Tag Archives: L. A. Harbor area poetry senior poetry

Tracking the Rabbit

rabbitsThomas K. Armstrong, my father, died in early January 2015, in his sleep of a heart attack. He had suffered, over the past six years, from Vascular Dementia (the lesser-known half of senility, Alzheimer’s being the more widely known form). A month before, in Dec. of 2014, I had been to see him. This chapbook contains poems and blogs about that visit and his subsequent death.

People deal with the death of a parent in many ways: denial, anger, guilt, bargaining, transference…it goes on and on. Grief has no timetable either so it may take years for that loss to resolve itself (or it may never happen). In my case, I turned to a projection of my dad as a black rabbit. Some might call this transference or an animal fetish; I dunno.

I had a dream after his death and in the dream…”Suddenly, something was thrust into my arms: a medium sized furry thing as black as this night, unidentifiable except for its two white, buck teeth. Then I knew it was a black rabbit. I could feel its heart racing in fear (but also alive!) and pulled it closer. But just as suddenly as it had appeared it now leaped out of my arms and bolted into the dark! I was devastated, thinking that it had been a gift from my father, that I had not understood what it was until it was too late and now it was gone for good (like the old man)…but then, out of the darkness, the rabbit came bounding and leapt into my arms again!

I awoke from this dream wondering what in the world did this mean? I knew enough about Native-American lore to realize that the black rabbit was my father’s spirit animal and that it would guide him through the death process; and this little black bunny would serve as a talisman for me, as well…” (from the Introduction to the chapbook).

RD Armstrong uses the power of poetry for his elegiac mythology of grief. Everyone who has ever been on earth has died, and we never get used to this. Poets especially have to  speak/define/make sense of it. Armstrong’s natural strength as a writer uses an archetypal Rabbit as the central focus. This metaphor extends the glandular process of a body lost and born again. Armstrong commands the structure of prose narrative—as well as the economy of the poem— to memorialize his love for his father. In doing this, he brings everything to life again.

— Grace Cavalieri, “The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”

A black rabbit jumps into a bereaved dreamer’s arms, bounds out, comes back, leaves. RD Armstrong tracks it through dream, poem, memoir, waking life, waking dream, blues, and rain. This mixed genre   tale of the poet’s loss of his real father and dreamed-of father, and coming to terms with it, is a stunner–– image-rich, narratively and descriptively tight and moving, emotionally powerful. The images and emotional honesty make the reader feel all the transformations of the dad and to the son in his journey of awakening.

— Jane Lipman, author of On the Back Porch of the Moon, winner of the 2013 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Poetry Book and a NM Press Women’s Award

You can read selections from this book, here.

ISBN 9781929878789
40 pages; $12

If you’d like to buy a copy of this chapbook via check, you can send your payment, made out to Lummox Productions, in the amount of $15 (USA) or if you are outside the USA (WORLD orders), make your check out to Lummox Productions in the amount of $25 and mail your check to PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733.

If you’d like to pay with a credit/debit card, you can use either the USA or WORLD buttons below to make your payment via Pay Pal (all shipping is included in the prices). For USA orders, the price will be $15; for WORLD orders, the price will be $25.

Please allow 4 – 6 weeks to receive your order.

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LAST CALL – THE BUKOWSKI LEGACY CONTINUES

Last Call-new frontCharles Henry Bukowski, Hank to his friends, was born in Andernach Germany in 1920. He died in 1994, at the age of 73. Even though it was 20 years ago, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news…it wasn’t devastating, but it was hard. I still think of the old coot occasionally, and his name still comes up in conversation…such is the power of Buk (rhymes with Duke).

Bukowski spawned a school of poets who write in a kind of gritty, street-wise style. The Buk persona, Henry Chinaski or just Chinaski, has inspired many a young person to devote their lives to boozing and chasing skirt and being a loud-mouth. They wrongly assume that by emulating the actions of Buk’s alter ego, they will be able to write like him…this would be the school of BAD Bukowski poetry & fiction (oh yes, he wrote some great novellas and short story collections).

I have attempted to capture some of the GOOD Bukowski writing out there, beyond the boundaries of Los Angeles, because the Bukowski Legacy has spread world-wide.  Many of the poems I have chosen to include in this collection don’t seem to fit the misconception of “Classic Bukowski” (i.e. Boozing, Broads and bad behavior); but the writers employ the strength of the line and don’t mince words, an economy of words if you will, and to me, this is the real “Classic Bukowski”.

At his core, Buk was a good story teller. Last Call is one man’s homage to a man known as the “Underground Poet Laureate of Los Angeles”. I hope you enjoy this collection.

Read an excerpt of Last Call

ISBN 9781929878864
152 pages; 6 X 9 Trade Paper
$18 + S&H


All S & H included



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SCHEDULE OF PENDING LUMMOX READINGS

In 2012, fMike Adamsor LUMMOX #1, groups of poets who came from the same regions held readings from this issue to promote sales. A series of events held in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles County, California (Venice, Downey and Santa Ana) were either co-sponsored or curated by Lummox.

Then in 2013 for LUMMOX #2, similar readings were held the SoCal towns of Venice, Downey, Long Beach, Canoga Park and Orange. A reading also took place in Sacramento, CA. Other readings happened in Pittsburgh, PA and Boulder and Denver, CO. 

(Left) The late Mike Adams reading from Lummox #1 in 2012 in Colorado.

2014 – 2015 READING SCHEDULE for LUMMOX #3

NOV. 9 – SANTA FE NM

Jane Lipman HOSTS a reading at Teatro Paraguas, (3205 Calle Marie Suite B Santa FeNew Mexico 87505) on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 5 pm. Featuring Blair Cooper, Mary McGinnis, Jane Lipman, Mitch Rayes, Judith Toler, Linda Whittenberg and John Macker.

NOV. 13 – DOWNEY CA

RD Armstrong HOSTS a reading at the Stay Gallery (11140 Downey Ave, Downey, CA 90241) on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. Featured are Trista Dominqu, Lorine and Jeff Parks, Nancy Shiffrin, Daniel McGinn, Radomir Luza, Linda Singer, Frank Kearns, Murray Thomas, Rick Smith and RD Armstrong. This event is sponsored by the Downey Arts Coalition.

There will be copies of both LUMMOX #3 and LUMMOX #3 LTD. Edition on sale as well as other Lummox Press merchandise.

JAN. 24 – WHITTIER CA        

Eric Morago HOSTS the Lummox gang at Half-Off Books in Whittier (6708 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier CA 90601) on Saturday night at 7 pm. Featured to read are RD Armstrong, Heather Browne, Kevin Ridgeway and Linda Singer. Others TBA.

FEB. 12 – LONG BEACH CA

Join us at Viento y Agua (4007 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814  (562) 434-1182) for some of the local flavors that Long Beach is known for. The reading starts at 7 pm. Featured readers are RD Armstrong, Heather Browne, Tom Thomas, RD Armstrong and Linda Singer. Others TBA.

FEB. 19 – VENTURA CA

This reading features poets from the Camarillo to Santa Barbara. Come down to the E.P. FOSTER LIBRARY in old town Ventura (651 Main St. Ventura, CA 93001 805-648-2716). Starts at 7 pm and features Ron Alexander, Tim Tipton, Dane Baylis, Katherine Hamilton, Jackson Wheeler and RD Armstrong. Others TBA. 

MARCH 21 – VENICE CA

RD Armstrong hosts the Lummox gang at Beyond Baroque (681 Venice Blvd. Venice CA) on Saturday night at 8 pm. Featured readers are Jeanette Clough, Michael Meloan, Julia Stein, Lynne Bronstein, Nancy Shiffrin and RD Armstrong. Others TBA.

PENDING READINGS TBA

SARNIA, ONTARIO, CANADA; TORONTO, ONT. CANADA; ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND; and others TBA.

LUMMOX 3 order page 

LUMMOX 2 order page

APRIL 1st READING PERIOD FOR LUMMOX 4 BEGINS

 

 

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Books by RD Armstrong

Internationally recognized publisher & poet RD Armstrong has been writing for over 20 years. Specializing in mostly poetry, he also has written prose, essays, articles, reviews & interviews, many of which are showcased in his numerous projects put out by his Lummox Press. In the Lummox Journal (1995 – 2006), RD wrote a lead essay for each issue, conducted interviews with over 100 poets, writers, musicians, artists and even a dancer, over the course of its eleven year existence. He has also edited the annual Poetry Anthology simply entitled Lummox, for the past 7 years. He’s self-published (in the proud tradition of Walt Whitman) 6 full sized collections as well as 11 chapbooks and was published in 2 full sized books and 2 chapbooks published by other presses. In addition to that, he has been published in over 300 magazines. journals, and online sites. This last number would be higher if he hadn’t spent so much of his time running the Lummox Press and helping hundreds of poets.

The titles listed below are all perfect-bound paperbacks. All are published by Lummox Press.

Fire 1

 

FIRE and RAIN Volume 1

Volume one of a two-part set featuring selected poems from 1993 to 2007, including some of RD’s ‘signature’ poems, like “Eyes Like Mingus”, “Pueblo de las Putas” and “Corazon”. These are poems you might hear him read at one of his many features in the Small Press poetry scene. All the poems in this two volume set were hand picked by RD as his personal favorites.

210 pages; 6X9 size; Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-929878-96-3
Retail: $19.99 $15




 

Fire 2

 

FIRE and RAIN Volume 2

Volume two of a two-part set featuring selected poems from 1993 to 2007, including some of RD’s ‘signature’ poems, like “Yardbird Burned”, “Sanitized for Your Protection” and “Things I Notice 4”. These are poems you might hear him read at one of his many features in the Small Press poetry scene. All the poems in this two volume set were hand picked by RD as his personal favorites.

156 pages; 6X9 size; Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-929878-97-0
Retail: $19.99 $15




 

OnOffCover2ON/OFF THE BEATEN PATH – 3 Road Poems

Three poems written about road trips…the lure of the road, the frantic pace of mile upon mile, hour upon hour, the mad rush of the journey between Point A and Point B. Contained in this volume: A Journey Up the Coast; On/Off the Beaten Path; and RoadKill (RD’s epic about a 3,000 mile romp undertaken right before Sept. 11, 2001; a 10,000 plus word monster). Ride shotgun with RD as he muses about poets, poetry, friendships forged on hot asphalt and things observed from inside the cockpit of a car hurtling down the interstate at 65 + MPH.

116 pages; 6X9 sized Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-929878-99-4
Retail: $15.99 $15




El Pagano

 

EL PAGANO & OTHER TWISTED TALES – Short Stories

The stories in this slim volume, reflect the influence of Charles Bukowski, whom RD has read extensively. But as was noted by one of his fans, this collection of short stories “Out Bukowski’s Bukowski!”  These are tales of extraordinary madness. And while they might appear to be autobiographical, they are not, well not really. RD plays pretty fast and loose with the “facts”.
“Better than a cold shower” – Andrea Kowalski

120 pages; 6X9 sized Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-929878-98-7
Retail: $17.99 $15


E-OR

 

E/OR – LIVING AMONGST THE MANGLED

Near the end of 2008, RD wound up in an L. A. County hospital for 14 days. He nearly lost his right foot to an infection. It was during that time that he was diagnosed with Diabetes. It was a sobering experience (literally!). This collection of poetry and blog entries describes that time period, from the beginning of 2008 (the drunkard’s lifestyle) to the end of 2010 (reformed and living right). It includes everything he wrote about that time…the good, the bad and the horribly ugly! A rough-and-tumble look at health-care for the poor and drunken and the questionable coping methods used to get by.

189 pages; 6X9 sized Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-929878-30-7
Retail: $15



Mangled

 

LIVING AMONG THE MANGLED (Revised)

This is the leaner, meaner fighting weight version of E/OR. All the beautiful pieces with none of the fat.

132 pages: 6X9 sized Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-929878-90-1
Retail: $15


 

TRACKING THE RABBIT by RD Armstrong

When my dad died, I had some difficulty dealing with his demise. I had mixed feelings…on the one hand I was deeply saddened by his loss, especially since I had gotten to know him and had earned his respect during the last decade of his life; and on the other hand, having visited him in the senior ‘warehouse’ and seeing how utterly miserable and alone he was (lost in his dementia)…I was glad his suffering was at an end.

This chapbook concerns itself with the way I dealt with his death. I employed a “spirit animal” to help me resolve my grief and make some sense of it all.

36 pages; 5.5 X 8.5 Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-929878-78-9
Retail: $12




 

Last Call-new front

 

LAST CALL: THE BUKOWSKI LEGACY CONTINUES – Edited by RD Armstrong

This is the reprised version, new and improved, and ready to take up the banner dropped by the old man so many years ago (we just celebrated Buk’s 93rd birthday in Aug. of 2013).

If you ever wondered what Bukowski spawned by his example, then you need to read this book, which contains poetry, fiction, essays and artwork all inspired by the old dog!

150 pages; 6X9 sized Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-929878-86-4
Retail: $18




 

 

 

WORKING THE WRECKAGE OF THE AMERICAN POEM – Edited by RD Armstrong

This anthology deals with the passing of Small Press legend and Lummox Press favorite, Todd Moore, who passed away suddenly in March of 2010. Todd was a prolific poet who choose the gangster John Dillinger as his poetic persona. Many of Todd’s pals are included in this volume which features poetry and essays about the Co-Founder of the Outlaw School of Poetry. There’s also a near-complete bibliography of Todd’s books, chapbooks and recordings included. Due to some bureaucratic BS, there is no poetry by Todd Moore in this book. But there are other books and chapbooks published by Lummox Press, most notably, The Riddle of the Wooden Gun which came out in 2009.  That book concerns Dillinger’s “mythic” escape from the Crown Point Jail in 1933, supposed using a gun that was carved out of wood…

178 pages; 6X9 sized Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-929878-93-2
Retail: $15




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