Sunday, March 29, 2015

God's Son Lay Down by Michael Adams

God’s Son Lay Down

God’s son walked down the street, His son
walked down East Colfax Ave. on a Jan. morning,
1AM, in the snow, torn sneakers and an alto sax and nowhere
to rest his head, nowhere except
in the lap of an old junkie whore,
and God’s son lay down his dark head there,
Lay down his head on the altar of flesh
weary of preaching love,
offering his music of love.
But no one hears –
that we are all each other,
and all one, and each
of us is holy
and the earth is holy,
this old battered boot-worn holy earth.
But no one hears and so God’s son
lay down his head again to die
and be reborn with the new day, reborn to preach
his only commandment,
To love that old bum, that old drunk vet,
that old woman smelling of vomit
and despair who once was
someone’s daughter,
and someone’s daughter on the street now –
15 years old and run-away, pregnant punching bag
with needle nightmares,
His son lay down his head because no one
wanted to hear about love, only
about vengeance and sin,
And God’s son lay down his weary head
with it’s undying burden of sorrow,
which is no more or less than joy offered
and not taken, lay down
his weary head in a back alley in the snow
in the lap of an old whore
and blew softly, softly
to his Father, the prayer
of his music.
Michael Adams copyright © 2011

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Schuyler Colfax - The Porchlights


An original song by The Porchlights. A song about Schuyler Colfax, one time vice president, who died from the bitter cold in Mankato, Minnesota on January 13, 1885.
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On January 13, 1885, a wandering traveler made a mid-morning stop in Mankato, Minnesota, in order to change trains. It was sharply cold in Mankato—30 degrees below zero—but this wanderer, undeterred, took to the walkways to make the three-quarter mile jaunt between Front Street and Omaha Line train stations. Upon reaching Omaha Line depot, our man consulted a map upon the wall, used the men’s room, and—in the final seconds of his 61-year-old life—returned to a waiting area where he took a seat. Presently, he collapsed, his heart the blame. Folks attending to the fallen man knew not his identity until someone went into his pockets. They found there his name, and this new knowledge threw the procession of events into new light. This wandering traveler’s name was Schuyler Colfax, and from 1869–73 he had served as Vice-President of the United States of America.

Colfax had been on his way from Chicago to Rock Rapids, Iowa, where he was to give a public lecture. Since retiring from public service after having his name muddied in a stock scandal, Colfax had made his living giving speeches and lectures. The general public was more than eager to hear this man who hailed from Indiana and was nicknamed “Smiler” Colfax expound upon his Civil Wartime relationship with President Abraham Lincoln. In fact, Republican Party member Colfax knew Lincoln well and presided over the passage of the 13th Amendment as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Lincoln had invited Colfax to Ford’s Theatre to watch the April 14, 1865, rendering of the play Our American Cousin, but Colfax declined. After Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater, Colfax spent the last hours of the President’s life bedside in the room where Lincoln died. Colfax’s own death twenty years later in Mankato was less violent, but no less bizarre, in some respects, and no less premature. (Mankato Free Press)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lost on Colfax Avenue

Lost on Colfax Avenue
By John Calderazzo

Walking to the Tattered Cover bookstore past the lacy battlements of Denver East High and Pete's Greek restaurant, I hear a faint scrabbling of plastic on concrete. Not far down an empty side street I see a shaggy figure in an army surplus jacket waving a blind man's stick and turning uncertainly in the corner made by a locked warehouse and gray retaining wall. He takes a half step this way, then that, a green beetle trapped in a shoebox, one antenna gone.

He stops, letting his cane rest on the cracked sidewalk. I almost call out, then remind myself to give him time to work back through the bent geometry of his memory. Once, in a mangrove swamp in Florida, I lost myself in the late afternoon, paddling in circles in a canoe, snail-encrusted roots curving everywhere out of water, living walls too high to see over and too delicate to climb, threatening to crumble like branch coral under my weight. Ten thousand mirror-image islands darkened as the sky turned orange, then faded while mosquitoes closed in.

I willed myself to stop paddling. Then gravity began to show me the way, a ghost current I calmed myself enough to feel, following my breath out of myself, letting the flow tug me, finally, into the Nirvana of open water, where the line between silver sea and silver sky had disappeared. Like easeful death, I thought, not a place, but a state of mind I might float into the way this blind man cornered by concrete and his daily life might soon arrive at a calm center, as he stands in a garden waiting for flowers to break open, their fragrance laying a path of stones in whatever direction he needs to go. But now he waves the cane and turns again, and though I haven't moved or made a sound, he stops and faces me. He crooks an arm, lifts it, waits.
 
  John Calderazzo's stories, essays and poems have appeared in dozens of magazines and literary reviews, including Audubon, Bellevue Literary Review, Georgia Review, North American Review, Orion, The Runner, Witness, and elsewhere. His books include an over-the-shoulder nonfiction writing guide, Writing from Scratch: Freelancing; a children's science book, 101 Questions about Volcanoes; and Rising Fire: Volcanoes and Our Inner Lives, a personal travelogue which looks at ways in which volcanoes around the world have affected human culture. A former fulltime freelance writer and now an award-winning creative writing teacher at Colorado State University, he has had his work cited in both Best American Essays and Best American Stories. He’s presently working on a book of poems.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

girl in room five fifteen

 
the girl in room five fifteen
the royal roach motel
sitting with her box of crackers
in the setting sun
most of the time shes focused on the path
to the next drama free dream
but tonight shes putting on that red dress
and fixing up a confused face to put on
and picking up the keys to the kingdom
she strolls out the door
and up on  the avenue
shes a smile to those she endears
shes a shadow to those who don't
remember the first lesson of the road
you cant succeed till you have utterly failed
so i play her a soft song cause i know it must hurt
to be on that bitter betrayal with no way home
she toils into the night hunched over the table
to create a boxer to fight her demons for her
she makes him out of cardboard
and pictures pasted from magazines
but she is quick to judge
and kicks him out before he can say a word
so he sits quietly at the greyhound station
and crumbles slowly into his pretend memories
the girl in fife fifteen
royal roach motel
up on colorado boulevard
eating her crackers in the setting sun
waiting for her prince to rescue her
but he caught a train
and now he's in the california mountains
trying to be a better hippy
she knows she has nothing left but
the crackers
and the setting sun
i think thats a terrible way to live
but im not the one looking for perfection
in the baubles from the gutters
of colfax avenue
so glad left all that misery behind
goodnight my spanish bride of the winter
fare thee well
hope you find your kingdom