al degenova | song for my son | charlie rossiter | the ex

21 10 2007

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Al DeGenova and Charlie Rossiter

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Poetry Dispatch No. 90 | July 13, 2006

Al DeGenova and Charlie Rossiter

I’ve known both Al and Charlie for a quite a few years—even ‘performed’ with them on one or two occasions, both here in Door County and back on their/my old Chicago turf. They are a unique team as performers, while at the same time, very different poets., each bringing his take, his perception of the Beat spirit, still alive and well today all over the world. Thanks to poets like Al (mixing sax and flute sounds at times with words as he reads) and Charlie, a kind of happy shaman on the stage (his beloved Han Shan in the flesh),laughing out lines, beating his bongo drum.

About five years ago I worked with them in putting together a combination memory/poetry book to be published by my small press, Cross+Roads Press, which I did. BACK BEAT (2001) was almost an immediate sellout/hit. And since my policy with the press is not to do a second printing…well, even worse than being a poet out of work, is a poet out of books. But I’m pleased to announce that a few months ago, another press picked up the second printing—some small changes, a few additions, but the same Emmett John’s cover of Kerouac—and readers should please contact either Charlie or Al for copies. Or catch them somewhere in Chicago, the Midwest at a reading. They have a new CD too. Norbert Blei

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(excerpt from Song For My Son) #6 by Al DeGenova

Writers’ ghosts walk on Kerouac Street
Beat poems on beat up shelves
City Lights
stands unchanged (and not)
on the border between Little Italy and Chinatown.
Diane di Prima loses her virginity
again and again
as I sip espresso
with her Memoirs of a Beatnik.
I feel their sour breath;
the writers’ ghosts of 1960 San Francisco
are wheezing, laughing, fucking, drinking
while I am here doing my duty
marketing communications
for the corporate god.

A saxophone calls me into Chinatown
(wheezing voice of the poets).
Oh spirits, we are kindred
in this dirty, old, beautiful, alive, dead
city with the bridge
yet I
am a conspicuous, lamenting conventioneer tourist,
part-time poet, part-time saxophonist, who
chose the path
more traveled.

Cole, listen to the poets.
Listen…”to thine own self be true.”
Listen…”Blow, man, blow!”

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THE EX by Charlie Rossiter

She’s the worst kind of monster
made up of old parts of yourself
that needed a woman like her
and couldn’t see disaster looming

like a bad dream that keeps coming back
when you let your guard down
you see her in a dark cafe and shiver,
it’s like a visit from the grave

you try to recall good times
but you’re torn–how else
to justify
how else to move on

you’ve switched back to your old brand
of toothpaste, but you still wear
clothes you wore with her
and drive the same car. You wonder

how far you’ll have to go.
You want to blame it all on her
then you want to blame it all on you.
In your better moments you wish her well.

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