World War III Will Start in the Minds of the Deprived and in the Hearts of the Depraved by Jose Padua

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Trash day morning

World War III Will Start in the Minds of the Deprived and in the Hearts of the Depraved

lost in an ocean of shit
I’d gotten myself
in a discussion
of Fascism
with an ex-Army man
from Chicago at this bar.
He didn’t like the way
the word got tossed around,
having something specific in mind.
I was trying
to throw the meaning everywhere,
from politics and law
on down to the ancient practice of foot binding
and the excessive use of make up
by women who aren’t hookers.
All the time my eyes were
on the barmaid’s hips which
were squeezed into these tight black
spandex pants.

I knew I was too drunk
to be talking about anything
and too drunk to be
about anything but sex.
I also knew I was
too drunk to do
anything reasonable about it,
so I paid,
gave the barmaid a nice tip,
said goodbye to
everyone and

I got home,
walked upstairs,
and threw up
all over the books
on the floor of
my room.
There were some
good ones there,
some of which
I hadn’t read yet.
I picked them up,
wiped them off
with a dirty tee shirt,
threw the shirt in the trash,
and went to sleep,
ready for nightmares
filled with Nazis
and no women,
all because
life is too short
to be spent
looking for
peace of mind.

– Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua. Jose Padua is co-author of the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.

Roberto Bolano, an Appreciation by Ron Kolm

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Roberto Bolano, an Appreciation


by Ron Kolm


So you’re a young poet, and you’ve just heard a pretty good reading at Gathering of Tribes on Third Street, and you had yourself a beer or two during the event, which you didn’t pay for because you’re broke and the amount of rent you pay for your East Village walk-up is exorbitant, but you mean well, you’re not a bad person; you’ll drop some extra change in the hat next time you come. And now you find yourself outside on the sidewalk with a gaggle of your friends, who are also poets, trying to decide which local watering hole you should all head for. Let’s say you end up at the Parkside Lounge on East Houston Street, watching your buddies shoot pool — all the while caging drinks from them; obviously you’re still without cash, and the best strategy here is to get one of the folks who’s better off at this moment to buy a pitcher – and you manage to pull that off – heck, maybe you can get him to buy two pitchers; it’s worth considering. And then your friends who have been shooting pool come back to the table; they’ve all lost to the regulars who have better chops, poolwise.

And now everyone crowds around the table, talking a little too loudly, and getting all excited as the conversation turns, as it always does, to ‘what are you reading? Who are your favorite authors? Who do you think will last?’ And all the usual names come up; Faulkner, Woolf, Joyce; because you and your gang all are college grads; hell, most of you took creative writing courses in school, and there’s even an MFA or two among the group. So someone says, “Umm, I don’t know, maybe Jonathan Franzen?” And everyone shrugs uneasily and looks down at their beers. And then someone else posits, “What about Johathan Safran Foer?” – followed by more uncomfortable shuffling around, as someone to your left replies, “Maybe not so much…”

And then you speak up, the beer making you bold: “Roberto Bolano; he’s the real thing! He’ll last!” And this is followed by a brief silence, some murmurs of assent, and then someone, and there’s always someone, asks, “Who’s that? Never heard of him.” And then you break into your Bolano routine.

“Ah,” you say, “He’s a Kerouac/Joyce smoothie! He was as smart as Joyce, and he travelled as widely and worked enough dead-beat jobs to rival Mister Kerouac!”
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Audio / Visual MnemoTechnics: Raised Fist Salute by bart plantenga

Posted on by urbangraffito Posted in Audio / Video MnemoTechnics, Bart Plantenga, Daily, Essay | Comments Off on Audio / Visual MnemoTechnics: Raised Fist Salute by bart plantenga

Raised Fist Salute


“The greatest problem is we are afraid to offend our oppressors. I had a moral obligation to step up. Morality was a far greater force than the rules and regulations they had.”

• John Carlos

“If I do something good then I am American, but if I do something bad then I am a Negro!”

• Tommie Smith

I got together with filmmaker-friend Mark Boswell in his clammy Greenpoint, New York kitchen shortly after the Olympics. While we tapped multiple Polish Zywiec and Tyskie beers, we somehow got onto the subject of iconic images and – maybe not so coincidentally – both of us came up with John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s raised fist salute at the 1968 Olympics as one of the mind-blowing images that remains indelibly engraved on our subconscious. Then we opened up the laptop to watch Youtubes documenting the events surrounding the 1968 Olympics. It brought tears to our eyes – no really – I mean real heavy tears welling up.

The image of bronze medalist Carlos and gold medalist Smith’s black-gloved salute on the podium during the medals ceremony after Smith’s record-breaking performance in the 200m dash, provoked a global scandal that led to disgrace, vilification, and ostracism for the participants, including silver medalist, Australia’s Peter Norman  who showed his support by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge (OPHR) along with Carlos and Smith.

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For Mojtaba Mirimirani As Late Biker Outlaw by Jose Padua

Posted on by josepadua Posted in Art, Daily, Jose Padua, Photography, Poetry, Writing | Comments Off on For Mojtaba Mirimirani As Late Biker Outlaw by Jose Padua


Excess gives life a sweet sting.
It’s that flash of speed that
gives shape to the concept of motion,
dissolves the inessential contentment
of stability and gives way to bliss.
Speeding down the road on your motorcycle
you felt good, you felt high. You had
the speed matched through eye and hand,
the power of the world between your knees.
Riding your bike was almost better
than riding a beer swilling, pot smoking woman
on pills, a woman with a wetness
that wouldn’t quit, a woman who could make
you scream oh yeah oh yeah just one more time.
When the wheels took over one night
it killed you, and it was a while
before we knew. Maybe if we’d had the time
to find the right woman
she could have brought you back.
You’d be here with us tonight, drinking up
and getting stoned, thumbing your nose at death.
From now on whenever I get drunk
and lose my step I’ll remember how
you once saved me from drowning.
It’ll help me regain my balance,
help me stay young, and in a world
full of people who’ve never considered
becoming criminals, help me move ahead,
howling all the way, into a thousand years of midnight.

Jose Padua
José Padua’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Bomb, Salon.com, Exquisite Corpse, Another Chicago Magazine, Unbearables, Crimes of the Beats, Up is Up, but So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992, and many other journals and anthologies. He has also written features and reviews for NYPress, Washington City Paper, the Brooklyn Rail and the New York Times. He has read his work at the Lollapalooza Festival, CBGBs, the Knitting Factory, the Black Cat Club, the Public Theater, the Washington Project for the Arts, and many other venues. José also blogs at Shenandoah Breakdown with his life partner, poet Heather Davis, and at the blog, Kings of the Road, and for Salon.com. José Padua’s most recent collection of poetry is a chapbook, The Complete Failure of Everything (2008: The Apathy Press Poets, Baltimore).

Photograph by Jose Padua. Jose Padua is co-author of the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.

Hand Jobs, a poem by Ron Kolm

Posted on by Ron Kolm Posted in Audio, Daily, Poetry, Ron Kolm, Writing | Comments Off on Hand Jobs, a poem by Ron Kolm

Hand Jobs

It’s my first day on the job —
A factory making steel drums.
“You’ll be rubbing acid on new
Welds to seal them,” the foreman
Tells me. “Here’s some rubber
Gloves,” he says, throwing me a pair.
“You don’t want to get that shit
On your skin.” I put them on
And feel air on my hands.
The tips of the gloves are
Worn away, and I wiggle
My fingers for his benefit.
“Sorry, dude, it’s all we got,”
He says, as I give them back
And head out to the parking lot
Get into my truck and smash
The dashboard with my fist.
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