Sunday, April 19, 2015

I35 Creativity Corridor: Looking Back Squarely and/or Obliquely at Oklahoma

Now that the Truck's been oiled and gassed up, let's look back at the poets from OK who have hitched a ride. As we draft this post, storms are firing up to the west (sound track = low rumbling of thunder). Cooler breezes have slid in, and banks of clouds are stacking up. Hey, it's springtime on the southern plains. Time to hunker down or at the very least stay weather aware.

See you in Kansas starting on Monday. We'll pick up Siobhan Scarry, Megan Kaminski, Jim McCrary, and Joe Harrington (and any other KS poets who would like to hop on on short notice, hint hint).

For poems, photos, bios, other materia/l from OK poets who have graced us with their presence/prescience in the/our passenger's seat, click on the links below:

Todd Fuller

Timothy Bradford
 Pretty sure I saw Anne Waldman, Lisa Lewis, and Ai in Tim's back pocket.

Grant Matthew Jenkins
 Pretty sure I saw Ron Padgett and Ted Berrigan in Grant's back pocket.

Sandra Soli

Chad Reynolds

Hugh Tribbey

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

Larry Bierman
Pretty sure I saw Madison Morrison in his back pocket.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I35 Creativity Corridor: Looking Back Squarely at Texas

Before crossing into Kansas, Truck would like to take a weekend break from the road. Today while the engines of poetry cool, it's time to look in the rearview mirror back to Texas (you can checkout but you can never leave, eh?).

Actually, we'll get out of the Truck. This work needs to be seen full frontal; none of this over the shoulder glancing for us (you're either fleeing or scornful). For poems, photos, bios, other stuff, click on the poets below:

Charles Alexander

Kyle Schlesinger

Cindy St. John

Lisa Moore

Desiree Morales

Tina Posner

David Longoria

Ash Smith

Tomorrow we'll take a Sunday look back at Oklahoma (unless thunderstorms chase us north).

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I35 Creativity Corridor: Grant Matthew Jenkins, Tulsa, OK, April 17

The Tulsa Spur

Tulsa sits on a spur branching off but still in the gravity of the I-35 corridor, a road I was born on and have I’ve been traveling all my life.  I came here thinking it would be devoid of any forward-thinking artistic energy, a complete DIY town where nothing will every happen unless I do it.  Although the DIY part is somewhat true, I was surprised at the avant garde spirit I’ve found here.  I’ve written lots of poems from this place, though not necessarily about this place, and I have found it immensely enriching for innovation, in an aesthetic sense. There is something about the extremities here—the weather, the politics, the characters, the landscape the sky—that begs for new kinds of poetry. Begs, or forces, it out of me. 

For poems more about this land and life, see the ones I’ve published in our sleek regional semi-monthly, This Land:  Two Poems and Dry Oklahoma.

I’m also met many amazing artists here with which I’ve collaborated. Both the “Tulsita” and “Holy/Oil” animations resulted in months-long interactions in which two poets (David Goldstein and myself), a photographer (Mindy Stricke) and a sound artist (Nathan Halverson) through which we attempted every way we could think of to break down the boundaries between our media.

As many know, I’m fond of pointing out Tulsa’s innovative artistic heritage.  As a high school junior, Ron Padgett met Ted Berrigan here after he published the first issue of The White Dove Review, the literary magazine for Central High that featured poems by Leroy Jones, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, among other Beat luminaries that Padgett had precociously solicited through the mail.  Joe Brainard and Dick Gallup helped Padgett publish this little journal before they, along with Padgett and Berrigan moved to New York City to become what John Ashbery facetiously called the “Tulsa School.”  In my view, though, the Tulsa School is still alive and well, as many people in this city are making experimental poetic art right where they are. They include but are not limited to
Sloan Davis
Sheila Black
Phil Estes
Victoria McArtor
Melody Charles
Amelia Williamson
Mia Wright
Casie Trotter
Bruce Dean Willis

Many more have come and gone, leaving their mark on this city’s antinomian aesthetic.

Below are a few poems that I’ve written lately and, whether I like it or not, they probably have the dust of this city on them.

What kind is your white? Phone in
The bringing of my thanks.
They ate the pastures to the rocks.
Bo Barns Live Music
Come here, Cookie, I’ll bayou and raise you.
You want to be an honorary girl.
There is latitude in your type
A lot of peeing in these poems,
A string cohiscience,
Impertinent impermanence— 
She doesn’t read as much as flip
Off sleeping.
What happens to all our shoes?
Put your self out on a limb
Between design and war.
Moribund is eponymous.
Silver cum pewter.
Telegraphic monotopia.
Chewy inchoate chocolate.
Catalogue every crisis.
Personal identification is the only way to save earth?
He’s an enactualist.

*          *          *          *          *

derivative wall fleeting
            rip-change fear
deceipt upon receipt
            the market unpacked
irate vain art
            fun fans phone
delete the same
            old agony matter
retry resuscitation rehersal
            atmosphere attention attire
every generation’s toxic
            intreacheration acid echo.

There is no end
            except never.
Aging eyes again
            mark blank executive markets
spill baby spill
            beard of verbs
nouns stuck
            in the hairstand
more today than
            yesterday between cracks
our nice guitar
            waste words worn

spite my eclipse
            cents everywhere concrete
last town content
            street squat ganj
Porto-john truth squad
            wishful sound movement
Terrify empathy voice
            portion sentences perhaps
Batman meningitis tongue
            super sequel seeker
Lovely langover hour
            basic plan of being

*          *          *          *          *

onomatopoeia him thinks of
onanism and peeping through
to capture the grinding
in the words against
each other in the track of the neck

playing so supple up tempo
the rumble of prosaic static
and eaten by entropy our
tropes and a tropical splitting
seize the sound, is the sound

of a backyard dismemberment
aye there’s a rub, substituting
scraps for scrapes, endraping, en-
dive in the garden farty and chuck
such as there is metal in the throat

the holler started systems and rays
though insects have in their thorax
such synapses and silicon sighings
are alliteration and rhyme the only
speed without time, in lines and jacks

nosesleaves might help shape sonic
reverberations in the body politic
then fall back to 60 kilohertz at the end
of the voting block, eye-cuts and jumps
transpositional phrases have echoes

in bonobo tribes alarms are pulled when
certain social cues are not heard wind
diminished fifths by drinking an ounce
at a time when waves enter the ear
unsolicited males acoustic beam-shaping

in being heard, in being.  Seeing is neither
since salt water alight by radio
frequency brings balance to relationship
interned in the aspiration of the “s”
stress and repetition make it music

she said guessingly resenting resonance
the counter-chime, O Bank of America
lost in the rush of salt water, blood stood
aft of the massive tanker’s hull, clanking
incessantly we speak.  We speak and speak.

It all sounds like machinery.  Or cats
in heat and exhaustion—the release of air
within the English, a spin, of the loop
returning again for meaning and connection
in the renunciation of memory, I recall

the woman with money, hair, eyes encouraged
vibrating, repeating time and a search for beauty
in noise when the harmonics are too complex
for our ears only.  when wood wonders, we
sheath ourselves. calling on semblances

of experience from which to rent the veil
a composition which responds to changes
in temperature the strings resent a procedure
that can carry us through a live performance
is imagined in the skulls of the dead.

I35 Creativity Corridor: Sandra Soli, Edmond, OK, April 16

Sandra Soli is a writer and copy editor in Edmond, OK. Her poems, short fiction, articles, and photographs have appeared widely since the 1970's. Her article on prose poetry was featured in the 2009 edition of Poet's Market. Teaching artist and columnist for a decade, Sandra facilitates workshops "wherever I am allowed, as long as they don't charge me much to do it." Honors include an Oklahoma Book Award, New Delta Review's Eyster Poetry Prize, two Pushcart nominations, a nomination for the AWP Intro Prize, and a citation from Papier Mache Press for her work in empowering others. She serves on the board of Oklahoma's Center for the Book, enjoys collaborative projects with artists in other disciplines, and is an unrepentant bibliopolic.

Photo by Mary Mackie

At Pop’s

Couple miles east to skyscraper
soda bottle, neon-dressed nights

Phone photos, damn good chili
cream soda and postcards

South of Old 66, a darkening sky
better gas up.

Photo by Mary Mackie

Earthquake South of Guthrie 
All poems become elegies in the end.
Did you say this in a dream? Last night
three cats in a car, parked in a field.
Did you crack the window? I reminded
knowing you despise a nagging woman.
You walked ahead, chatting with a woman
whose name I don’t recall. Small jokes.
Doors opened wide, but the program
we traveled to attend, I had no clue.
                       You turned a corner
as I awoke to waves crossing the floor,
you off to wherever people go
then earth sleeping politely,
having made its point.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I35 Creativity Corridor: Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Oklahoma City, OK (and environs), April 15

    After Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Bean Eaters”

This red soil 
built of blood sweat
and promises.

This red soil
the soil that looks
the soil of centuries

makes you remember
where you come from
where you be going.

Makes you wish
you never learned
the wrong words—

The words nigger
and kike,
the words

that mark you
as cracker
even when 

your heart is not.
You whose best poet-
friend is black

man, friend who
knows your fears
and your raising.

Oh, red soil
make us instead

the sacrifices—
our grandmothers’

our grandfathers’
despair, their 
native exile. 

Centuries lost
to one another
yet in the light

behind the bar—
in which every
one is blue—

stands beside you

is your brother, 
your sister, on
sanctified soil.

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish is a poet, writer and literary scholar; Mish has published poetry in This Land, Naugatuck River Review, Concho River Review, LABOR: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, San Pedro River Review, Blast Furnace, and, among othersEssays and short fiction have appeared recently in Sugar Mule, Crosstimbers, Red Dirt Chronicles, and Cybersoleil. Anthology publications include poems in Returning the Gift and The Colour of Resistance as well as the introductory essay for Ain't Nobody That Can Sing Like Me: New Oklahoma Writing. As a contributing editor, Mish regularly writes essays for Oklahoma Today; she is also a contributing editor for Sugar Mule: A Literary Journal. She is editor of award-winning Mongrel Empire Press. Dr. Mish is the Director of The Red Earth Creative Writing MFA program at Oklahoma City University where she also serves as a faculty mentor in writing pedagogy and the craft of poetry.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I35 Creativity Corridor: Chad Reynolds, Oklahoma City, OK, April 14

Chad Reynolds is the author of 5 poetry chapbooks, the latest of which are Drummer from Greying Ghost and Eau-de-Vie from Sixth Finch. His poems have recently appeared in minnesota review, Corduroy Mountain, Toad le Journal, Cutbank, So & So Magazine, Sink Review, Spork Press, Art Focus, This Land Press, Ghostwriters of Delphi, and elsewhere. He co-founded Short Order Poems in OKC in 2014.

The Future pic is something I made to combat the banality of the "throw back thursday" meme. I tried to invent a new meme called "Fast Forward Friday." This was my first post under the #FFF hashtag. It never caught on.
The Cerberus pic is of a reading I gave in Brooklyn in 2014. I brought and sold some SOP chapbooks there. A poet in attendance at that Brooklyn reading later mentioned Short Order Poetry in an article about "The Future of Poetry". Kinda nice to think something in OKC might be inspiring poets on the East Coast. Usually it's the other way around.


Who maintains risk of loss
in love and how
do we allocate 
it among ourselves?

A heart policy's deductible—
how many nights of suffering
before further loss transfers to
the underwriter/undertaker?

We warrant we
have not misrepresented
our love history.

It is a condition precedent hereunder
that we hold each other
harmless from consequential

The definition of bodily
injury has been endorsed
to include
mental anguish.

Our policy covers
not excluded.

Excluded perils include
damage resulting from
defective parts.

A speculative risk has
chance of loss or gain
but pure risk has just
chance of loss.

What is love?

You can’t insure
that from which
you stand to gain.

We can only
be made whole
if first we break.

            “Fate up against your will…”
                        —Echo and the Bunnymen

I fell asleep before
the blood moon rose
the night of mid-April snow
and inside the heater
was on and Emily was
naked under her robe
but we hadn’t done it
because the children
went to bed late and
everything was fucked
and I woke up to Gus
screaming about ice cream trucks
because he had had
a nightmare about ice cream trucks
and I remembered that I had intended
to stay up late enough
to see the blood moon
and I drew back the curtain, thinking,
if a moon reflects the light
that shines upon it,
does a blood moon refract
the light that shines upon it?
But I didn’t actually
think that. All I saw was
a darkish salmon-colored haze
basting the cars below,
just a faint glow, like the idea
of the idea of blood.
I slipped back into bed,
put my hand on the bare ass next to me,
pale and cold as a moon,
and fell asleep.


I was the glory
the sun indented

I called upon glyphs
to be the seal
a signet would invent

The noble metals
silver, gold
their powers blood red
Deep cerulean I was

Of prospectors roving,
Of weathering and form,
Of spheroidal granite cavities
where beryl is found
Of faience-making,
Of compacts
I was the substances that fuse

I was base metals
who roved minerals
I was not unprivileged,
I was alloyed with knowledge

What appears to be remains
these beads will hollow

The coffin of an infant
The goldsmith, his brazier

I was Borax in flux
a mixture of salts, oxidization
I was a distinct patina

Is having more or less doubt
the edge that nonetheless strips
an entire surface
of its dummy vessels?

I was entire faces
inlayed with millennia
An age of fuller data
and fewer answers

I was beads on the upper arm
I was a name

I had footnotes
I was endnotes


There’s no terroir to
where you are and
your place is no place
special, just another place

Unsettling to learn you could
come from anywhere
and that your features
are indistinguishing

If you emerged from a dirt
you emerged from an unremarkable dirt
an unremarkable weed
in a seam between sidewalks

If you are a citizen of some Polis
it is yours more than you are its

But blandness has
its own authenticities

A weed unpulled will crack

The building shown in the two photos above was the Biltmore Hotel, which once stood where the Myriad Gardens are now. It was demolished in Oct 1977 and has become the central image in my full-length manuscript, City of Tomorrow. 

The pic above is of my son Emmett and me sitting in a little "parklet" outside of Elemental Coffee where Tim Bradford and I conceived of the idea of Short Order Poems and where we type poems for each SOP event.