We Interrupt This Broadcast

Two Poems by
Gary Beck
 
Recurrence
 
Despite the advances
in technology
that we take for granted,
some of us
still camp out for days
to get the latest gadget.
And as the Information Age evolves
addicting us
to electronic services
beyond comprehension
a century ago,
civilization
grinds to a halt,
as it always has,
when terrorists assault
the vulnerable public.
 
The Natural Way
 
Most of us
have strong feelings
and get annoyed
irritated, angry,
lose control
in varying degrees
generally confined
to emotional outbursts,
often resulting
in harsh words,
nasty confrontations,
frequent violence,
but the simmering desire
to hurt strangers,
create mass destruction
is rooted in nature’s
basic harshness
affecting all life.
 
—————–
 
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Perceptions, Tremors and Perturbations will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Press). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). Call to Valor will be published by Gnome on Pigs Productions. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

Poet Interview #40 – Gary Beck

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?
 
I started writing poetry at age 16, mostly ponderous imitations of the English Romantics, Byron, Keats, Shelly. I had a difficult childhood and writing seemed to be an escape from harsh reality. I gradually began to develop my own voice. I wrote some short stories, got involved in theater and began to write plays, essays, then novels. Some of my favorite poets are Whitman, Poe, Eliot, Baudeair, Mallarme, many others.
 
How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?
 
I am now in the stage of my life where I have accumulated a store of material that I draw on regularly. My concept of poetry changed drastically a number of years ago. I became much more concerned with issues, rather than traditional forms.
 
Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?
 
I am on Facebook and Twitter, though not as active as I should be. I’m really pretty much a loner, except for a small group of editors who publish me, a few writer friends and theater people I worked with.
 
What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?
 
If you are not called to poetry, compelled to create, or just a liberal arts dabbler, do something else. There are too many dilettantes now. If it is a serious commitment, read magazines, get to know editor(s) who have compatible taste and reach out to them.

Textures and Trajectories

Two Poems
by Sanjeev Sethi
 
CRY
 
A fashion show
projects the body.
Can someone organize
a show of soul?
I, too, want
to be a model.
 
DO OVER
 
If loving is a prayer, I must be a mean worshiper.
You wore the hood of humility, some slip on when
they are sure. No watershed is shaped by another’s
tractate. Pathfinder’s advance is endogenous, afflatus
their own. My way of stonewalling your invincibility
was by owning to your contours inflating my cravings.
To seek ballast I eschewed fitful textures & trajectories.
Lovers are loaned. Poetry is mine like God.
 
 
—————-
 
 
Sanjeev Sethi has authored three books of poetry. This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015) is his latest work. He is widely published in several countries, and lives in Mumbai, India.

Poet Interview #39 – Sanjeev Sethi

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? At what age did you start writing? Have you always written poetry? Who/what first inspired you to start writing? Who are your favorite poets?
 
I am essentially a poet. I have published three books. Bloomsbury published my third, This Summer and That Summer in October 2015.
 
I don’t remember the exact time or age when I started inditing but love of poetry came early. I was a lonely child and extremely sensitive. I recall the joy of reading, whenever in my little mind I could make sense of poetic lines it would delight me to no end.
 
I had this daybook where I used to write and I have memories of my school magazine publishing my poems. As with a lot of poets I fell in love, or what I thought was love when I was thirteen or so.
 
The bliss and baggage that comes with young love crept into my poems and still does.
 
How do you first start writing a poem? Does it come to you out of the blue, or do you have a set time where you meet with your Muse each day and let the words just … come? Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poetry?
 
Different poems reach in different ways. For some it is my response to an emotional experience, others just fall on to my keyboard. Sometimes it is a fleeting thought and at other times a word can trigger a poem.
 
Each poem has its rhythm, its sequence. I have no favorite poets. I just read and read. A line here, an idea there, a beginning somewhere, a turn of phrase, a full poem sometimes, many poems by another. I keep flitting and flirting. I am not a loyalist. I am a slave of the poetic form, not of individuals who create it.
 
I am right now in an extremely aggressive phase so the whole day is spent in chasing Muse and her mission. When I began writing there was a lot more emotion in my work. Now, it is a little controlled. I don’t know if this is a phase or a part of growing up.
 
It maybe relevant to read Conduction from This Summer and That Summer.
 
CONDUCTION
 
If you enter poetry
like a nabob before a nautch
it will leave you listless.
 
When you peruse a poem, perpend it
like a psalm or salat. When faith
is installed guerdon is assured.
 
Parnassus has to be pampered, immune
from the inhibitions of mind only then
will it woo with its vim and valence.
 
When you undress a poem with dignity,
delicately like a lover, it will disrobe you
of excess, accessing your inner feelings.
 
SANJEEV SETHI
 
 
Are you on Facebook or Twitter or any other social media? Does that fit into your writing life, and if so, how?
 
I am a little shy and away from all this. But everyone I know and their grandmother goads me to take this path. Maybe one day I will give in. But right now I am away from it all.
 
Do you have a writing group or community of writers you share your work with? Who are they? What are you reading right now?
 
No, mine in an insular existence. I am really not in touch with local poets. I guess everyone has their own story. My second book, Nine Summer Later was published in 1997. At that point in time I had spent about 15 years as a media professional and was a published poet. Dom Moraes had written the Introduction, Nissim Ezekiel’s comment was on the flap. My poems and articles were all over the place. I was the film critic of The Daily but I wasn’t enjoying my journalistic writing. Meter was and is my marijuana. Sadly poetry makes no money. Around the same time circumstances conspired in such a manner that they allowed me the space to create. Strangely, when this happened my need to publish subsided. I was happy to read, write and pursue the prosodic route. I did this quietly for 15 years, writing but not publishing.
 
Suddenly in the summer of 2013 there was again an itch to publish. I emailed four poems to The London Magazine. Two days later Steven O’ Brien, the editor asked for ‘some more poems’. Half an hour later I had an acceptance. This goaded me to send poems to another journal. At last count it is more than 100 acceptances the world over. Somewhere along the line Bloomsbury happened. This Summer and That Summer was born in October 2015. The basic point I am trying to make is that I am so locked up creating that there is really no time to exchange and interact with others.
 
What words of encouragement can you offer other poets who are trying to get their work noticed?
 
Just urge my young friends to read. Internet has opened the options. There is a lot of good work there. Keep reading, writing and submitting. That is the mantra. Don’t let rejection ever get to you. To be rejected is reality. It comes with the territory. The sooner you accept it the better it is for you.

Forever, Faust, and Funeral Train Blues

Three Poems
by Mike Roach

This Machine Kills Free Thought

Forever picked a beautiful hill to die on
Buzzards circle the sunlight in anticipation
Waiting, salivating over someone else’s prey
Remember tomorrow like it happened yesterday
And never present the gift of present tense
Innocence, in a sense
Bloody fingerprints on the piano keys
I pieced myself back together with pieces of you
But I took nothing you’ll miss and I promise to
Return it all when I come back from the point of no return
You’re sentimentally insane about watching me burn
You’re the one who tied me to the stake
But I was able to walk away so
Don’t give it another thought and
Forget yourself in something eternal so you’ll never be forgotten
Open the box and put on the pawn shop diamond ring
Hope my neck doesn’t break so you can watch me swing

Living in a Van Down by the River

Faust found himself down and with a story to tell
Prostituting his truth to have a story to sell
And without a word sat beneath the tree
To write in pain his train track tragedy

Faust found himself down in Clarksdale
With Legba’s hounds on his trail
A bargain on the run, bought for a broken song and sold
The highways tortured Faust’s poor paid-for soul

Faust finally found his way up to Memphis
With a bottle and a book, coming back from New Orleans
Papa’s rabid dogs ran him down
Into the dirt of the road

Faust found himself buried a few miles out of town
The sky was open any which way he looked around
His eyes rolled back and he knew the blues
When the old man with the crutch came to collect his due

Wife Gone on the Funeral Train Blues

I’m going crazy without you here
Bringing gods to their knees and stones to tears
Divert your attention, avert your eyes
I’d swim 2,000 miles of filthy water to meet you on the other side

An apparition presented, the mirror resented
The bride in the hearse, the logical poet demented
I’d do anything for you but I refuse to die
I’m gonna go where you are and bring you back alive

Two parts courage and three parts trust
Don’t look back, something might be gaining on us
I walked with you until the very end
And turned around just in time to watch you disappear again

I sang the blues until my throat bled
My fingertips blistered and the wine went to my head
I broke into hell to undo what the vipers done
I can’t love you in death, as I did in life
I’m losing my breath, but know I tried
Tread through fire to bring you back home

—–

Mike Roach is a poet, father, Buddhist, and Dylanologist from Memphis, Tennessee. His debut book of poetry (Another Self-Fulfilling Prophet Hung by the Neck Until Dead) is due out soon. His writing has been described as “both gut-wrenching and illuminating” (author Nikki Anne Schmutz) and “an amphetamine for one’s own thoughts” (frontman Julian Stanz of Memphis alt-rock band with Bravado). His time spent not writing is passed by watching pro wrestling and plotting to trick the world into thinking he’s the greatest poet of all time.