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Poem by Michael Karl Ritchie

 

Hat Tricks

After Vasco Popa

Out of top hat and tails
Pull a Bugs Bunny pull Fred Astaire
Let them dance under the moonlight

Out of this Davy Crocket hat
Pull a redneck pull a Sioux
Set both loose on Disneyland

Out of this Green Beret
Pull a smart bomb pull a drone
Let fear decide which country to attack

Out of this prison cap
Pull a switchblade pull a shovel
Dig a tunnel without getting shot

Fold this poem up into a paper hat
And put it on your head.
Which words become invincible?

Sit quietly in the dunce’s corner,
Where everybody can point at you,
And wait for the answer to fall out.

 

Artwork © DJ Barry
Artwork © DJ Barry

Michael Karl (Ritchie) is a retired Professor of English at Arkansas Tech University, where he served as adviser to the undergraduate literary magazine, Nebo. He has had three small press chapbook publications [Closing Down The Hearth, O-2 Press 1983; For Those In The Know, Caterpillar Press 1976; Night Blindness, La Huerta Press 1976] and work published in various small press magazines, including Gihon River Review, The Salt River Review, Nebula, The Mississippi Review, Margie, OR Panthology – Ocellus Reseau, The Red Earth Review, and The Arkansas Literary Forum.

DJ Barry is a self-taught artist that lives in Middlesex, Vermont. He uses a unique method involving photo editing software, stencils, and spray paint. He often infuses pop culture into his work. Oddities are his specialty.

 

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Poem by Stephen Mead

 

Pictures To Live In

Will they ever step from the frames?
Here’s thresholds of landscapes.
Here’s seraphim in a Cezanne jug.
Here’s a Magi’s concealed vision
On the verge of pushing through—–

By day, by night,
In museums, in work studios, above
Restaurant diners even, the offerings
Play croquet & wait to live within
Pictured as cells of pure life…

Sculpted so, & yet malleable, the seen
But now unseen carry on like Munch’s scream
Or figures so abstract that space is a dialogue
Jostling synapses to jump
All derelict moments—–

That flash of shadow haunting the outline
Recognition fills

 

“Restaurant Scene” © DL Polonsky

 

A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. If you are at all interested and get the time, Google “Stephen Mead Art” or “Stephen Mead, Writer” for links to his multi-media work. Thank you.

DL Polonsky is a Boston area artist, writer, and filmmaker. His caricatures have appeared in The Boston Herald and His written work includes the children’s book The Letter Bandits from T.B.W. Books.

 

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Jagged Thought #94: Things I Tell Myself and Others Who Will Listen

 

I have ups and I have downs.
I have left and I have come back.
I have my share of wins.
I have my share of losses.
I like to read.
I read a lot.
I like to escape into
another world.

I am an editor.
I am a poet.
I am a manic.
I have spirit.

My pen hates and loves.
My mind is tilting
lunar/eclipsed.
I don’t know when the other
shoe drops, or if it does.

When you are up, you must embrace it.
Because when the tides change
So do you.
When you are down, you must grab on
to that depression like
a raging bull.

Don’t let it defeat you.
Know that the sun rises with or without us.
The trick is to stare at the sun
till you see that light in yourself.

I like to tell myself that.
I like to say that the world isn’t
Bullies
Bastards and Brakemen
I know I am not lucid.

I know that even science is language.
I know we are all scientists.
I find comfort in the idea
that theories are the closest we have
to truth.

That the world accepts theories
and builds.

I like that poetry
Has no absolute truth.
It doesn’t need proof.

If you are a poet,
you create your truth.

 

Jason Wright is the founder and Editor of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly.

 

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Two Poems by Sanjeev Sethi

 

Deliquescence

I’m my own family —
me and only me.
I am also a sprig
of an indifferent shrub.
Extensions jut out like ill-matched
colors of an ignored canvas.
Ceremonies are coordinated
to expose this certitude.
I whistle in-and-out of such venues.
Me and me.

 

“Reef” © Dr. Regina Valluzzi

 

Omega

Unbidden
the blockages
fortify.
Sharper the spike
the further I recede.
In another release
mayhap I were
a spelunker.
Trails from…
the still of my silo.

 

Author of Suddenly For Someone, 1988 and Nine Summers Later, 1997 Sanjeev Sethi’s poems have found a home in The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, 3 Quarks Daily, Lemon Hound, Poetry Australia, Eastlit, Indian Literature, The Statesman, The Hindu, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai.

Art can illuminate even the most elusive and difficult to comprehend ideas. Visual rules and tightly codified visual metaphors help scientists communicate complex ideas mostly amongst themselves, but they can also become barriers to new ideas and insights. Dr. Regina Valluzzi’s images are abstracted and diverged from the typical rules and symbols of scientific illustration and visualization; they provide an accessible window into the world of science for both scientists and non-scientists.

 

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A Twist of Lime: Hispanic Heritage Month – Hip Hop

 

(Note: This post was originally published on Oct. 1st, 2012 and has been revised slightly since)

As Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15th – Oct. 15th) reaches its midway point, it’s fitting to recognize the influence of Latinos on Hip Hop culture. In no way meant to discredit or minimize African American influence on Hip Hop’s roots and subsequent rise to Pop culture prominence, it’s important to also acknowledge the significance and roles of Hispanic Americans in such. The purpose of this blog is to in some small way capture just that.

Rap’s origins are debatable; some go as far back as thousands of years, citing West African griots who rhythmically told stories over drums and simple handmade instruments as the earliest examples of Rap. Others point to African American slaves incorporating call and response technique (a fixture of early Rap music that’s still utilized today) at church congregations as the birth of Rap’s form. Many even credit Muhammad Ali as the first rapper because he used pre-fight poetry to psych out his opponents and predict his victories; rhyming to intimidate the competition in a battle; sounds like Hip Hop, no?

(http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/evans/his135/Events/Rap79/RapMusic.html)

(http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500186_162-2304461.html)

While all valid points, for the purpose of this piece we’ll go with a more current time-frame; the 1970s and 80s. Rap music and Hip Hop culture as it exists today was birthed by young people living in poor, urban communities in New York. Block parties, breakdancing, graffiti, Adidas sweats and shell toe sneakers, B-Boys, Kangol hats, thick gold chains, battle rapping, iambic pentameter rhymes over heavy drum kits, turntablism, and scratching all came to fruition as staples of early Hip Hop culture in the 70s and early 80s in New York’s boroughs. It was at this point that the movement began to steadily spread across the country and eventually evolve into the force we know today.

LatinHiphopMy larger point in pointing this out is that while it’s undeniable that African American culture drove this movement, it’s also undeniable that Latinos lived in these same burroughs where Rap music and Hip Hop culture came to be. As such, Latinos participated in the movement; and not just by partying to and purchasing the music. Hispanic Americans were some of the earliest B-Boys, DJs, break-dancers, and emcees. As the music continued to grow into the 90s and beyond, Latino participation not only diversified its style, it helped expand Hip Hop culture and grow the business of Rap. The emergence of Reggaeton (stylistically and lyrically rooted in Hip Hop; a blog for another day) as an international musical force and the meteoric rise of Pitbull (1st heard on LIl’ Jon’s 2002 release ‘Kings of Crunk’) speak to these points.

As the title of Ice T’s Hip Hop documentary, ‘Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap’ suggests, the beauty of Hip Hop is that it pulls from many different styles, sounds, cultures, and influences to literally create something powerful out of thin air. That said, the following is a by no means exhaustive list of artists, dancers, groups, producers, and players in Hip Hop with Hispanic roots, with some accompanying fun facts and personal thoughts where applicable. My hope is that at least a few out there will learn something, listen to some new tunes, gain a new found sense of pride in their heritage, and look at Hip Hop through a much wider lens.

DJ Disco Wiz (Puerto Rican American) – is credited as being the 1st Latino Hip-Hop DJ. Partnered w/ the legendary Grandmaster Caz (aka DJ Cassanoval Fly), Wiz was known for his aggressive battle style of DJing. Wiz is also credited for being the 1st DJ to make a ‘mixed plate’ in 1977 when he combined sound bites, special effects, and paused beats, something that no one had done before that time.

(http://www.theoriginators.com/aboutus/dj-disco-wiz/)

DJ Charlie Chase (Puerto Rican American) – co-founder of ‘The World Famouse Cold Crush Brothers’, the first Rap group signed by CBS Records. Charlie got his first movie roll playing himself in the first Hip Hop movie ever made, the cult hit ‘Wild Style’ – a must-see for any Hip Hop purist.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DJ_Charlie_Chase)

(http://www.coldcrushbrothers.com/charliechase.html)

Prince Markie Dee (Puerto Rican American) – lead emcee of the legendary ‘Fat Boys’ (originally known as ‘The DiscoPrince-Markie-Dee 3′) who would go on to write and produce hits for such artists as Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Craig Mack, Destiny’s Child, Shabba Ranks, Marc Anthony, and Lisa Stanfield. On a personal notes, the Fat Boys were my first favorite Rap group (since supplanted by Bone Thugs & Harmony), and despite my playing their tapes and watching their videos growing up I never made the connection that Prince Markie Dee was Hispanic until the late 90s – go figure. I was fortunate enough to see them at a concert that featured the likes of Run DMC, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and Public Enemy back in the late 80s and despite their hefty body types, they brought the house down. Do yourself a favor an check out their music if you’re not familiar with it; the beats are funky, the rhymes are a bit more advanced than you’d expect for an 80s group, and Buffy, the Human Beatbox is simply amazing to hear.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Markie_Dee)

(http://www.billboard.com/artist/prince-markie-dee/bio/23183#/artist/prince-markie-dee/bio/23183)

Kid Frost (Mexican American) – dropped ‘Hispanic Causing Panic’ in 1990, firmly and forever entrenching a West Coast Latino presence in Hip Hop. The title of his lead single alone, ‘La Raza’ left no doubt that Frost wasn’t just a Latino making Rap music, but an artist using Rap music to represent and offer a Latino perspective to Hip Hop’s landscape. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frost_(rapper)

Cypress Hill (Mexican American / Cuban descent) – building on the foundation that Kid Frost layed, Cypress Hill, hailing from South Gate, CA was the first Latino Hip Hop group to go both platinum and multi-platinum. To date they’ve sold over 18 million records world-wide. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform circa 2006 and people went nuts when they came out for their set. On the strength of great music as well as being avid proponents of a certain <cough> plant, these guys have built very strong and well-deserved cult-following. (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/cypress+hill/biography.html)

Cypress Hill

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