently uses his poetry as a bridge to connect the past, present and future.

Currently, Jason teaches English at Harris–Stowe State University. A member of various professional anthropological and literary organizations, he finds time to also volunteer his time with local chapters of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Jason says, “Regardless of your cultural background, poetry is a bridge we can use to communicate.”
Poetica in the round
After Lawrence Fertinghetti


Poets, lift your heads
put down pencil and pen
the sun is abound, though rain
is around     the corner, now is time
to open your doors and
greet the sky,
   the sprouts
between concrete,

      come down
come out, from your coffee houses,
and Ivory towers, your soap boxes
and greet the wind.

Down from your gated,
out from the ground level,
the trees lean in desperate need
lift them in verse – there is no time
as we see ash,

      no more propaganda
from the sidelines
while Ferguson burns,
Saint Louis burns,
T.S. Elliot’s burns
Sara Teasdale’s burns,
Maya Angelou turns in her grave

night and shadow approaches
stay, don’t leave
there is No time for the artist to hide
in books, writing pads, laptops,
libraries, we must take it to the street

      where voices are needed to guide
take it to the ghetto,
take it to the suburbs
take it to where Delmar divides

      make time to listen,
poetry isn’t a secret society
we live, work, we write
and play where everyone else does
the hour of pondering is over,
put down your mind
pick up your heart

The time for loving has come
the time for hating has ended

let’s talk like those around which we live
and not use big words,
treat every word like pepper
to a chicken needed to feed the village.

-- Jason Vasser


Mallory Nezam Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, January 25


Mallory Nezam will be a featured reader at the •chance operations• reading at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 25.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE. [Note: Tavern of Fine Arts opens at 5:00 p.m. for pre-reading dinner and drinks, which will also be served throughout the evening.]

Mallory Nezam is a public artist who provokes creative civic engagement and brings to life public spaces of her city. She is Founder & Director of STL Improv Anywhere and Co-Creator of the Poetree Project. In addition to public art, Nezam has been publishing short fiction, non-fiction and poetry for years. She published her first (and arguably her best) poem at the age of 10. Nezam's work can be found in P I E C R U S T Magazine, the Occidental Review, and Art Animal Magazine. She has won awards for her creative non-fiction and short fiction.

Predpriyatie

The light filtered in in a dirty way. The windowsill was dusty and pale walls hugged light around the room as though it were steam. This was the kind of light you could see.

Ivelina’s wrist and watering can were illuminated as she stood arrested, staring out onto the rooftop patio. For a moment, this image held still until a house fly flew into focus and Iva’s gaze moved. She looked down at the empty watering can in her hand and then back out the window.

Zachary came home that night with the sound of a door slamming. The sound triggered her animation as if he himself was nothing more than a door slam. A thump in her chest, and it went deeper. It was the first time she’d heard her heartbeat like this. It was the first time she had truly felt her heart beat. There were wisterias crawling up the gate grate, the slowly aging rust adding a decided charm to the roof. Rooftops like these were hard to find in Chelsea. They were even rarer for those making a living off of little more than hope, which for Zachary and Ivelina came in the form of naïveté and in accidents they couldn’t confront. Hanging trellises, wrap-around vines, potted plants and rows of gardenias made the roof seem simple and old. This is where Iva usually stopped for an 8 o’clock visit: water, rest, regain. The quiet communion with plants followed long days as a cocktail waitress. Most nights Iva continued on to Zachary’s studio, helping with boom mics, holding ladders, coffee runs. Thursday afternoons she was the pianist for the Vitrolics’ private parties. She is far more exceptional than anyone there ever notices, and more exceptional that she can comprehend herself.

And then she heard him in the stairwell, a mixture of sounds, a hazy recognition of the corresponding movements. But today, she couldn’t envision these familiar gestures, losing the memory as though he were slowly disappearing. There are only so many sounds you can hear within a person: a stomach gurgle, a jaw click, a deep cough, a heartbeat. But this heartbeat was different. Have you ever felt a heartbeat within yourself and realized it was not your own? Have you ever felt a stranger’s heartbeat within your own body and realized it was a part of you?

“Nie ne obichame tuk zaedno,” Ivelina’s mother would always say. “Why aren’t we loving here together?” She would say this when she was mad or when there was a disagreement between the two of them. Iva never used this with Zachary when there was a disagreement. She chose to keep silent. Iva’s low-leaning gaze focused on Zachary’s foot, his tattering blue Converses faded from the sun. He’d made his way into the kitchen, kept still at the entrance with one foot draping the border. Iva raised her eyes to scale his torso, identifying his structure.

. . . .

When his face came slowly into focus she could see in his gaze plain bewilderment. She followed his eyes to the puddle of water underneath her feet, her house shoes soaked through to an entirely different hue. She looked back up to Zachary, the watering can still in hand.

“Well,” he uttered. “Did you fall asleep or something?” He looked at her. She felt him looking at her in the way that people watch news segments of things perturbing—concernedly, but distant. Iva moved her eyes to the watering can in her right hand, rust eating the edges near where the handle touched the base. A banjo struck up across the apartment alleyway and Iva’s hairs vibrated to the hum. Zachary looked disturbed and then began to speak, but didn’t. He only opened his mouth and inhaled. Iva’s head had turned slowly to the window.

“I love strings.” The statement started emphatically and waned toward empty, toward solemn. She stood again facing Zachary with the watering can still clutched in her right hand. “Well, I would love it if you would get out of that puddle, Ivelina. What did you do to yourself?”

“I—...” Iva lowered her eyes towards her feet again, turned toward the can. She looked back up to Zachary who never wore shoes indoors and who never understood her culture of house slippers.

She carries the weight of her past life undetected. Ivelina is from a place where trains run slow and where the grace of a woman is in her silent curves. It wasn’t silence that made her leave home; it was the fear of it. On cold winter evenings, if she kept her breath low, she could uncover the sound of Nothing. There are some people who strive to find this. For others, for Ivelina, it is obscene and violating. When her grandfather closed her palm around an envelope full of money and the ticket, she heard that silence again.

Her mother was waiting for her on the edge of the pond, half obscured by cattails swaying wantonly in the breeze. She touched Ivelina’s hand; they made a paper boat out of the envelope and she asked Ivelina if she wanted to jump in. Her mother smirked slightly as Iva turned to her, questioning.

She realized she was moving toward noise.

Noise was busses screeching, accents, accidents. It was cleaning someone else’s bathroom. Forgetting. It was hospitals and watering cans. It was not knowing enough English to get a job; but you didn’t have to know English to fuck.

Zachary filled a cup with water and walked towards Ivelina. He wanted to say, “Neither of us will be all right.” She wanted to say, “I will plant flowers in your shoes. I will hang them on a telephone wire and plant flowers in your shoes.” Zachary took a sip of water and set it down on the table.

“Are you going to help me tonight?” He brushed her arm, avoided her spill. He manufactured a grin to counter his earlier honesty and she imagined potting soil, digging holes in Bulgarian terrain and dropping soil in his shoes. She could see his look of pure and utter fear. She could feel his hand tremble. Where she could have trembled, too, the baby kept still.

....

The difference between who we are and what we become is a chasm that can echo like canyons until we construct our own solid ground. Ivelina left with two suitcases in hand, Zachary’s shoes tied to one. She walked down the road during the 8 o’clock evening lull. There were telephone wires overhead that she didn’t even notice.

Zachary had expected that she would go home. But she went south. At a rest stop, she played piano for an empty bar. Mid-song she stopped, closed her eyes and imagined the baby taking over for her in the way that some trees can grow back from nothing. She sees their branches reaching up over the ledge of the window despite the hot, dry heat. Despite the dead wind that presses the walls of the room. This new home is a transition. It is not an instant; it is a length of time. They close their eyes and they are swaying like the trees.

-- Mallory Nezam

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Julia Gordon-Bramer Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, November 30


Julia Gordon-Bramer will be one of three featured readers at the •chance operations• reading at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, November 30.

Also featured will be Phil Gounis and Ben Moeller-Gaa.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE. [Note: Tavern of Fine Arts opens at 5:00 p.m. for pre-reading dinner and drinks, which will also be served throughout the evening.]

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 was published this year by Stephen F. Austin State University Press and can be ordered on Amazon. In 2013, the Riverfront Times called her St. Louis’ Best Local Poet.
Conscious Uncoupling

I’m sad about Gwyneth and Chris:
how mean the press presses
and paparazzi snap them running
through airports with hoods up,
sunglasses on, tears streaming.
The Star is on display
in my grocery stands, and its
journalists crucify Gwyn’s talk
show hyperbole, a down-
play of pain. I don’t listen
to Coldplay much and I don’t
have time for movies, but it isn’t
right. This public hunger to murder
the famous, just because
we are not. Maybe I’m sad
for Gwyneth and Chris because
every relationship is fragile, and we
are all searching through our acts
for story with substance, hoping
we are more than just how we look,
as we hide the wrinkles and seek
ripples in the water, a turn of words
to stay stuck in the brain. Something
lasting. To live and be
worth remembering. To teach our kids
what love looks like on and off
movie screens: sometimes breaking,
sometimes broken, occasionally healed,
and without Starbucks’ soundtracks.

-- Julia Gordon-Bramer

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ben Moeller-Gaa Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, November 30

Photo courtesy of Mike Schrand / St. Louis Public Radio

Ben Moeller-Gaa will be one of three featured readers at the •chance operations• reading at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, November 30.

Also featured will be Phil Gounis and Julia Gordon-Bramer.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE. [Note: Tavern of Fine Arts opens at 5:00 p.m. for pre-reading dinner and drinks, which will also be served throughout the evening.]

Ben Moeller-Gaa is the author of two chapbooks, the Pushcart nominated Wasp Shadows (Folded Word 2014) and Blowing on a Hot Soup Spoon (poor metaphor design 2014). He has an English Writing degree from Knox College and has haiku published in Acorn, Modern Haiku, Simply Haiku, A Hundred Gourds, The Heron's Nest, Frogpond, Shamrock, World Haiku Review and others. He currently is a contributing editor to River Styx, works for Sigma-Aldrich and resides in St. Louis, MO with is wife and cat. Visit Ben's web site here to learn more about Ben.
all day rain
the refrigerator's
ommmm

Modern Haiku 46.3


bumblebee
i, too, am drunk
with wild azaleas

Shamrock 32


twilight
losing count
of blackberries

tinywords 15:2

-- Ben Moeller-Gaa

Phil Gounis Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, November 30


Phil Gounis will be one of three featured reader at the •chance operations• reading at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, November 30.

Also featured will be Ben Moeller-Gaa and Julia Gordon-Bramer.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE. [Note: Tavern of Fine Arts opens at 5:00 p.m. for pre-reading dinner and drinks, which will also be served throughout the evening.]

Phil Gounis first came into public awareness in the early 1970s when he and several colleagues presented a series of experimental films in the Saint Louis region. During this period, Gounis also began to publish his poetry in several alternative press outlets and read on KDNA FM radio. Some of the participants in these readings later formed the nucleus of River Styx Magazine. In 1976, he initiated a weekly blues program on KCLC radio at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. His show featured recorded blues music spanning five decades and in studio performing artists. He also hosted and produced a monthly live poetry and jazz program entitled "Verbatim."

In the early 1980s, Gounis contributed to the work of the Soulard Culture Squad. This group of poets and musicians performed throughout the historic Soulard area and published several poetry collections.Later he co-founded a magazine of politics and popular culture called Steamshovel Press. At the end of the decade and into the ’90s he took part in radio programs such as Off The Beaten Path, Poetry Beat and Literature for the Halibut on KDHX FM in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 2005, Intangible Studios released his CD, Form Matters. Since then he has published two poetry collections Some Of These Have Appeared (Firecracker Press) and Upgrading the Allusion (JK Publishing).His work also appeared in Flood Stage: An Anthology of Saint Louis Poets.
Music In The Air

Keeps slept under the stairs
he did not speak
a word
in his mind
Keeps would repeat
the same Prayer
night after night
it was night most of the time
and freezing when it rained
which was all the time
still
Keeps was faithful
to the duty
of keeping hope
and bright expectation
intact

the day after Thanksgiving
as dawn cracked
Keeps awoke on his knees
and heard a commotion
up above his head
he reached upward and felt the belt
of an escalator
and knew
that his petitionary days
were over

-- Phil Gounis

Monday, October 12, 2015

Howard Schwartz Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26


Howard Schwartz will be one of three featured readers at the •chance operations• reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, October 26.

Other featured readers will be Allison Creighton and Jeff Friedman.

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

Howard Schwartz is the author of five books of poems, Library of Dreams, Vessels, Gathering the Sparks, Sleepwalking Beneath the Stars, and Breathing in the Dark. He is also the co-editor (with Anthony Rudolf) of Voices Within the Ark: The Modern Jewish Poets. His other books include Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005, and Leaves from the Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales, published in 2008. He is a professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Swimming to Jerusalem

The first time
I went on a quest
for forbidden fruit.

The second time
I built an ark
and tried to get there by sea.

The third time
I came in search of my ancestor,
Abraham.

If the sun was hidden
I let the stars
guide me.

If the tablets were broken
I carved
new ones.

In the future
my bones
will roll to that city.

Last night
I dreamed
I was swimming there.

-- Howard Schwartz

Allison Creighton Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26


Allison Creighton will be one of three featured readers at the •chance operations• reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, October 26.

Other featured readers will be Howard Schwartz and Jeff Friedman.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Allison Creighton holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She teaches part-time at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as a contributing editor for River Styx. Her work has appeared in Potomac Review, Natural Bridge, The Mochila Review, and two anthologies, and she received first prize in the 2010 Wednesday Club of St. Louis Original Poetry Contest. Her first book of poetry, Drawing Down the Moon, was published by Turning Point in 2015
On a Night Too Hot for a Sheet

Now that you have entered
the space that surrounds me,
we shall be as one.
I will pull you inside with such a touch
that the finest light will waver.
Your lips are bittersweet
as the root of love itself.

One by one
I hand you my secrets.
My fear of the color orange
and all its bold laughter.
A secret buried in a meadow
where no one goes.
How I tried to bind
two distant souls.
Each way I struggled
to force another to speak.
The stark night
when childhood vanished
in an instant.
Days my tires spun
in lost rotations
down a gravel road
far from home.
The shrinking blackout windows.
Shadows of a phantom figure.
The thorn caught in his beard.

A tremor shifts across my body
as I start to tell the secret
too scared to breathe.
Your eyes unblinking,
hover above me.
As you come closer,
for a kiss,
I can’t feel the soft wind
of your breath on my lips.

You wait and wait.

You press yourself
hard against me,
a ghost.

--Allison Creighton

(published in Winter Harvest: Jewish Writing in St. Louis, and in Drawing Down the Moon)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jeff Friedman Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26


Jeff Friedman will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 26.

Also featured will be Howard Schwartz, and Allison Creighton.

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

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

Jeff Friedman has published six poetry collections, five with Carnegie Mellon University Press, including Pretenders (2014), Working in Flour (2011) and Black Threads (2008). His poems, mini stories and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, The Antioch Review, Poetry International, Hotel Amerika, Flash Fiction Funny, Missouri Review, Agni Online, The New Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poets, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Smokelong Quarterly, Boulevard, Natural Bridge, The Vestal Review, and The New Republic and many other literary magazines. He has won numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, the Milton Dorfman Poetry Prize, The Missouri Review Editor’s Prize, and two individual artist grants from the New Hampshire State Arts Council. Dzvinia Orlowsky’s and his translation of Memorials by Polish poet Mieczslaw Jastrun was published by Lavender Ink/Dialogos in August 2014.
Bear Fight

When Liza fell in with the bear, I was more than disappointed as I had been in love with her since childhood. “What’s he got that I don’t?” I asked as we walked past the diner together. “He’s a bear.” She let go of my hand. “He gets a little jealous when I’m out with my friends.” “Why do you want to be with a bear anyway?” Two teenagers pushed past us with their skateboards. Balloon floated above Main Street, announcing a sale at the furniture shop. “Why do you want to be with me?” she asked. We parted ways when the light changed, but later I went to her home dressed as a bear. She opened the door. “Come in,” she said, putting her arms around me. “You don’t smell like a bear,” she said, Then in walked the bear, with a fierce look on his face. He growled and so did I. He cuffed me, so I cuffed him back. Then we grappled with each other, bear hugging until Liza stepped in between us and held out her hands. “I’m sick of bears,” she said. “Get out of here.” I ripped off my bear mask. “I’m not a bear,” I said. The bear ripped off his. “I quit this game,” he said. “I’m not a bear either.” Liza removed her mask, and she wasn’t Liza. We ran away as fast as we could. I made it back to my place and locked the door, turning on the outside light, but all night I heard her huffing.

(Published in Spillway)

-- Jeff Friedman


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Buzz Spector Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, September 28


Buzz Spector will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, September 28.

Also featured will be Eileen G'Sell and another reader still to be determined.

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

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

Buzz Spector was born in Chicago and was educated at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and then the University of Chicago, where he received the master of fine arts. Internationally recognized as an artist and critic, his work has been exhibited in museums throughout the United States and Europe, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Mattress Factory Art Museum (Pittsburgh), and the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art (Prato, Italy).

Buzz is also a highly accomplished teacher who received the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teaching of Art Award in 2013. Having taught previously at Cornell University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he is currently Professor of Art at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

The subject matter of Buzz’s art typically involves an exploration of the idea of the book, the text, and the individual experience of perception through wide-ranging media including sculpture, photography, the artists’ book, printmaking, and installation. In 2012 Sara Ranchouse Publishing issued Buzzwords, a collection of new page art and interviews with Spector spanning thirty years of his work and ideas.
Thread

for Ann Hamilton

Action’s auspices, to band or
Braid a chain of events;
Gossamer filaments of this story or that
Lanyard, holding the line,
Passing through in
Procession, a ribbon of events in a
Row, of greatening
Scale or sequence;
Set the track for
Trains of thought to travel
A way.

-- Buzz Spector

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Eileen G'Sell Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, September 28


Eileen G'Sell will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, September 28.

Also featured will be Buzz Spector and another reader still to be determined.

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

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

Eileen G'Sell's nonfiction and poetry have been published in Salon, the Boston Review, DIAGRAM, Conduit, Ninth Letter, and other journals. Her chapbook Portrait of My Ex with Giant Burrito is available from BOAAT Press. Since 2004, Eileen has mentored with Mentor St. Louis, now a division of Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club. She teaches writing and film at Washington University in St. Louis.
Portrait of My Ex with Giant Burrito

Men have died for less, and I, for one, never asked for more. In the Pacific Northwest are a thousand restaurants, healthy girls, and slutty food. Trees that shade new money humbly greet you on the interstate; intricate tattoos peek from sturdy cotton sleeves. “I consume five thousand calories a day,” he said the day he met me. We spoke about weddings and Sly Stallone; we ranked our favorite dogs by breed. In the morning he kissed my forehead before leaving me for hashbrowns. But he didn’t. Or he couldn’t. And the trees never changed a thing. “Endings are my expertise,” I whisper to the ushers. They are bored with their professions. They are picketing our aisle. In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light.” It was the first—and best—joke ever told.

-- Eileen G'Sell

Thursday, August 27, 2015

David A.N. Jackson Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, August 31


David A. N. Jackson will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, August 31.

Also featured will be Cheeraz Gormon and Treasure Shields Redmond.

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

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

David A. N. Jackson is a multidisciplinary performer who's graced local, regional and national stages at a number of venues. He is an actor, visual artist, wood carver, drum carver and percussionist as well as a poet.

Known around the city and throughout the region as D'Poet, David A. N. Jackson has long been appreciated as a profound and enlightened artist of multiple gifts, talents and abilities. He is an ever-evolving and accomplished percussionist, wood sculptor, artist, poet, and vocalist, just to list a few of his skills, as well as an avid community activist and teacher.
Imbalance of the Spirit

like the breath of stagnant water
family should not be
upbringing
And not just on memories
instantly sensed
It is not true, after all,
to be born.
toward evolution
listen with attention
for an initial rendezvous
This creature is called a
Heart Chakra
make very careful study
loosen heavy soil and leave it
Planted beside peach trees
Deep-rooting
at the heart

-- David A. N. Jackson
(c) D'POET 07.03.2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cheeraz Gormon Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, August 31


Cheeraz Gormon will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, August 31.

Also featured will be David A. N. Jackson and Treasure Shields Redmond.

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

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

Cheeraz Gormon is a life-long activist, internationally touring spoken word artist and published poet, documentary photographer turned award-winning advertising copywriter. Cheeraz is currently founder, strategist and storyteller of Alchemy 7 Creative located in St. Louis, Missouri.

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

Treasure Shields Redmond Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, August 31


Treasure Shields Redmond will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, August 31.

Also featured will be David A. N. Jackson and Cheeraz Gormon.

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

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

A Mississippi native, Treasure Shields Redmond is a St. Louis based poet, performer and educator. She has published poetry in such notable anthologies as Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Breaking Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade; and in journals that include the Sou'wester and the African American Review.

She has received a fellowship to the FineArts Works Center, and her poem, "around the time of medgar" was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Treasure is a Cave Canem fellow and has received an MFA from the University of Memphis. Presently, she divides her time between being an assistant professor of English at Southwestern Illinois College, and doctoral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
caveat
the celluloid vision of jackie o
reflexively reaching for kennedy's brains;
too fast for even her
aristocratic hands.
did she think
she could put it all back together?
her archival papers
(now cool to the touch)
reveal she knew of his philandering --
her mother counseled her to stay .
so maybe that reflexive jump
on the back of a motorcade
was not as mothers flinch,
watching deathless sons
in football games.
but more as a runner,
anticipating the crisp gun shot.
-- Treasure Shields Redmond

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Marisol Ramirez Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, July 27


Marisol Ramirez will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, July 27.

Also featured will be Matthew Freeman and Jennifer Goldring.

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

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Marisol Ramirez came to her sense in the fall of 2011 and found the courage to call herself a poet. Earlier, she had tentatively been the future lawyer, the future teacher, the future marketing manager—never the writer. She took her first-ever workshop senior year of undergrad simply for pleasure. The problem with dabbling in passionate hobbies is that they might become careers. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in English, she moved across country, away from her Arizona border town, taco stands, open range, rattlesnakes, chorizo con huevos, purple mountain ranges, and flaming sunsets to join the MFA writing program at the University of Missouri St. Louis. In 2014, Ramirez was named the third UMSL poet laureate.