Tuesday, April 15, 2014

National Poetry Month 30/30 Haiku/Senryu

Well it's NaPoMo and I usually do 30 Haiku/Senryu for the month. But for some reason this year I just haven't been feeling it. I'm not sure why, but I just haven't been writing. Part of it is that I've sworn off writing certain kinds of love poems. Part of it is Frankie Knuckles dying (which for some reason really hit me hard) and some other bad news involving the health of some close friends. I actually only met Frankie once, but it was memorable for a few reasons. Over my DJ career I got to spin with quite a few legends, including Afrika Bambaataa, Red Alert, DJ Kool, Little Louie Vega, DJ Mandrill, Sam The Man Burns, Terminator X, DJ Frankski and a few others. But two of those occasions bookend my career and were very similar experiences. In 83 at the start of my career Bam came to DC to play at a club called the Zoo where I was the house jock. Bam was already a legend, but DC wasn't into hip hop like that and as a result no one showed up. When I say no one, I mean no one. We didn't have a single paid entry. So me and Bam and his Record Boy (a young CCNY Sophomore named Rick Rubin) spent the whole night listening to records. Basically it was Bam quizzing me and then playing shit I had never heard before. It was the best education a DJ could ever ask for. Bam was chill, he didn't trip off the lack of a crowd, he just played records for us and we had a great time. He asked me if there where any records I was missing from my collection and I told him how I had never been able to find "High Powered Rap" by Crash Crew, Bam whipped it out and told me the story of why the record got pulled from all the stores. I never forgot his magnanimity and graciousness. Years later, in 1992 just after I had quit spinning I got a call to ask if I would play with Frankie Knuckles at Traxx in DC for Howard's Homecoming. I was done spinning, but I wasn't passing up that chance. I was just there to warm up the crowd and watch the system for the House, but Frankie was mad cool. Like Bam he travelled with a gazillion records, many of them rare. At one point he asked me what was the first record I ever bought, I said "Cuba" by the Gibson brothers. He goes through his crate and pulls it out! I hadn't heard that joint in 15 years but he cued it up. We talked music and how he accidentally invented House Music and lots of other things. He was mad cool, at one point he pulled out a white label copy of Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman" (which wouldn't be out for another six months)it was a DJ's dream gig, hanging out with a legend and talking music. For a cat of his stature he, like Bam, was very gracious, just a really cool dude. It was an amazing way to end a career, a night I'll never forget. But usually this kind of thing spurs me to write. I haven't been reading as much either and really have no excuses for that. I did attend Split This Rock in DC to do the Black Rooster Reading and that was the bomb. I also went to Pittsburgh to read for the launch of the Electronic Corpse anthology which I have some work in. And I've been asked to read at the Best American Poetry 2014 event this September. That's obviously a really big deal since you have to have a poem in the anthology to be asked to read and they only ask a few people out of the hundred or so who are included. That will be an exciting trip to NYC for me, for sure. Hopefully I'll still get my 30 poems in this month, but right now it doesn't look good, my Muse appears to be on strike.

April morning
flatness of the Atlantic-
Every page blank

Until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Tuesday Tidbit 1 APR 14

Wharehouse echoes-
Frankie Knuckles
final groove

Until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Poetic Tweets for NPR 2014

For the last two years the National Public Radio program "Tell Me More" hosted by Michel Martin has featured poetic tweets during the entire month of April to help celebrate National Poetry Month. If one wants to participate one merely needs to include the hashtag #Tmmpoetry in the Tweet one wants considered for the program. The Tweets are read aloud (twice!) on the air. Both of the previous years I was lucky enough to have one selected. So, below find the ten Tweets that I thought might be worthy this year. 

Polar Vortex-
The hole in my sock

So little snow
so many flakes

Union Station-
In each other's arms
on the steam grate

Lighthouse beacon- 
The burnt orange of her lips
through the fog

Don't call it a comeback
We been here for years-
Hum of cicadas

Razor wire-
The creases in Father's
Orange jumpsuit

August heat-
The kink in the rope 
between her teeth

August afternoon-
A drunk tongues
an empty bottle

February First-
Shoveling a path to
the grill

Chess tournament-
A boy moves from his
father's shadow

Red light-
The car locks popping
as I cross

Until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits 11 MAR 14

Not John Henry-
New sign on 
the Office door

Spring Cleaning-
Leaping up to dust
the top shelf

Between the hangover
And the blackout-
Cherry Blossoms

Heavy flurries-
Opening the door to
a blank page

On Friday I posted a haiku about a friend's recent cancer diagnosis and as poets sometimes do, forgot that all of the context that was in my head wasn't on the page. Sorry if anyone thought the diagnosis was mine and I appreciate the concern. 

Until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Friday Follies 7 MAR 14

Doctor says Stage Four- 
Coffee darkens a napkin 
then tablecloth  

And until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits 4 MAR 14


Summer sunrise-
The casino refills 
the ATMS

Walking backwards
Across the parking lot-
The Crab Nebulae

his name in black granite
Sliver of moon 

Manager's Office-
The telephone cord

Harvest moon-
A tight skirt waves
at passing cars

Red light-
The car locks popping
as I cross

Wide river-
Thelonious brooding
in the darkness

False eyelashes-
Wiper blades fill
with snow flakes

Lottery Balls-
Snow flakes on a bay breeze

Until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Friday Follies 28 Feb 14 Review of new Ballys poker Room


Morning tide
Wave after wave after wave
the schoolbus departs

Slice of pizza-
A Boardwalk seagull gives the sideye

Boardwalk sunrise-
A dab of butter on my bagel

Bare Exposure-
She removes all but makeup for money

A single long braid
her spine 

So little snow
so many flakes

Ten degrees-
Exhaling clouds
he bums a cig

Dear John Letter-
The ocean retreats
comes back again

April morning-
The Storm Drain clogged
with cherry blossoms

Polar Vortex-
The hole in my sock
saying Hello

Spring morning-
Following the butterfly 
on her ankle

Went to check out the new poker room at Ballys. While the one room is very nice, the space is spread out and they have more tables than there is likely to be demand for. The player base for poker is shrinking in AC due to all the new rooms in surrounding states and unless they have a plan to bring players back to AC they are going to wind up with a lot of dead space. A reasonable estimate is that they can double the action they had in the upstairs room in the months preceding the move. As hard as Dan and Julio are trying to make this room work there are signs everywhere that the executives above them are morons who don't understand poker, its culture or how to make the room succeed. A room this big needs players and things like Destination Tournaments, yet there is no evidence that they have any scheduled. Casears used to have a WSOP Circuit event, it was their one destination tournament, but if they plan on having one here there isn't a single ad or flyer or other piece of evidence that attests to that fact. Secondly, they put in a new gaming pit in the Wild West near the poker room that doesn't have a Craps table. It's almost impossible for me to explain how stupid this is. When some poker players lose, they often go chase their losses in the pit. The two most common games that they play when doing this are Craps and Blackjack. The Borgata has the highest grossing poker room in AC because they understand poker players, when you walk out of the Borgata poker room the first gaming table you see is a Craps table. This isn't an accident, they know that poker players on tilt will often head straight to the Pit, and Craps is the number one destination. Another example of how stupid the Ballys management is, is that I had a Security Supervisor almost throw me out of the room because I was sitting on a dead table. I've been playing poker for over ten years in AC and have never heard of this. In every poker room I've ever been in guys sit on dead tables while waiting for a game. It's a normal part of poker culture, I was also told that players would no longer be allowed to have people sit behind them while playing. These are bad signs for a new room, the Revel poker room failed in part because of similar missteps when they first opened. It doesn't look good for this room either, throwing people out for sitting on dead games is almost like saying you want the room to fail. Overall I'd say if you played at Ballys before,  you probably will continue to, but if you didn't there's no reason to start doing so now. 

Until next we meet, may all your potatoes be sweet (and dusted with cinnamon.)