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Archive for July, 2008

I’m not the first person to blog about the Guerilla Poetics Project, and I doubt I’ll be the last. I found their website recently while surfing the net, and my first thought was, “Where have I been?” Ah, I’m always late for everything. But just in case there’s one person out there who hasn’t heard, please kick off your shoes and pull up a chair.

The idea behind the Guerilla Poetics Project is relatively simple. They print short poems on small cards called broadsides. The broadsides are mailed to poets and “operatives” who hide the poems inside target books at bookstores and libraries. Nobody is hurt. Nothing gets destroyed. But the poetry is smuggled out into the world for people to see. Woot!

People who find the poems are given a website where they can register the poem they find.

I managed to scrape up twenty five bucks (printing costs, okay?), and I’m tapping my foot and waiting for the broadsides to come in the mail. If you don’t have the entire amount, I’m guessing you could get together with a few friends to join. It would also be a great project for a community workshop or even…gasp…in the classroom.

I’m not sure about all the details, but there is a lot of information and a forum for questions on their website. Take a look at their link and be sure to read the manifesto and all the information first.

http://www.guerillapoetics.org/

Before you join, please do keep one thing in mind. This is not about self promotion. I think you can submit a couple of poems if you join, but you may never get chosen. I’m still learning, so I’m not the person to ask. It looks as if the operatives can vote on the poems that are chosen for publication.

However, the idea is not to build up a name for ourselves, but to share worthwhile poetry with the world. From the poetry I have read on the site, these poets are very worthy and have paid their dues. Their poems blew me away when I read them. There is a list of poets on the website, and a lot of excellent links.

One of the poets featured on the broadsides, William Taylor Jr., is excellent. He was also featured in a very interesting interview by Scot Young at his website, Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers. Scot’s interview with William Taylor, Jr. is at this link: http://midwestpoet.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/willaim-taylor-jr-interview/

Now, come on, Guerilla dudes. Hurry up with the broadsides! I’m ready to put on my gloves and slide down to the university bookstore. If they haven’t banned me again.

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A ten cent raise & a fat boss man

 

staring at my boobs.

I write poems

so I won’t

act out

the day when

 

I finally give in

to my desperation

 

tiptoe into

the big office

where he sits,

 

put my boobs

in his face,

 

slide my pink

fingernails

around his

red neck

 

and squeeze

 

til his eyes bleed,

fall out & roll

across the desk

 

where he keeps

the file

that says I

am worth

 

ten pennies

& two boobs.

 Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

 

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Hold on, Nellie. Here we go. I’ve been delaying this topic, because once I get started, it’s hard for me to stop.

Last week, a lady stopped by my workplace with some pamphlets about environmental issues. That’s cool. I was born a tree hugger and a mud lover. But when I started reading the part about how small commercial fishermen are overfishing the oceans, my head almost blew off.

Bless her heart. She was a sweet, well intentioned lady from the middle of Ohio. So I was nice to her. She just needed a little education from the other side.

Yes, overfishing happens. But not in all places and not by the people I know. The commercial fishermen I know love the land and the water better than anyone else you’ll ever meet. They are part of the landscape. They have a vested interest in it. It’s their culture and their family heritage to pass down to their children.

And they’re not stupid enough to defecate in their own livelihood.

The problem, my friends, is greed. And whenever there’s greed, I smell a politician right around the corner. Often, it’s on a local level. Both parties are guilty as charged. And the gavel comes down.

The story I’m posting today is happening right now. It’s certainly not a new story. This story is regional to my beloved Southern Outer Banks. But it is happening all over the world, wherever air conditioners are sold.

I have nothing against someone who wants to sell their land to someone else who wants to buy it. Freedom rocks. And it’s not about class warfare or hating rich folks. Wouldn’t it be sweet to never have to worry about money ever again?

I do, however, take big issue with low down, dirty, stinking, rotten bastards who roll over other human beings to get more green in their own pockets.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of beauty left. For now. And a lot of fishermen and women back home are quietly rolling up their sleeves and doing great things to help preserve the beauty of the marsh, the miles of deserted beaches, the wild horses, the ancient maritime forests…and the people.

This story was originally in Clapboard House a few months ago.

****************************************************************************

Circling

by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

Old man Willis sits in a wooden chair on the front porch of his shack next to the salt sweet shore. His brown-red hands are on his knees. The tongues of his work boots stick out. He does not move a muscle. He used to see bobcats and shy black bears rustle through the tangle of live oaks next to the shore. There was a time when he enjoyed watching the wood ducks fly past his front porch. Now he listens for the sound of the silver helicopters that circle overhead. He does not look up but can hear them come closer. A mosquito lands on his eyebrow and bites hell out of him. He will not move to swat it away.

A new group of real estate developers smell gold in the North Carolina marsh mud. Every day, they circle overhead. Today, they have a tax appraiser and a politician with them. Hot damn! This could mean a sweet retirement. If only it didn’t have to be so hard. If only these frigging marsh billies weren’t so stubborn. They raise hell about their maritime culture and heritage, yet they scrape and sweat with no retirement, no pensions, nothing but a bunch of woods and little boats on the shore to leave the next generation.

The men in the helicopter make jokes about their wives. But they love their families, too. They’re southern men, damnit. Providing for their families and doing the best they can to pay all the electronic bills the twenty-first century brings their way. They smile as they see the aerial view, hues of purple and blue, the stretchmarks of canals on the fertile, black earth. They appreciate the beauty as much as the next man, as long as it’s air conditioned.

The helicopter circles tighter. They see the emerald sparkle of parcels A through M. They’re men of vision, and they can envision a freaking goldmine. An upscale community with its own mall, a restaurant with a view of the bay, wild horses grazing in the distance. Horses crap a lot, don’t they? Build a fence. Tourists love to see wild horses, but they don’t want to step in piles or hit one if it dashes across the parking lot.

They circle even tighter, and they see Lots 3 through 23. Get rid of those oaks and cypress. All that old swamp shit is too spooky nowadays. Fill it all in. If they fill it in, it’s not a wetland, is it? They can get the permit. They’ll grow sweet spring crops of men in pink shirts playing golf, a marina for yachts. How about a gentlemen’s club? A spa for the ladies. Maybe they can plant a few banana trees. Find out if they grow here-why the hell not?

They circle closer and there’s the old man’s life: his paint-peeling shack, Sunday clothes on a line, a yard full of nets hanging, stiff and sun dry, the lap of the tide on the side of a shrimp boat, stacks of carving wood next to a shed, at least two hundred rusty crab pots, some old hip boots, three long-eared hounds, canvas gloves, buckets, knives, and vines wrapping around an anchor by the old front porch. In the backyard, there’s a creaky wooden building with a blue crab painted on the side. The crab’s faded gray and hanging on for dear life. There’s a hand lettered sign: Willis and Son Crab House, 1863.

No need to worry. Their crew can remove all that crap in a day.

They land in a whir of wind, and there sits old man Willis on his porch, looking like Abraham Lincoln in a camouflage cap. He does not move a muscle. The chopper spins a wind that sends loose shingles, boots and boards flying across the yard. Bottles roll across the porch, windows rattle, the porch swing rocks.

Even when a shingle hits old man Willis on the cheek, he does not flinch. He’s lived through seventy-eight years of hurricanes much stronger than this piss-ant little breeze. Old man Willis will never sell. For love nor money, he will not budge. He will not blink. He will not speak to these bastards.

That’s okay. They can wait a while. They slap the old codger on his shoulder and take their bird back up to circle some more. Because they know. The real estate bubble hasn’t burst in this part of the country yet. These waters will be closed to clamming next season due to storm drain runoff. Just wait ‘til the old man gets the next waterfront tax assessment on his little crap shack.

And there’s a moratorium on commercial fishing licenses.

Old man Willis has a son who’s pushing forty, who works double shifts in maintenance at a condominium complex a one-hour commute one way. Old man Willis’ son comes home in debt on payday, feeling like a red-eyed duck swimming upcurrent in a gale.

Every night, when he opens his door, there are four little ones peeping up at him, their mouths wide open.

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I met a girl like Shaqueena when we were thirteen or fourteen-years-old. Unlike the other plus sized girls I knew, Shaqueena wasn’t embarrassed by her generous body. She wasn’t prom queen and didn’t want to be. She wasn’t abused or used. People thought she was a bully, but she was really no more aggressive than anyone else. She just didn’t put up with anybody’s crap.

Of course, everyone was fascinated by her breasts. But what really fascinated me about Shaqueena was her confidence. While the rest of us girls spent hours analyzing every pore on our faces, Shaqueena never wore makeup. She didn’t waste much time brushing her hair. The clothes she wore weren’t the latest fashion and looked like she threw them on in a hurry. Bras were optional. She stomped. She ran. She laughed boldly and often.

I’m still analyzing the pores on my face…and the lint in my belly button. But I’m sure Shaqueena’s out there somewhere, and I’m sure she’s still living large.

Here’s to you, Queen Bee. You rock.

****************************************************************************

This poem published at Shoots & Vines.

.

Shaqueena, Big & Tall

by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

Shaqueena had the biggest tits
I’ve ever seen, I mean, each
of those puppies was the size
of a Rottweiler’s head.

.

Even us straight girls
couldn’t help but stare
at them in gym class.
Soapy globes in the shower,
suntanned worlds unknown,
Shaqueena had the power
of a woman in eighth grade.

.

Those glamorous glands
didn’t slow Shaqueena down.
She didn’t try to stop them
with eighteen-hour harnesses
or hide them behind books.
She put them out there, honey,
for all the small girls to see.

.

Goddess of the braless,
large dark nipples peeping
through thin white lace.
Bouncing on the playground,
they’d hit us in the face.

.
We memorized her mammaries,
worshipped her jiggling temples,
wrote poems about them,
gave both of them names.

.

We were jealous as hell.

.

Shaqueena, Queen of Meat.
Sturdy, curvy, proud, loud.
When God was passing out
boobs in the lunch room,
Shaqueena took all the trays
and ran away, laughing.

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This poem now published in Shoots & Vines.

.

Aunt Aggie & The Alligators

by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

.

Agathea Longtrail McCumber

(1919 – 2006)

Aunt Aggie never had babies.
She had alligators
that floated under leaf wet logs.
She had a mud brushed shack
beside a slow moving river
downwind of Ocketawna Swamp.
She had boxes of fossils
on her kitchen counters.
Six foot long rattlesnake skins
hung as decorations
on her front porch.

.

Half Cherokee, half Irish,
Aunt Aggie had one brown eye
and one blue; she had two
bright silver braids that swung
past her ass when she danced.
Aunt Aggie smelled like cypress,
muddy boots and fresh mint tea.
Her hands were as loving tough
as summer collard leaves.

.

Aunt Aggie had no neighbors.
She had a Smith and Wesson
and ninety six root thick acres.
She had record breaking reptiles
who turned over her trash barrel
in the lapping heat
of those thick cricket nights.

.
She had the faded yellow skies
of August hurricanes,
not too many water bugs,
mildewed faces growing
on her window screens,
and every knick knack
Woolworth’s ever sold.

.

Each spring at dawn on the edge
of the riverbank, Aunt Aggie threw
leftovers, buckets of fish guts,
and rotten fruit in mossy holes
where the gators waited
for her to call them by name:

.
Miss Eula Belle!
Matthew-Mark-Luke and John!
Josiah Ezekiel Twain!
Old Slow Moon!
Little Bitty!

.

During mating season she crouched
waist deep in swamp to watch
the big ones make the water dance;
kept a two-by-four held tight in case
the young ones should try to get fresh.

.

Aunt Aggie had a fit that stormy day
when relatives explained the papers
that came in the mail from The State:
Eminent Domain.

.

They said maybe she should take
the money they offered.
Find a nice retirement home.

.

Everybody thought Aunt Aggie
would shoot the lawyers
and the politicians
and the real estate developers
and the police in their fat heads.

.
Instead, she cut all her silver hair
and let it float down the river
with the moon of the green corn.

.

They found Aunt Aggie the next week
curled up and brown on her porch.
The biggest gator next to her, eating
fish heads, bread and moldy cheese.
Aunt Aggie’s last supper
before her babies were put to sleep.

.

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