Jul 30
Wednesday

Issue XI, Volume V : July 2014

Michael Vander Does- Poetry

VanderDoes-Poetry Michael Vander Does is a jazz-poet and a video technology expert. He has been performing with The Jazz Poetry Ensemble for 25 years. The JPE was formed on the recommendation of Allen Ginsberg, who suggested Michael combine his poetry and trombone playing. Michael is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council grant for individual artists and a Puffin Foundation grant. He has been published in The Croton Review, Café Noir, and Negative Capability. His most recent publications have been a collection of poems about basketball in the webzine, The Scream Online and his long poem Thanamattapoeia, which has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, in the webzine Tryst. In conjunction with co-founder of the JPE, Michael Sisson, he published their book Inca Blues: Poems and Translations from the Jazz Poetry Ensemble. He was the founder of the Poetry in the Park program for the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks. At 59, he is still an avid basketball player.
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IN THE RAILWAY STATION/POSTCARDS FROM THE JUNGLE
 
 
1.
Teaching the children trying to
spare them simple mistakes
of mixing water and electricity
strong drink and dogma
but there are things that cannot be said
iridescent cogs and pawls whir, click, snap
with
implication of meaning
judgments
that must be made
 
talking of quanta: charm and love and music and right and Libre Union
 
this is a rock
this is a mountain
this is a dog
 
2.
Just 18 the year shattered
shattered again
yet to be shattered
me and Iris making out in her basement
after watching the moon landing
Todd and Wendy round the corner
making out too
everything curve-a-tumble
that first step in space
life without bottom
in slow black and white
making out in the shadows of (time)
 
3.
In a Stalin night I saw you
your heart
like a flywheeel
magnetransducified by history
and sunspots
shone
with the light
of a saint
a maccabee
a king tubman ghandi
x a paine twain
heart like a flywheel
but these are not absolutes
(don’t smoke round gasoline)
 
it is resistance
that creates light
 
4.
these are not bad times
 
here
now
for us
 
there are bad things
hard things
and struggle
 
but these are not
the bad times
when silence thickens our joints and stiffens our muscles
fear slows the reflex amid the slow concretion of pain
autumn in my eyes
 
5.
autumn in my eyes
fearing
for the children
wondering which will be taken
by the plague
which will start fleeing the black growl of the chopper
and end in the grey swamp of prison
or exile
or asylum
who raped
who shredded by throwing star swastikas pissed from the
fascist pricks of the priests of righteousness and revelation
or driven off the road by a vinten county redneck
pickup never learned to drive drunk
which will face the torture (la tortura)
and break or die
 
6.
The general implied it was arrogant
(and a general should know)
to think god would care
which team
won a ballgame.
Or
it seems
who wins a war
they say god doesn’t bargain
not with us
can’t trade him your belief for bigotry
first-born for justice
your soul for freedom
I don’t bargain either
not with god
 
the challenge of pre-post-modernism is finding commitment
in the face of meaninglessness and stupidity
 
maybe                                who knew, who cared
 
7.
defining ourselves
which definition do you want
dictionary
thesaurus
quotation book
 
hasid sideburns beard mutilated wife
the mother the mother’s mother the good mother the good soldier
facility with money wealth yes that’s attractive
wise with torah words and kabbalah
grew up in the ’hood with yiddish and eastern europe’s food
one who would be ghettoized hated feared fired burned
jackbooted jingo desert jackal worrying the bone of palestine
do not choose too glibly
 
8.
when the bad times come
 
here                 now
 
the trumpet or the lute
shout in the street lead
through walls sifting dirt for artifacts and bones
 
it has happened
it has happened to us
it will happen again
perhaps suddenly
after AIDS is cured
 
and your children
play carefree
in the garden of sex
 
knock at the door
tug at the ear
burn in the night
 
and it happens to other people now
in malawi and rawalpindi
in chiapas and we
are
the other people
we should all answer
 
other
 
when they ask
how
we would like
to be divided
they use more colors
than yellow
and pink
 
9.
the dog
sleek now with daily bread
streetlife dim with (time)
tied on the terrace at Rigsby’s
cadging food from the tourists
 
he’s been fed already
he’s a dog
 
10.
I do not
tangled
need
to see
together
do not need
to feel
hands reaching
the sjambok’s bite
ephemeral as a
photon
I step
into
the railroad car