Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Quickie: Famous In Italy? No, But I Publish Poems There...

oddly enough. 

It's gotta be the Roman girlfriend connection, of course.

Anyway, just last week the first volume of Rome's Revolutionary Poets Brigade was released by Edizioni Ensemble, a small publisher of Books of Quality, from what I can see.  My girlfriend, Alessandra Bava, had her first poetry chapbook, Guerrilla Blues, published by them and as I've held it in my hands and read it frontwards, backwards, upside-down and more, inspected it and such, I can wholeheartedly confirm that, yes, they do quality work.

I have three poems in the collection: Legacy of Warhol, Number One With A Bullet, and Hyenas & Vultures.  All deal with observations of the world in one way or another, misguided goals or misguided leaders or, yeah, just midguided!  More so, I'm in Excellent Company as some of Italy's finest poets, including Alessandra, of course, as well as Marco Cinque (his "Incorrect Lines" is a real kick in the head opening salvo), Olga Campofreda, Marco Lupo, and he rest, really bring powerful imagery and ideas to life with their words.  I'm a part of the mix, kind of an honorary member, I suspect, though I hope when I am back in Rome soon to participate in some readings and what-not in promoting this stellar collection.  Oh, and last but not least, the introduction to the whole thing is by former SF Poet Laureate and all-around cool guy, Jack Hirschman.  Alessandra translated all of the poems into English--it's a bilingual presentation--and I assisted in, um...Americanizing some of the translations? I don't know, she did the heavy work, I supported the efforts and it's a fantastic endeavor, for sure    

I've also had my poem, Cockroach Paradise, published last year in this lovely anthology with a message as well, Acqua Prevata No Grazie.  So, yes, I am famous in Italy as a poet or, well, at least a participant in some strange way with the poetic world over there.

Life is one weird ride.  What?  Yeah, I've said it before and will say it again, but it's always making me shake my a good way.  This is an example of a good way, hehe. 

All that and later this year as part of the second Revolutionary Poets Brigade Anthology, edited by Jack Hirschman and...I think his wife, Agneta Falk Hirschman, another poet of much worth and much potency and fire--a really excellent wordsmith; I will have to confirm, maybe it was a dream or something, I know Hirschman's putting it together and seem to remember, um...hey, where's Alessandra when I need answers?  Well, THAT anthology will include a couple more of my poems, the ever-popular well as Does It Matter?  And, of course, in expanding my International Fame--yeah, right, okay, John Claude, don't let this go to your head!  Never, trust me, none of this goes to my head.  I have no ego.  It just makes me smile and I just keep writing...--wow, that was a long break there...anyway, this one will be published out of France, so hey, with poems published in the USA, Italy and France, I'm well on my way to...well, continuing to write and grow as a writer of poetry and, more so, fiction, but poetry is a wonderful outlet, another branch of this thing I do.

For your amusement, here's Cockroach Paradise, dealing with the misuse of water in our world.  Something we really cannot afford to do.



Cockroach Paradise
by John Claude Smith

water, water everywhere
water, water everywhere?

sipping oil spill martinis
off the coast of New Orleans
the big money movers and shakers
live for the moment and their bloated pocketbooks
not the soiled memories of their great grandchildren
or the gasping cries of gulls dying on blackened beaches
all because humankind is not too kind
while west coast oil and gas marauders
corrupt groundwater with a process called "fracking"
& islands sculpted from plastic water bottles
clog currents fifty miles from the dimming Golden Gate
& nuclear mishap deconstruction
reconstructs the frowning Japanese seaboard 
into a decaying, toothless radioactive smile
Mother Nature's swollen teat spouts inkspot nourishment
& the slow death befitting our just rewards
all because humankind is not too kind
or cognizant of the crimes at hand
the tip of the dunce hat iceberg
crowned in stupidity and soul devouring greed
leering and crouching in the corner
masturbating with our lifeblood as lubrication
with ignorance at the wheel and negligence riding shotgun
& environmental care and fleeting survival instincts
flailing in the rear view mirror
as our final destination gains clarity
the sun sets into the empty soul of a dead ocean
a permanent vacation decreed Extinction awaits
all because humankind is not too kind
& the water that is our lifeblood
is the dumping ground for our fleeting folly:
life as the dominant race of this planet
I raise an empty glass to the cockroaches
toast their imminent rule
swigging on dust
& humankind's dead futures

water, water everywhere?
water, water nevermore


Next time, back to the second big promo push for the book.  More samples/teasers/insight/ name it, it's on the way.

Here's...well, was looking for a cockroach picture and this popped up, a Surreal Victorian Steampunk THE MECHANICAL COCKROACH.  Wild and quite handsome, eh?!  I can dig it!

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