Intellectual Curiosities and Provocations

Action Poetry: February 2013

By Levi Asher on Thursday, January 31, 2013 08:02 pm

Some people have asked me how Action Poetry works on Litkicks. It's so simple. You read other people's poems and post one of your own, and other people do the same. This month's illustration is a wire sculpture of a mule by sculptor and spoken-word poet Mark 'Wireman' Coburn. Now, please write us a poem!


This article is part of the Action Poetry series. The next post in the series is Action Poetry: Spring 2013. The previous post in the series is Action Poetry.


40 Responses to "Action Poetry: February 2013"

by TKG on

Squalling green parrots take flight simultaneously
20 strong they circle, squawk and scream overhead as I head to work this morning
Always stay high
Lowest I ever saw was a lone one in an 8-foot tree dining on little orange pee-pas
Never touch the ground, unlike their black crow cousins who are big and strut the lawns, streets and driveways
I heard as a kid at my grandparents house
Tropical bird cries high in the sky
I never saw them, could it be real?
I heard the sound years later in the jungles of Yucatan
Decades have been good to them and now its like The Birds sometimes
Hundreds all high in the trees or telephone lines
Flying flocked green, winging, screaming
Legend has it there was a fire and a few got released back in the 50's
They scream through the window early morning
Some hate it
I love it
I feel like Li Po going to Baidi in his skiff
The red cloud glow misty morning
Nonstop screaming monkeys in the trees of both riverbank sides
I got green parrots
Who scream and eat pee-pas
And black crows
Who caw and drop dead rats
In the back yard

by MacEvoy on

Half-Assing It:

We drive a long dark furrow
into soil the color of Stroganov,
He, dropping shiny black seeds like jewels
into the dampness I’ve torn
from the dead earth, and I,
Shivering in the sweat of my exhaustion,
Quivering under the fear of his next blow,
Beaten like my rented brethren
Until the failing light delivers its reprieve.

by Wojciech on

you are a source of divine light and anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar!

by WIREMAN on

Straight up mule
Her name, Dixie
Ears long
Eyes sad
Muzzle tightly wired
In a field
Waiting to be fed
Not to be led
Yes, she's stubborn
(Thanks Levi)

by meeah on

This the freak room
the inner gulag
it foldeth it don’t exist
this the pocket it empty
they tell us
they stamp us
they condemn us to cold
this the zero
we wear it
we hide it
we shuffle alone
in day rooms
in night rooms
our rosary bones
this the time out
the white out
the mind out
it broken inside
it don’t get no better
it smile
it pill-cup
it xerox the day
it xerox the day
it tv
it happy
it die it don’t die anymore
it say what they say
it don’t say
it don’t hurt
it pretend it so good
they don’t hurt it some more

by meeah on

This the freak room
the inner gulag
it foldeth it don’t exist
this the pocket it empty
they tell us
they stamp us
they condemn us to cold
this the zero
we wear it
we hide it
we shuffle alone
in day rooms
in night rooms
our rosary bones
this the time out
the white out
the mind out
it broken inside
it don’t get no better
it smile
it pill-cup
it xerox the day
it xerox the day
it tv
it happy
it die it don’t die anymore
it say what they say
it don’t say
it don’t hurt
it pretend it so good
they don’t hurt it some more

...my changing heart...

ccfc
ggfc
a hundred thousand dollars to do this job.
the ladies took a break with the tranquil mob.
let me tell you 'bout the time i got robbed.
by the devil himself, but he missed my heart.

ggcc(3)
gfcc
my heart is full of gasoline.
it'll beat 'til the final scene.
fights even while it bleeds.
my heart, my heart.

at some point you find that it's all been tried.
rocket to the moon. come back alive.
tried every flavor and seen every sky.
loved thy neighbor and loved the child.

my soul is full of elements.
been yearning for the sacraments.
my soul knows where it's been.
my changing heart.

by WIREMAN on

Drop down to it
Action night turning
on the head of a pin
Blue night
Poetry night
Dreams of falling
Awakened alive
Snow came on little cats pistols
We drove the fast lane
each and every morning
Except today
Action holy
Action sweet
Action flow
Word stew stirred
Meaning found......later
Night lost in a cold fog
Heavenly coffee
A millionaires money
could never buy it....it...it...

by hypcollector on

...thinking will never end...

...hazy and lethargic mind...the combat medicines and sunken eyes...the body heats as its forces are called in...friction produces the energy...head is full of empty thoughts...knowing that thinking will never end...humanity on a space ride refusing to look to the night sky...caught in a circle of years...kept bound by gravity...the gravity...the pull of the sun...another pulling and compelling continues as well...the Son and His way...completely irrational to the modern mind...music continues to satisfy...six notes form a thousand chords...origins unknown and mysterious...constantly awakening my mind...

by ms on

I am the ferrous scent of various sized screws nuts nails
small cardboard boxes coloured window-panes unwashed
by light transfixed by eastern light my eastern Sunday morning sight

Now I turn golden into southern noonday light
I am one single brimstone wing lying parched between
cold ashes of cigarettes he smoked sometime

I am the smell of oil wax turpentine
birdsong from the other sky
and now in corners as beggars velvet dust
excelsior! I am coming into live

A foreshadow of spring and someone else is entering
I rush hush recompose again
and as the girl I am standing here with clunky feet
on PVC floor covering the lively ground beneath

I am my breath my gruff moving chest
my head rings swings reaches into mad
magic mid air highly enriched with Canadian green
mountain peak dreams Indian soul freeing patron
feels African terror moth wings Chinese silk
machine steam As the grey-faced man comes in

Grey-faced and thin the man points with his grey fingertip at my chest asking me what for i do live and I don't have to think to give my reply and tell him that I live for my own joy just for my joy I live and I wonder if he wonders as I watch his face and think I notice something I think there in his eyes I see it rise I think some kind of light watching it there as it lights up his face and he smiles his grey finger rests still lingers here on my chest while he just smiles his smile my smile with me

Such trips I use to have I was a zebra once a stubborn mule a dark old comedy assistant I was shaved and shaky and I was perfect once and failure then so many times I was a revolutionary hero I was a lie a parasite a child I was great weight and blight to my beloveds I'm sure I taught wrong things am I that mysterious I ask I was an audience to sweetest men I was an artist to some herds of kids and crowds of crows above their heads I am not privileged to appear as nothingness I must exist and I'm not nature just the stinky steam of culture and they are not special my trips just the commonplace raptures of helplessness

by hypcollector on

..dirty looks..

..just a sad faced, sleepy clone..
..regrets have ruined the love..
..only new love can electrify..
..neon patios and dirty eyes..

by WIREMAN on

He came on like
gangbusters here
11 years ago
Lighting up the
old Litkicks boards
with his genuine words
A musician and poet
from the lone star state
he left his mark on all
of us he touched
I knew him in real time
as many of you did
I believe the last time
I saw LRod was when I
was in the hospital a
few years back
He brought me a copy
of Burroughs Naked Lunch
Clay January was a feisty
writer and a true gentleman
I will always remember him
in performance
Rest in peace Lightning Rod

by hypcollector on

...crystal sky...

...estimating the crystal sky... ...plainly we are adrift... ...just observers to the job... ...took us for all our cash... ...stole my watch too... ...one nation under debt... ...the apocalypse must be near... ...as it always is... ...every day is the end times... ...count them down always...

by Wojciech on

I throw clouds at my ego because Zeus was right
The moon is my brother.

by Wojciech on

I reached at the stars
and found my eyes

by meeah on

I Make Hitler Laugh

We were hiking through the Tyrol with the Fuhrer.
At a scenic overlook, the famous naturalist,
long deceased,
was pointing out the resemblance
of various famous people
to other famous people in a book
full of photographs of famous people: Sartre to Cary Grant,
Glenn Gould to someone or other,
that sort of thing.

What was his point?
That all famous people are basically identical?
The scenery, by the way,
was breathtaking.
Shrouded in a lavender mist, etc.

So, inevitably, the famous dead naturalist
comes to a picture of Hitler—it’s one of the last,
Berlin in ruins, the Fuhrer,
his peaked cap pulled low,
bundled up against the cold,
is reviewing the “troops,”
a motley collection of men and pre-teen boys
rounded up for one last
hopeless defense of Nazism.
That was a bad day for Hitler,
the sort every dictator dreads,
but he was out there putting the best face on things.
You had to hand him that.

“Now in this photograph…”
and the naturalist, undaunted,
flips through the pages
to suggest another of his unlikely look-a-likes.

“Good grief,” I cry, with a not entirely mock exasperation.
“You’d think at least being the Fuhrer
would be enough in itself.
That you wouldn’t need to search out
these kinds of tortured comparisons
between him and anyone else!”

At this, Hitler himself bursts out laughing.
It was a hardy, sincere laugh,
filled with warmth and the spirit of fellowship.
It made me feel good to make him laugh like that,
god only knows why.

The long-dead naturalist,
caught unawares for a moment,
begins to chuckle, too.
Soon we’re all sharing a hearty laugh
in the crisp mountain air.

Yes, it’s a fine day in the Tyrol.
The thawing landscape sparkles.

by ms on

I wish I could hear the unspoken
and read the unwritten

by Steve Plonk on

PENNY HAIKU #197
“A Moment to Reflect”
Traffic is horrendous
A big gashog SUV
Might run me off the road.
So, it being lunchtime,
I stop my traveling,
Run into “The Mudpie”
Wearing a bright bandana.

PENNY HAIKU #198
People know me here.
I can get a moment to reflect—
On my next moves,
On the next “talkeic verse” to
Quote the “The Duke of Earl”…
Under a big bandana.

PENNY HAIKU #199
The wind blows over the river fog
The fog rises to meet the sky
All wearing bright rainbow bandanas.

PENNY HAIKU #200
When I die, know that I’ve
Lived a while,
Trying to make everyone smile
Put on me a bright bandana.
Before they place me in the fire.
Out of the crematorium my
Smoking soul will rise
Wearing that beloved bandana.

Author's Note; Excerpt From: POEMS FOR MY DAUGHTER: PENNY HAIKU
Circa Summer 2000

by hypcollector on

.almost always, we end with an I love you.the morning shhhh.an early polish.love songs a nickel a dozen.broken love.budding love.new love.hard love.grateful love.tough love.old love.mirror love.woman love.anxious love.silent love.island love.mean love.sad love.coasting love.winner love.loser love.funny funny love.the rambling notes and prose.expressing love but never specifically.a general appreciation and occasional attraction.nothing like the love of a creator.unapologetic and constant.the holy act.loved for all your years.loved in all ways.forgiven too.for things done and left undone.until the heart cries.alone we groan.love is patient.and kind.

by Wojciech on

Wojciech knows God because
he doesn't know God

We're on a first name basis,
He's on my speed dial

His will is my will.

by WIREMAN on

Mood dark & achy
Back atcha
Reminisce on love
Wasteland understandings
Under the table listening
Living so bright
Out there on the street
Love
Tonight
Genuine
Watching as I cross
Being real careful
Albeit business route 40
It still is route 40

by hypcollector on

..John 441..

terrible terrible, it's falling from the sky a whole world is looking up helpless roars and smoke across the horizon some poor lost soul was weeping convinced that time was gone sad eyes lonely and scarlet empty like the unforgiven watery like the regretful hands folded together in a seated position elbows on knees chin on the top mind racing His words praying peace john 441

by WIREMAN on

Sunday brunch
Grumpy faces w/false :)'s
On CNN
Reading the dialogue (me)
French toast, bacon, and eggs
A screwdriver ...a coffee
No good connection
Onto Starbucks
Big mouths on all sides
Cold outside, smokers lair
Like machine guns they chatter
My mocha steaming
no music?
Although it would be nice
Wire waiting
Show next week
Better crack that whip

by meeah on

The Cable Guy

Okay, so this is pretty weird.
I’m in a video store
and this guy makes me his sex slave
by forcing an outlet for a coaxial cable
into my anus.

Really, you can’t make this stuff up!

When plugged in, apparently,
I’ll be a sort of receiver
for all of his x-rated fantasies.
Right from the start,
I’m somewhat intrigued, yes,
even turned on.
Maybe I’m receiving a program already
and no longer in full control
of my faculties.
Who can tell?

I see myself in a miniskirt and high-heels.
I find myself getting turned on
when I think about his promise
to “complete my installation.”
I really can’t help myself.

by Amanda on

It took a trip around the world to realize
"living language" isn't just a cliche.
But who ever stops to think about
Just how much a language shapes the world?
Complex, everchanging, always some exception
Somewhere.
Each one's an individual with it's own outlook,
Own specific way of thinking,
Protection and exclusion at the same time.
Is it any wonder how impenetrable the "language barrier" may seem?

Too bad my equally impenetrable grammar textbook
Isn't nearly as alive.

by ms on

time

sun sent its ghouls down here
to spin their yarn
about our heads
around our legs
throughout our bellies
and across our chests

and we lame breathless and stupid
pray for another just
one more day
to live

and night in fear embraces moon
so moon flushes pale
fresh milk to nurse them
star folk

and drunk stars flyfall in silent
euphoria – groundless (like smiles
fall from your lips)

sun's ghouls I see
clearly how they weave
all the possibilities to drive
us mad
about sun light lust
love life ever
more

by Wojciech on

i do this because i don't know
what my smile looks like
until i see it
on you

hide my tears behind your teeth

by hypcollector on

..rapid fire hipsters..

.hungry are the wishing upon a star.thirsty are the rainy rainy days.hollow are the featured headliners.glorified are the shining rays of light.nervous are the rapid fire hipsters.lovely are the glowing neon moons.jaded are the rickety old whiners.joyful are the clowns in the rooms.plastered are the stumbling weary lads.floating are the happy go luckys.pitiful are the half a million strangers. lonely are the twisting in the wind.heavy are the hearts that lost their mother.tortured are the fallen folks of time.blinking are the lights of motel windows.charming are the joksters of the hills.bleeding are the souls of desperation.ready are the people in the valley.kneeling are the sinners that repent.

by meeah on

A Condensed Version of Every Epic Russian Novel Ever Written

“It’s all a procession of ghosts!”
the Cossack shouts,
slashing right and left with his sword
from atop a rearing white horse.
“People, dogs, birds, the whole lot of it,
passing from right to left,
into and out of my life.
Just drifting smoke from a village
burning somewhere far away.”

He proves his theory
by cutting harmlessly
through the fog
of an imaginary St. Petersburg.
“It’s like a film, but a film
that can only be shown once, to me,
an audience of one,
dissolving as it goes…”

In a field, alone, I read all this,
in a book that has taken the shape
of a towering sunflower,
its golden petals rippling.

Seagulls pass overhead
with small bits of the sea,
still alive and screaming,
in their beaks.
On the velvety soft mud plains
left behind at low tide,
a handful of villagers have come out already,
looking for souvenirs
from the shipwreck.

The wind is still strong where the beast has passed.

by Duncan Brown on

Herb lion thing
as kiss mom let
cert book see.

by hypcollector on

.my grapes are good.
.my wine is better.
.told me she missed me.
.wrote me a letter.

.my body is wrecked.
.but just for awhile.
.gonna rise in the morning.
.honey don't' you cry.

.my grapes are good.
.but my wine is better.
.stood on the mountain.
.told 'em all about it.

by hypcollector on

.those shaking girls got me good.
.big brown eyes and smooth skins.
.winks and good evenings and talks.
.those lips must be soft.
.those hands must be curious.
.watching all the time with wondering.
.stepping carefully and stoic.
.the aftermath is limiting.
.any rational analysis confirming.
.follow that lead and you lose.
.close the book on one night stands.
.stand proudly with your woman.
.in heat or not.
.lift her up as queen.
.pull her close at night.

by ms on

i can stand
this now
is good
work i got
and summer comes
to mexico i go
in june
buy records
until then
saved up some strength
and my reflection
i can stand

by WIREMAN on

Still waiting for jack
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Action up March
Here at little Caesars
Where the stars come out
In the fright
Glitter eyed bugged
Followed by their pill poppin
Paparazzi glued to the wheel
Saturated by all that camel smoke
Still waiting for jack
All the passion play
As life goes on for hours and daze
Flow by like Delhi carriages wading
thru the do waka dew of morn

by hypcollector on

...skeptical of common thought...

...starlights in the grey night, shaking the effects of our complete lack of control. impulses directing the actions, alterations ignored and disputed. alternately, we know that our decisions are extremly important and ramifications await to validate the wisdom of those decisions. these ramifications become the reality and decisions made at that point have their own ramifications. and it goes on and on. and on. without an adjustment in the decision making process itself, improvement in the wisdom and eventualities is limited. a good measure is the common sense approach. not all bad, but always be skeptical of common thought. or common theory. or anything common. be a skeptic of success in this world. strengthen your soul first and most consistently. encourage others always. don't make decisions for other people, except as parent. prior to children turning eighteen. morality is not absolute for everybody. your truth, while true, doesn't have to be imposed on everybody. or anybody. you cannot convince by force, but it is a matter of convincing. to influence by reason is effective, but reason is relative and tiresome. influence by mockery is perhaps the worst possible way, but one way sadly used in today's religion wars. the dumb mockers of men. men meaning humanity, which includes women. to be clear. brazen and sloppy fools. the early judgers. the thin skinned. the nervous and uncomfortable. have good sense...

...the glowface generation...

...let it be known. document accordingly, credit is due and expected. this declaration serves as my ownership of thought. the phrase glowface generation has been coined. it defines a particular age group to be sure, but one that has grown beyond the common bounds of generational discription. like a virus it spreads, exponential and broad. connection on a global scale. the world is at the fingertips. and the face just glows. hypnotic trances and busy minds. the term, used as a noun, verb, or adjective. what a glowface. she's glowfacing while driving. the glowfaced room was quiet and cool. that's a glowface family. the phrasiology opportunities stretch far and wide. through it all the glowfacers are taking over the world. good for them. or good for us, i mean. got a computer in my pocket. cameras and video everywhere. a more mellow generation has never been known. content, but determined. traditional decisions of limits and privacy will have to be reviewed. definitions of writing and content mediums will need another look. the dreaded middlemen will get cut out, desperately dragging as many down with them as possible. i'll write this about the glowface generation: they ain't a drag.....copyright/patent/trademarked/2013.

by WIREMAN on

Coming out of
'39 Collossus
Eve of Great War
Famine upon dry land
So many years between
Yet little changed
All mighty $ rules
the night and day
The get the hell out of "my way!"
Carbuncles
Filthy uncles
Fathomless bottoms
Smoke them if you got them's
Eyes on the prize
They thought they were so wise
In three's they came
Playing jazz notes on the land
No plan
No scheme
Perchance to dream

by Wojciech on

i fit God into my mind
like one would fit the Pacific ocean into a coffee cup

my love is not enough

dagd
all the cardinals are in town, the flashbulbs do confirm.
agda
gonna pick pick a pope today, til Jesus Christ returns.

angel armies rise to meet this holy man.
gotta dress just right, to lead this wayward clan.

da(3)
gda
white smoke gets hazy,
church folks go crazy,
stole all the daisys,
you know the fix is in.

God already decided the way it all would go.
long time before, the white robes picked the pope.

hope the Spirit loves him and listens to his prayers.
hope he leads his church to the God that we all share.

white smoke gets hazy,
church folks go crazy,
stole all the daisys,
you know the fix is in.

by meeah on

Conversations with Great Men

Emerson was bitter.
We were fighting our way
through a weed-choked lot when,
hoping to break the ice,
I admitted that I’d tried to re-read Walden
at least four times over the last year
and never managed to get through it.
I specifically used the word
“turgid” a few times.
He took the bait.

The weeds in this part of the lot
were grown clear over our heads.
I nearly lost Ralph Waldo
a couple of times—in fact,
high-strung and touchy
as he was about the subject at hand,
he was one misinterpreted word
from stalking off through the phlox.

I ventured a light joke.
“We sure could use that ax
he borrowed about now, eh?”

“That ax was none too sharp
when he brought it back,
I can tell you that,” Emerson snapped back,
unamused.

Hmm. I said nothing for a time.
This is a country where the king sits
untouchable on high
and the poor hobble through the blizzard
on homemade crutches.
Even Starbucks stays open
later than the Church.
Where is sanctuary…where?
And this is progress?
These aren’t the Dark Ages?

“It’s that one line,” I suggest,
“about most men living lives
of quiet desperation.”

Emerson, in his stiff, high-collared
Transcendentalist suit,
is overdressed for the stifling weather,
but his long, lean face
doesn’t even break a sweat.

“Bet you a nickel it’s the only line
anyone ever remembers.”

He might be right.
This is a culture of sound-bytes, after all.
You have to be pithy to be topical.
I tactfully pass over in silence
any mention of R.W.’s own line
about the hobgoblins of little minds
or that whole embarrassing bit
about giant transparent eyeballs…
it’s hard to blame a great author
for not foreseeing a time
when Dan Brown
would be considered literature.

“Self-reliance was a good idea,” I say,
hoping to cheer him up.

He blows a dismissive raspberry. “Oh please.
I should have advised buying lottery tickets.
Worked out formulas for the Pick-6.
Government grants, bailouts,
the great white hand from the clouds…
isn’t that what everyone wants,
isn’t that what it’s come to?
Dirt and tickles, American Idols,
that’s what it’s all about,
tell me it isn’t.
Tell me I’ve got it wrong.”

Who am I to say anything?
Thank god, up ahead I see the end
of the lot. Somehow
we’ve managed to stumble onto a path
out of this tangled mess.
It’s the sun itself, I think,
sitting in a white cloud,
that is the god-given wealth
we’re really searching for.
That’s why we’re always looking for free stuff.
The golden light,
which costs no one anything,
free for one and all,
has set expectations too high.
That’s the problem.
It’s set a bad example for all of history.

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