Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Taxi Cab Poet Confessions

Alternating Current's tribute to Dave Church in this collection of poems titled Taxi Cab Poet Confessions is superb. Ranging from the brash and bawdy to reverent and sentimental, poets from the small press unite to express their own encounters and memories of the small press hero. Dave Church was born in 1947 and lived on Rhode Island making his living as a taxi driver after changing careers from doing home improvement work such as painting and carpentry. Thanks to the bio at the front and a reprint of an interview towards the end of this tribute I can share a little more about him. Dave Church passed away after Thanksgiving Day in 2008 of a heart attack and the poems below reveal the ripple effects in this world:

Two Guys Building A Poem
By: Rod Weston and Dave Church

The butterflies in my belly
Come alive before my feet
Hit the floor in the morning.

Yesterday’s footprints in the snow.
A bird silent on a wire.
Today’s roadmap.

In the chair by the window I wonder
Who belongs to the footprints in the snow.
The bird disappears.

The circumstances of a life
Are reflected by gray clouds.
I have for myself this moment.

Until the bird reappears on the wire
Warbling a song.

My feathered friend reminds me
To forget about
Spies, women, intrigue.

A spider crawling up the screen
On the outside
Looking in.

Its dark eyes seems amused
At such a ghastly sight
As me.

I tap the screen.
The spider tumbles to the roof.
I wonder why I did that.

Once again I’ll weave
A patchwork of coffee and smoke.
Memories fading.

Warm rain melting the snow.
May flowers pretty soon to bloom.
Butterflies in my belly fluttering still.

The small moments in life are reflected with wonderful detail in this collaborative poem. I love the lines “I tap the screen./The spider tumbles to the roof./I wonder why I did that.” Such a small moment that few ever think to write about yet we all have those very small moments and I’m happy it was included in this poem along with the more eloquent lines of “Once again I’ll weave/A patchwork of coffee and smoke” in the following stanza. The butterflies at the end are a reminder of Spring’s awakening in the silent snow. I think this is a beautiful poem.

For Dave Church
By R. Emolo

Blown-out poet dude warrior.
Older than dirty.
Taxi squad poet.
Old prune juice farts poetry.
Luck skilled bastard.
Fuck killed faster.
Fighting the landladies.
Gypsy taxi squad poet.
Rhode Island read.
Drinking toast!!!

Did I mention some of these poems are brash and bawdy? This one makes me grin mischievously and I had to share it with all of you. The opening two lines are the perfect set-up for the humor you can find in this poem.

Editors: Wants and Needs Update 2009
--Idea based on the fine original by Jon Taylor
By David S. Pointer

Nothing Wallace Stevens or
Lyn Lifshin might have penned.
No Dave Church clones. No
Bukowski hacks or hackettes.
No poems with poetry in them.
Nothing from the Beat School.
Definitely no Black Mountain
or experimental. No tag team
haiku hacking unless prearranged
by our German editor in Switzerland.
No circle hacks. Would like to see
more eco-friendly non-nature poems.
The guest editor would like to see
more middle of the road edge poems.
No sainted granny poems unless your
grandma drinks Blue Thong martinis…
I guess the only things left to mail
are muse magic, truth and passion.

I like this poem of what editors desire in their poets’ poems. Quite a few mentions of “hacks” as all too often people try to imitate those they admire instead of following their own beating of the drums. I love the quirky lines such as “No sainted granny poems/unless your grandma drinks Blue Thong martinis” as guidelines. You could just take this poem and post it as quirky guidelines to a small press publication, couldn’t you?

GOD is in The Cab
By Steve Dalachinsky

for your return address
these past 2 years
you put:

30 Forest St.
Providence R.I.

Now R.I.(P.)
as Providence would have
pickin’ up yer last fare
with yer heart
somewhere in the “…forest
of the Night”

up there right now
playin God to a host of passengers
in yer Technicolor Cab
pickin up hookers ‘n hustlers ‘n
gangsters ‘n lefties ‘n righties
‘n poets ‘n drunkards ‘n petty thieves…

tellin’ us “hippies” we should be
grateful for the free rides
speakin’ out like the music on
Main Street
wingin’ wishes just off the right
of Center
“tougher than bone or wood”
warm man/child
father lover/plain talker
teller of like it is

funny eye/cat speakin thru
the jive
i owe you lunch
/ you owe me a book
a visit
a letter /
savin’ on postage does not
make me happy right now
this has been a month of heart
attacks & suicides
& politics as usual
no matter what the believers
may think
but you crew-mate dreamer behind that macho mask
righteous gentleman are here with me now
returning my words.

I love the slang talk jive of this poem and the rhythm it produces. You can almost hear this man telling Dave Church like it is from his end, his observations about the life of his fellow poet and friend. I love poems that tell it like it is.

There are countless tributes to Dave Church and poems by Dave Church in this collection. You can visit Propaganda Press and pick up your own copy of Taxi Cab Poet Confessions for $6.00, which will also include a free bonus chapbook from the archives. I believe this collection will move you and I hope you will be able to enjoy learning about Dave Church as much as I have.

Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

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