Charles Bukowski: “Don’t Try”

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It’s August and that’s the month poet Charles Bukowski was born in 1920. With over 5000 poems and six novels and hundreds of short stories to his name, he’s become a kind of cult figure over the last decades. While his writings have stamped him with the indelible persona of an alcoholic anti-social misanthropic and misogynistic git, yet there’s also a gentler humanness in Bukowski.

He died at the age of 74. On his gravestone the epitaph reads, “Don’t Try.”

Come with us now as we go out to our favorite virtual watering hole, knock down a couple of drinks, and listen to a performance of some of Bukowski’s poems as broadcast today on Arts Express radio on Pacifica stations across the nation.

Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to listen.

“Coming To You With A Sad Glass Of Soda And A Vague Sense That The World Was Coming To An End”: Peter Davis

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I first encountered Indiana poet/musician Peter Davis’s work only a few months ago, but his laconic slacker sensibility, quirky playful sense of humor and self-deprecation immediately appealed to me.

His poems start off ordinarily enough, and then often veer into strange territory, defying expectation. Underlying much of it, the poems are about self-justification and what we say to ourselves and others in order to get us out of the existential jam that we have no idea what we’re doing, even as we proceed with bluff assurance.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my reading of some of Peter Davis’s poems as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI NY, WBAI.org, and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

You can catch up with Peter Davis’s work  at artisnecessary.com

“Queen Bee” Cavity: The Poetry of Camryn Bruno

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Our newest Arts Express contributor, KeShaun Luckie, put together this audio segment highlighting the wonderful poems of Camryn “Queen Bee” Bruno, performed by the author. It was a pleasure to have two such talented artists over here recording.

You can listen to Queen Bee’s reading, as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI 99.5 FM NYC, by clicking on the triangle above.

Federico Garcia Lorca And The Duende

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Federico Garcia Lorca was an extraordinary poet, painter, composer, actor, director, playwright, and socialist. We celebrated his June birthday on Arts Express today with a short selection of his poems read in English by myself and the wonderful Mary Murphy.

You can hear the poems and a brief intro as broadcast on WBAI 99.5FM NYC by clicking on the grey triangle above.

You Don’t Look A Day Over 450

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In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday this past week, Mary Murphy and I put together a short segment about the Shakespearean sonnets, aired last night on the Arts Express program (on radio station WBAI 99.5 FM NYC). I talk a bit about the history and structure of the poems, and then we read five of our favorite lesser-known sonnets. Click on the triangle above to wish Will a Happy 455th.

By the way, the portrait above may just well be the only extant likeness of Shakespeare done in his lifetime, . It is purported to be Shakespeare at age 39. I like the idea of seeing  of seeing him with a full head of hair and a sly smile.

There Once Was A Magical Duck…

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Here’s another installment of my limerick game contributions. As I stated in the first installment, on one of the online magic forums, there’s a game where one person suggests a first line for a limerick, and the next person has to complete the other four lines of the limerick. Many of the limericks have a magic-oriented theme, but that’s not a requirement. Here are a few of my better efforts. (Remember, all first lines were given by others):

There once was a magical duck
Enamored with some poor dumb cluck
He climbed on her bones
She started to moan
Hey!!–It’s a family website you schm*ck!

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On a cold dismal night in mid Feb
I Googled ’bout every celeb
I perused every writer
Yes, much like the spider
I waste too much time on the web.

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On the top of the mountain stood Harry
Houdini, that is, and then Larry
Jennings, of course
A powerful force
My favorite is Richardson, Barrie.

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A man once married his dog
“I’m happy,” he wrote on his blog
The bathroom is free
From ten until three
While the wife is out using a log.

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Derren Brown was reading my mind,
Attempting to do it while blind.
But the dude didn’t know
Of my years of Cointreau–
So there was nothing there he could find!

Wisdom of the Sages

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Let’s say good-bye to the old year with two pensive haikus from David Bader’s Haikus for Jews:

 

BLT on Toast–

the rabbi takes his first bite,

then the lightening bolt.

 

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The same kimono

the top geishas are wearing–

got it at Loehmann’s.

 

Late In The Day: Constance Norgren

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I was happy to welcome back poet Constance Norgren yesterday to the Arts Express radio program on WBAI 99.5 NY to read from her latest collection of previously unpublished poems, Late In The Day. Click on the grey triangle above for some wonderful short poems.