Odd Rot

Random Findings of the Dread Templeton

National Poetry Month, Day 15

Poet: Sandra Cisneros

Poem:Loose Woman

Snippet Whole Thing:

They say I’m a beast.
And feast on it. When all along
I thought that’s what a woman was.

They say I’m a bitch.
Or witch. I’ve claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lesbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.

Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.
Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I’m in.

I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.

I live like so.
Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and success—
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I’m Pancha Villa.

I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.
I am beyond the jaw of law.
I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.

I strike terror among the men.
I can’t be bothered what they think.
Que se vayan a la ching chang chong!
For this, the cross, the Calvary.
In other words, I’m anarchy.

I’m an aim-well,
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha.
Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.

National Poetry Month, Day 14

Poet: Yusef Komunyakaa

Poem: “Testimony” – from Testimony: A Tribute to Charlie Parker with New and Selected Jazz Poems

Snippet Whole Thing:


He hopped boxcars to Chitown
late fall, just a few steps
ahead of the hawk. After
sleepwalking to the 65 Club,
he begged Goon for a chance
to sit in with a borrowed sax.
He’d paid his dues for years
blowing ravenous after-hours
'til secrets filled with blues
rooted in Mississippi mud;
he confessed to Budd Johnson
that as a boy playing stickball,
sometimes he’d spy in a window
as they rehearsed back in K. C.

It was Goon who took him home,
gave him clothes & a clarinet.
Maybe that’s when he first
played laughter & crying
at the same time. Nights
sucked the day’s marrow
'til the hibernating moon grew
fat with lies & chords. Weeks
later, with the horn hocked,
he was on a slow Greyhound
headed for the Big Apple,
& “Honeysuckle Rose”
blossomed into body language,
driven by a sunset on the Hudson.


“Komunyakaa has long been inspired by the black musicians of the 1950s and 1960s who overcame obstacles of prejudice, crossed color lines in their choice of bandmates, and were embraced by the population as a whole, despite ongoing racism in the culture. To Komunyakaa, their careers demonstrate the ability of music to humanize and unite people, evidence of “democracy in action.”
- (Via)

YO! Filthy Still are a buncha bluegrass brigands. I saw ‘em on Friday. Read more about the show right here.

YO! Filthy Still are a buncha bluegrass brigands. I saw ‘em on Friday. Read more about the show right here.

National Poetry Month, Day 13

Poet: Derek Walcott

Poem:The Train

Snippet Whole Thing:

On one hand, harrowed England,
iron, an airfield’s mire,
on the other, fire-
gutted trees, a hand
raking the carriage windows.

Where was my randy white grandsire from?
He left here a century ago
to found his “farm,”
and, like a thousand others,
drunkely seed their archipelago.
Through dirty glass
his landscape fills through my face.

Black with despair
he set his flesh on fire,
blackening, a tree of flame.
That’s hell enough for here.
His blood burns through me as this engine races,
my skin sears like a hairshirt with his name.

On the bleak Sunday platform
the guiltless, staring faces
divide like tracks before me as I come.
Like you, grandfather, I cannot change places,
I am half-home.


"You can’t make everybody love you. It’s an exercise in futility, and it’s probably not even a good idea to try."
Robert Crumb


"You can’t make everybody love you. It’s an exercise in futility, and it’s probably not even a good idea to try."

Robert Crumb

National Poetry Month, Day 12

Poet: Joyce Carol Oates

Poem:Waiting on Elvis, 1956

Snippet Whole Thing:

This place up in Charlotte called Chuck’s where I
used to waitress and who came in one night
but Elvis and some of his friends before his concert
at the Arena, I was twenty-six married but still
waiting tables and we got to joking around like you
do, and he was fingering the lace edge of my slip
where it showed below my hemline and I hadn’t even
seen it and I slapped at him a little saying, You
sure are the one aren’t you feeling my face burn but
he was the kind of boy even meanness turned sweet in
his mouth.

Smiled at me and said, Yeah honey I guess I sure am.


“Oates described her “Waiting on Elvis” as a “found” poem. “My husband and I love to travel,” she said. “We like to go by car, to see the country. We stopped at a café in a city in North Carolina and saw all these photographs of Elvis. The waitress there had waited on Elvis many years ago, an Elvis who looked very young in the pictures. The older Elvis was bloated with his own fame. America has a strange fascination with fame, something strange and almost allegorical.”
-From Conversations With Joyce Carol Oates, edited by Lee Milazzo (p. 165)