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Archive for March 2010

Ode to morning time in PDX

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Poetry? Mostly boring if you ask me.

But there it is standing with you most every day. From the moment you wake up and strap shoes to your feet— coffee, bus stop, bus ride, familiar faces, sometimes conversation, sometimes not. Your iPod delivers a beat that shakes you out of your sleepy funk. Down Lombard, right on Greeley, picking up the last of the great minds that make this city tic, toc. Past the Adidas campus, Interstate. Condo skyline. Rose Quarter. Steel Bridge. Train tracks. Ocean bound freighter. Down past the shelter where humbled beings drift awake after a night of torture. Excuse me, this is my stop. Thank the bus driver. Into the crisp morning you go. The neighborhood. Alive.

Past the China shops to the Moroccan coffee house for Italian espresso, Illy’s. Small talk, walk, past more familiar faces. Business suits. Cherry blossoms. Junkies. Elderly tenants smoking in front of single room occupancies. Humans rise from doorways. “Hello.” “Are the streets hot this morning, George?” “Yes.” “No.” “Have a good day. Be safe.”

The smell of human odor and cigarette smoke greet me at the front door. Street Roots. My morning work begins.

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Posted by Israel Bayer


Written by lickmypoetry

March 31, 2010 at 9:53 pm

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What It Was

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It was desire that brought her
to the river
the first time-
tired of her first floor
fishbowl apartment.
As she stood there watching beaver
layering debris to build his home,
eagle skimming rivers edge,
she knew
she could call this place

It was necessity that brought her
to bathe those months in the icy, glacial flow-
freezing the dirt from her skin-
thick with woodchips
and sweat
and scars from the hearth stones.

It was strength that gave her
the seven hundred eighty-four steps
from the river to her tent-
a five-gallon pail grasped in each hand.
Gravity and symmetry
pulled her closer to the earth.
Her mind focused
to keep the precious drops from
spilling over.

It was a deep sadness that called her
that day to carry the
tattered memories of two years:
sprouted lentil seeds and guitar picks-
dropping, then sliding into the water.
She stood on the bank and waited for the
river current to pull those memories
the eight miles out to sea.

It was outrage that brought her
to watch as cranes and dump trucks
pushed the
red alder saplings,
silt and river rock

in on themselves,

in on the changing bank.
The cranes moved the river
first closer, then away.

It was fear that took her
to watch the rising river each hour that night.
To watch the driving rain.
To watch the river growing to encapsulate
the bank that had held it in for many years.
Two hundred foot spruce trees whizzed past her
like toothpicks- logs screaming past her on the highway.
Her truck parked at the top of the hill-
A last ditch escape.

It was faith that brought her
to lay her naked body
across the river stones.
Her ankles locked in the root of a fallen tree-
her body taught, then loosening-

above the glacial water
below the summer heat.

Lying there,
she came to realize how
the river would meter her life.
each ripple,
every meander,
the gravelly silt,
crisp green liquid
translucent and frigid
moving through a land that could never
hold her in.

Posted and read by Sue Zalokar

This poem was originally printed in Tidepools- a literary magazine produced by Peninsula College students. Read about Tidepools 2010.

Written by lickmypoetry

March 31, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Tweet your verse

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National Poetry Month is right around the corner. In honor of such an enormous event (chuckle) — the Seattle Times is hosting a poetry contest through Twitter. You can tweet rhymes, verses, musings, haiku or, my personal favorite, “what-have-you that is 140 characters or less.” Lets see, “On the bus, on the train, on the avenue, my uptick is faster than the speed of light. Try to keep up. Try, try, try. I bet you can’t.”

In other news, the head of the European Union is publishing a book of poetry. From the Wall Street Journal, “Herman Van Rompuy’s haiku poetry is already as much a part of inside-the-Brussels-beltway lore as endless summits, crooked cabbies and the question of whether the European Union will ever have a proper foreign policy.” Let’s hope Rompuy’s poetry is more of a reflection of what is happening inside-the-Brusells beltway, wild (I do mean wild) late-nights after those endless summits and something interesting about crooked cabbies— otherwise, snooze fest. Come on Herman, you’ve got it in you. Although this website does have Herman looking a little freakish. Maybe there’s hope yet.

Posted by Israel Bayer

Written by lickmypoetry

March 31, 2010 at 8:24 am


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raw foods are best they say.  so…
i am eating
carrots and mung sprouts
for optimum health.

i am listening to the daily reports:
food being dropped on a nation

bombs we are dropping on a Nation.

the radio has become a
cancerous growth.
my eyes are thick with
melanoma of television,
a single vision

like the 4th of July
i am standing in a crowd of                   People
watching the neon bombs far away.

20. March 2003

Posted by Sue Zalokar

Written by lickmypoetry

March 29, 2010 at 11:42 am

Posted in poem

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Artis the Spoonman teams up w/PoMotion

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PoMotions is proud to say out loud that Artis the Spoonman will be joining the blog as a regular contributor. You may know him best from Pike’s Place Market in downtown Seattle, where he has played spoons for years, or possibly from  his work with Soundgarden in the 90s.

I first met Artis in 2006 while working with Real Change newspaper in Seattle. Since then, Artis has been known to frequent the Street Roots (where I work now) office when he is Portland. He has volunteered his talents, poetry and most all his love to the street paper movement.

From his bio, “Artis the Spoonman is a living myth. Since 1972 he has created a state-of-the-artcultural legend. From the sidewalks and bars of Seattle, San Francisco, Manhattan, Sidney, London, Dublin, Munich and Singapore, to the theatres of Broadway, the stages of International and National television and the recording studios of Frank Zappa and Soundgarden, his spellbinding, faster-than-the-eye-can-trackspoonplaying has been a passionate rhythm enhancement for Rock, Fusion, Folk, Jazz, Bluegrass, Classical and Uncatagorizable music, virtually everywhere. His avante-garde percussion, coupled with his contagious spirit, will change your life– or at least your ideas on cutlery …”

He has shared the stage with the likes of Jim Page, Frank Zappa, Aerosmith, Steve Goodman, The Flying Karamazov Brothers, David Sanborn, Lacy J. Dalton, Peter Rowan, Jethro Burns, Ramblin Jack Elliot, Utah Phillips, Pete Seeger, k.d.lang, Bob Weir, Avner the Eccentric, Soundgarden, Itzhak Perlman, The Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra, Zakir Hussein, Queen Ida, Ani DiFranco, Phish, Left Over Salmon, The Radiators, String CheeseIncident, Pele Juju and Alice DiMicele.

Here he is playing the spoons with an orchestra. It will blow you away. (Shortcut: You can start @ about 1:50 in the video when Artis begins.)

His first poem for PoMotion, Contemporary Vagabond explores life on the streets, something Artis knows all to well. While it’s true, Artis is a living legend, most of all he is just a common man, and a beautiful poet.

Look for more from Artis, and announcements on new contributors in the coming days and weeks. Welcome aboard brother love.

Posted by Israel Bayer

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Written by lickmypoetry

March 28, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Random

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by Artis the Spoonman

Ah the sterile scent of dry dust
Under the overpass
The sporadic thump, thump
of the traffic overhead
Sorta lulls me to sleep
In my urban outdoor bed

I feel safe, but vulnerable
I feel alert, but relaxed
I don’t owe anybody
and no one owes me
Don’t want to hurt anybody
Hope no one hurts me
In this world of enchantment
I just want to live free
When it rains I get wet
When it’s hot I just sweat

Like an alarm clock
The thumps are getting closer above
Maybe today all the hate
Will turn to love
Livin outdoors ain’t nearly as hard
As the grief I get for being a bard
All my lovers are sublime
and my children love me true
They are few, and seldom seen
But what’s a vagabond to do?

I feel safe, but vulnerable
I feel alert, but relaxed
I don’t owe anybody
and no one owes me
Don’t want to hurt anybody
Hope no one hurts me
In this world of enchantment
I just want to live free
When it rains I get wet
When it’s hot I just sweat

I’m not guilty of the trespass
I’m so often accused
More the victim
than the instigator of abuse
The drugs, violence & deception
Are just as plentiful
in the banks and mansions
As on the streets
and under these transoms

I feel safe, but vulnerable
I feel alert, but relaxed
I don’t owe anybody
and no one owes me
Don’t want to hurt anybody
Hope no one hurts me
In this world of enchantment
I just want to live free
When it rains I get wet
When it’s hot I just sweat

Posted by Israel Bayer

Written by lickmypoetry

March 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Posted in poem

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“Remember to Wave” makes a splash in Portland

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Poet Kaia Sand is on a mission. In her most recently published book “Remember to Wave” (TinFish Press, 2010), Sand is bringing political history from the Pacific Northwest to light through poetry.

From the Oregonian on March 25, “Concerned with displacement, both physical and temporal, Sand focuses on 60 acres along the Columbia River that now hold the Portland Expo Center. In the early 1940s, the area housed more than 3,000 Japanese Americans bound for internment camps; it was later home to Vanport, which flooded out in 1948.

With help from a Regional Arts & Culture Council grant, Sand spent several years walking the site and conducting research. In “Remember to Wave,” she folds her notes, personal essays and lyric lines between photographs and ephemera, essentially mapping the consequences of displacement.”

Read the interview with Sand from the Oregonian.

Sand’s project was also highlighted in Street Roots, a street paper in Portland, Ore.,  in January in an in-depth article written by Carmel Bentley. In the article Sand says, “I wanted to create a dynamic form for thinking about our local political history and its connections to the present. I wanted to create a participatory experience as well as words on a page.”

Kaia Sand will perform “Remember to Wave: A Poetry Walk” at noon April 10. Hosted by Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Submit Literary Magazine, the walk begins at the Expo Center’s MAX stop (in Portland) and will last about two hours. The walk is free and open to the public. To take part, e-mail sand@thetangentpress.org; for more information, go to pen.org/members/sand

You can purchase a signed first edition of Remember to Wave through Powell’s Books in Portland.

Photo Courtesy of Street Roots/Ken Hawkins.

Posted by Israel Bayer

Written by lickmypoetry

March 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Posted in news

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