charlie rossiter | 4 poems

2 11 2007


Poetry Dispatch No. 198 | October 24, 2007


Special KEROUAC Anniversary Edition, No. 4 In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ON THE ROAD


Charlie Rossiter

Lost and Gone
Following the Beat wherever the road leads…
where it’s been…is now before you…just up ahead…
another roadside distraction…
Drivin’ (Jack’s) instructions, beating on-an’-off neon-blue against the windshield:
Scribble secret notebooks and wild type-written pages for the joy of it,
pausing in momentary movement to scribble another note to nowhere:
intro-inquisitiveness and invention…
in search, still, of the metaphoric Being and Being Beyond Jack’s Way
deep into the heart of America…
writers with nothing to show for a life on the line but words, words, words.

To dissect this particular map-a-the-road for the moment one more time, (Blei’songoingriff here-in-the-making on the Beatific Journey, Part__?__(numero nada) which indeed goes on and on, destination as-they-used to-say: “FURTHER” because that’s where it’s always bound for: Kerouac Konnections, Post Beat poems so far to speak, confirm the original source…

In the Rossiter case of continuance (below) the music of the journey re-visited…ah-and-all that jazz—the beat, the improv, the mind-collaged sounds crash-flowing, drifting in blue-smoked air, caught between the sonorous silence of plucked strings, pounded with sticks on skin, beat into floors, sparking off brass, tripping along ivory, un-trapped in the throat, wrapped around the woman, the lover wrapped around you—the dark road taken inner, deeper, to follow the fragmented self to the center, wholeness of being everywhere, nowhere but home in the bone, born in the black…a pause in the road’s way (Sweet Home Chicago)…that

and this too, the coming-and-going of age…a lament, a mournful song, for the way things were in that time lost and gone…our time lost and gone as well but for this—the words to continue…

to continue that search for that road, whatever the distance, to take us away from ourselves…

…in no time at all. Norbert Blei



digging them both
as if Quincy Troupe
and Franz Josef
spoke the same language
the way Charlie Patton
and Mozart speak
the same language
and ShakespeareMingusandHowlingWolf
speak the same language
no question
the back door man is universal
as a Bach cantata
and Robert Johnson knows something
Picasso knows
about what’s lurking
beneath the surface
which tells you
when you dig
your way
to the bottom
you’re in deep


SWEET HOME CHICAGO by Charlie Rossiter

AC Reed at the mike shouts
“I’m the man that’s full of shit”
and the cigarillo bass man
thumps a riff, the crowd roars,
and two guitars start screaming
AC honks his sax and moans
a hundred smoky voices
climb the walls of
She’s So Fine
the waitress yells “this ain’t
they way they do it in LA”
and the band cranks up another notch
and brings it home
to sweet home


ELEGY by Charlie Rossiter

kerouac’s gone
and Cassidy too
and the road dreams
and the beatness
and bird
and ‘trane
and the life call
that drove them
half-crazed across a continent
in search of
what it was
all about
ant they were
all about
what it did
or did not mean
whatever happened to sonny barger
the original hell’s angels
and the drapes and teddy boys
who hung around
shoobopping to the drifters
and bo diddley
and later to the skinny supremes
whatever happened to payola
elvis wolfman jack
levis that shrink to fit
artifacts of a simpler
time and place
where are they now?
still around still around
as the Platters sang
they would be museum pieces
in their original form
but elvis is dead
and the wolfman too
and levis have made it
in the suburbs
where they wrap around
the sprawling asses
of middle-aged housewives
who wouldn’t wear them then
for fear of losing their chances
at the dream lawyer
who’s now boring them to death
and driving them
to these pale reminders
of an age
that’s lost
and gone



the sign by the shower said
let it run 5 minutes for hot.
the sign by the door said
don’t use our towels
to check your oil. the glasses
were dirty, the ceiling bulb
was bare, night wind came in
at the door, the bed sagged
the sheets were thin, the walls
were cold and the room smelled
slightly of mildew.
the tv was twenty years old.
but ah my friend
so were we
so were we

strichstrich.jpgfrom EVENING STONES, 1999, Ye Olde Font Shoppe, a few copies still available from the author, $7.50 inc. postage. Contact the author: charlie.rossiter at poetrypoetry dot org
Other works by Charlie Rossiter and poet, Al DeGenova (both of the Beat persuasion), can be found in BACK BEAT published by Cross+Roads Press (2001). Originally priced at $10. Only archived copies (first edition) remain. Price, negotiable.

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

21 10 2007




Al DeGenova and Charlie Rossiter


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



(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!”



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.