Title: Down This Crooked Road (Anthology)
Edited by: RD Armstrong & William Taylor, Jr.
Poets: Miles J. Bell, Christopher Robin, MK Chavez, William Taylor Jr., Father Luke, Christopher Cunningham and Hosho McCreesh

Genre: Poetry, Trade Paper, 6X9
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301) www.lummoxpress.com
Pages: 156
ISBN: 978-1-929878-03-1

Retail: $15 + shipping

USA - $15 (includes shipping)
Can/Mex - $17 (includes shipping)
World - $22 (includes shipping)

To pay by Money Order/cash, choose appropriate amount and make check out to Lummox
and send to Lummox Press c/o PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733

Publishing Date: September 200
9

See the Crooked Road Promotional Video

See William Taylor Jr. Read Poems
 

A little while ago Raindog and myself  [William Taylor, Jr.] were throwing around the idea of doing another book together, and at some point RD, I think, suggested doing an anthology of sorts.  He invited me to solicit work from a handful of my favorite poets, and we'd go from there.

The idea excited me and it didn't take me long to make a list in my head of the writers I wanted to include.  They pretty much came to me right away.  Not only are the writers collected in this anthology all wonderful poets whose work deserves a large audience, there is something about their collective work that seems to especially shine when gathered together in a single volume.   

The poets included here are not from a particular school, at least not one that has been invented as of yet.  They don't all hail from a particular region, though RD did point out that none of them are from Los Angeles, which means something in the world of Lummox.   For those keeping score, four of the poets (including myself) live in California, two from more eastern regions of the U.S. and we have the lone Miles J. Bell from the UK. 

What connects these writers in my mind is obviously not location, or even style of writing, but more a spirit that I feel shines through in the work of all involved.  All the poetry contained here is accessible without being mundane, well crafted without being academicÖPoetry for people who might not realize they like poetry.   

It is my belief that your average reader can pick up this volume, open it to any page, read a bit, and think: This makes sense to me.  This is a fellow human sharing their vision of what it is to exist, and it inspires me.  Or, it could well be they'll think something more along the lines of: This is some cool ass shit!  That works too. 

In any case, the authors collected here are writing some of the best poetry out there right now, period.  I'm excited and honored to have my work appear alongside them.  The death of poetry is a silly, vicious little lie, and this volume attests to it.

Down This Crooked Road can be purchased directly from Lummox press or on Amazon.com .

 

Comments:

ďWriting the infinite in plainspoken English...William Taylor Jr. wonderfully weaves everyday happenings with fluid sounds and clear visions along with that little something extra that can be read and savored time and again.Ē

Ė Raymond Hammond, New York Quarterly

EXCERPTS

Here are a few poems from the book...

Everything that I Needed to Know about Writing I Learned from Being a Stripper 

Each no brings you closer to yes
you just have to keep at it.
Sometimes itís the ugliest of moments that brings you closer
to the money shot. Beauty is ethereal, you might be
the most beautiful girl to one and a leper to another.
In the audience you will find flat-eyed faces
looking at you like youíre deformed
and then youíll find
the lovers of the deformed
and theyíll make you god for a few minutes
and thatís all any one needs.
I learned that it all adds up.
Words on a napkin become poems, poems on a page
become books. Itís something
you can hold in your hand.
And the dollar that the idiot gave you to sit on his lap
disappears into a stack of bills
and itís something
you can hold in your hand.
It all adds up.
Some days are good and you are gold
and other days youíre wading through mud
like a starving pig, looking for scraps
and you canít figure out what youíre doing
in the cesspool of dead words and men
who come to the club to jack off at 11am but donít
have any money to tip. When you approach
the altar youíre hoping for a masterpiece, a hundred dollar bill
you might get excited for the twenties
but youíll take the fives. Youíll take what you can get.
Somewhere along the line youíll become addicted
to the heat that comes from writing a good poem,
or earning your rent in one night. There arenít many
rules, just remember not to fall in love
with the customers, or your words and if you feel exposed
youíre doing something right.

By MK Chavez

 

Suicide Poems

Let them be read the way that I wanted to be loved.
Let them sink into the fibers of unbound paper.

Let them haunt the capillaries of each vein.
Let them be ether. Let them be death.

Let them be immortal, let them be porcelain.
Let them be young girls and old men. Let them be fleshless,
let them tell lies.

Let my poems be a sparrow traveling
from the facade of Brownstones
to the faded pastels of Victorians.
Let it not matter if anyone believes in the lungs of one little bird.
 

By MK Chavez

 

down this crooked road

we strike out
for
the horizon.

we know not
what
the weather will
bring.

we
are almost ill-prepared
but
there
is madness
and daring
in our eyes
as
we cut ties
and

stare back
at
the
abyss,

laughing.

By Christopher Cunningham


GO

it makes no difference
how you paint,
just paint.
it makes no damn difference
how the clay
is lumped and shaped and smoothed,
just
sculpt.
it makes no difference
if it drips or runs
or rolls over
or screams or
begs or tears or
breaks in half or in a million
pieces or
dies or weeps or yearns
or hurts
or leaves or stays or
returns.

play your instrument:
too many of us

on this turning rock
only hold the thing
in our timid hands,
waiting for it to play
itself.

carve the words
even if your fingers
bleed from the flowers
in the stone.


By Christopher Cunningham



Love the night

2 kids pass
striding into town
I know that feeling
nowhere to be just
a twenty in yr pocket
& some real cigarettes
ready to murder the darkness
with laughter & stories
nothing but almost-free time
stretching before you with
eyes full of promise but
a steel heart where
nothing gets in or out
you can love the night but
it never loves you back
& you have to accept
itís always in
the company of darkness
time flashes by
& the end of a good thing
comes too soon
the eyes are now
endless & empty
black & cold
but the day
begins
like a prayer
to keep that darkness away
light surges into you
like a shot of something good
& itís something pure & true
and you know
like love & pain & all of us
it will eventually
fade to shadow
but yr happy anyway
for now
I think yes
I used to know that feeling


By Miles J. Bell



It is Enough

I canít tell you just what it is
Iím looking for today;

not hope, exactly,
but a little sign from the world
that life
is sometimes more
than simply
waiting on death.

I watch for such moments.

Like right now;
there is something
in the girl sitting at the table in the
afternoon sun,

with her sunglasses and her pint of beer,
cigarette held just so,
a cheap paperback novel open in front of her.

I cannot say what it is,
I cannot put a name to it
but it is there;

a hint of possibility
in the curve of her mouth
and in the patterns the sunlight makes
upon the tabletop.

It is enough,
it is all I ask.

I breathe it in
and believe.


By William Taylor, Jr.



Rainy Afternoon

The rain comes down
on a Sunday afternoon
in San Francisco.

It's as good a day as any to sit in a bar
and watch the world go by,

as good a day as any

to take back just a little bit
of what the world forever steals.

Me, I get drunk at the Gold Cane
as the tourists and the hipsters
drift up and down
the avenue.

A true smile from a stranger is enough
to set things right
for a little while.

I drink it in

and let the bitterness slide off
like rain down a windowpane

that looks out on Haight Street
on a rainy afternoon
in San Francisco.

By William Taylor Jr.



Freaky Mumblerís Manifesto

Iíd like to tell you I stayed
up all night
shadow boxing with the Muse
creating
rock and roll poems
that will topple empires
or that Oprah called to say
I wasnít really just a fat
hairy loser
and asking how
did I ever transform
the misfortune
of my birth
and my own profound
stupidity
to become the artist
I am today
and that she
wanted to give me a car
on national TV
to show the world
that half-wit trannies
are a gift
not a detriment
to society
but instead I will tell you this:
staying up all night
touching oneís self
does not a genius make
and trannie just aint that sexy
no matter what the enlightened say
and sometimes being DUMB
is just being DUMB
and being broke is no reason to gloat
and being smelly is not revolutionary
and being confused is just
BEING CONFUSED
not having a day job
never made me an artist
itís just one more day
of bad coffee
bad skin
unshaven
no sex
one more day of trying not to wish
I was smart or good looking
or employed
because you know itís not very poetic
to wish for such things
but far more entertaining
to bleed the blues
all over the dirty carpet
create a new alphabet
of some sort of deranged redemption
and strike a one-two punch
for all the wage slaves
who canít afford to be literary
so Iím sorry Oprah
I donít have any visions
there is just nothing supernatural
about being out of Half and Half
and not having showered by 3 oíclock
and Iím out of toilet paper and
I donít know what to do
should I write a poem?
should I eat?
should I kill myself?
or should I just figure out
how to wipe my own ass first?
thereís just no key
for this sort of thing
no cosmic blueprint
nothing extraordinary
about this day
this life
this poem
Freak Town is not a tourist destination
itís the end of the line
nobodyís giving out any prizes
itís not hip
and no oneís cleaned the bathroom
in 6 years


By Christopher Robin



Holes In the Shadows

tonight there was an earthquake
it was fairly decent sized
i live on the fourth floor of an old hotel.

after the earthquake i stood out in the hallway
watching everyone.

a few people
poked their heads into the hallway
i waved. they smiled, and closed the door.

one guy lives in a room down the hallway from his mother.
that guy ran to his motherís room to see about her.

i watched a woman i had fucked years ago,
run into her room. sex has always been something which separates us.

ďDid you feel it?Ē she said as she ran by me.
ďthat was a long time ago,Ē i said to her. ďlet it go.Ē
she gave me a little huff,
and she slammed her door.

i love moments like that.
i just love them.

By Father Luke


The Dog Did It

Tomorrow,
we shall try this dance
just one more time.

All worn out now;
itís the end of the day.

And like a hound dog,
plopping itself down
onto a dusty wooden porch at twilight,
sneaking one last gaze at the horizon,

then drifting into a little nap
with a sigh,
and passing a bit of gas,

this day passes
from today
into yesterday.


By Father Luke



A Poem For
Anyone
Who Cannot
Be
Happy...


Listen, we already know
how it
endsó

ash & bone & dank, heavy soil

óthe only thing we
donít
know
is

everything

in between.

By Hosho McCreesh






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