December 28, 2009-January 3, 2010: Peter Marti and Robert Ronnow

Peter Marti


Bio (auto)

Born East Chicago, Indiana height of US population boom Raised San Jose, California, graduated SF State University Studied at Naropa’s Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Ginsberg, Burroughs, et al Member of the San Francisco based poetry/art magazine collective Birthstone in the ’70s, rock n roll singer in ’80s and part of the Wordland performance poetry group in the early ’90s Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, 2002 Published recently in Napalm Health Spa, Poetry Super Highway, M.A.G and in Hazmat Review and Big Scream Currently the chef at a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center in the Santa Cruz Mountains Of Peter Marti’s poetry, Gregory Corso wrote: “Bum Poet! Yeah, you made me see it-good sound, good clear images.”  

Bitter Smoke, Holy Words is good! You ain’t scared of letting the “self” go on the page…you use the “I” with a certain confidence that suggests your “I” has its eye on the world as you.”-Jack Hirschman

Amelie Frank writes: “…it takes a talented and generous soul to translate the vernacular of pigeons, honest labor, and car alarms into the idiom of desire…this reminds me why, as a publisher, I am willing to wade through 50-70 pages of bad to mediocre work to find the one poem in the pile that just knocks me over.”

Fellow poet Marc Olmsted says of Peter Marti’s poetry: “Valentines for the essential heart-Buddhist shrug under decay of the Real Movie – Redemptive Poet, kind friend of all readers.”

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Peter Marti and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Goodbye, Grasshopper

“Only when the man and tiger are of two minds is the man in danger.”
—David Carradine’s teacher in ’70s TV Show KUNG FU

We were ready for something different—
no more 1950’s TV nuclear families of nice people—
for a hero maybe better inside and got
Kwai Chang Caine’s struggles in his vaguely exotic skin—
neither Chinese nor American—every week before each
episode, lifting the glowing red iron pot with his forearms to be
forever embossed with those dragon scars, his agony ours,
thrusting burns into the snow outside the Shaolin temple, never
to return to orphan’s home .Somehow Grasshopper something went wrong
you never grew weary enough of samsara or maybe it never
really rubbed off on you, those Four Thoughts that turn the
mind towards the real Dharma, and you found yourself in a
Thai hotel with a few hours to kill so you tied rope to your
genitals, wrist and neck tried to stave off boredom with the
ultimate ultra O—autoerotic asphyxiation—hanging yourself,
age 72, in a closet
.Did you forget to breathe?
.Did your mind find the quiet place it sought all along,
Buddha Nature tamed by rough bonds until, deprived of
oxygen, let go into the Bardo of becoming someone else?
.Were you confused watching your suit of meat next to
your actor’s clothes, next to your wife’s new dress or whatever
else they found you with—your last bulging eyeball final blink
before the void?
.Could you see humor in the nostalgia for you—or only
the paycheck that kept you fed and drugged and liquored or
clean (or a mix of it all)—radiating out into the confused world
we once thought tamed by a path like yours, that red glowing
dragon fantasy of having such strength?
.One episode Caine, forced into a pit of rattlesnakes, sat
unharmed with reptile cool discipline and I, terrified, craved
that fearless Mind for mine
.Now, thirty odd years later, I’m driving the angry
just-caught rattler away from our home in a 5 gallon bucket I become quiet and earnest prying off the lid but the rush of a
fat Diamondback exploding downhill out the tipped bucket is
pure fear:
.I watch in awe
.holding my breath too long.


Robert Ronnow


Bio (auto)


Robert Ronnow has published three poetry collections: New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007),  Janie Huzzie Bows (Barnwood Press, 1983) and Absolutely Smooth Mustard (Barnwood Press, 1985, originally published as “White Waits”) He has served as executive director of several non-profit social service and environmental organizations He has also been a forest worker in the western and northeastern U.S He plays jazz trumpet He lived in New York City for twenty years before relocating to Williamstown, Massachusetts where he currently resides with his wife and two sons You can read more poems on his web site at

The following work is Copyright © 2009, and owned by Robert Ronnow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cameron Diaz

Herpetologist meets actress (Cameron Diaz) If he’s funny he’s me South America or Africa (on location) In a diamond mind The protagonists (lovers) the diamonds, the miners and the minders By minders I (he) mean (means) watchers, organizers, supervisors As all art must: choose a focus The personal is political said Cameron on the night bus to Quebec I had never met a girl so willing to make love in public
Open to it.

To what extent is violence necessary? And
is that the essential question or
should violence be accepted as man’s state, fate
a more essential question existing beyond or below
peace or war Perhaps
the religious and (for the irreligious) sacred injunction
against egregious violence exists
to still ourselves
to open ourselves
to the deeper question That Cameron Diaz is funny and beautiful
is hopeful And the telescope and microscope have extended
the eye’s appreciation Under the microscope
Cameron becomes a collection of foreign, alien, uncompassionate, selfish, self-organizing
organisms Frightening, inexorable, fascinating
to the scientist in you!

To the telescope
vanishingly small, infinitesimal as the farthest sun
only smaller
smaller by magnitudes of magnitudes of ten
and incinerated in a nanosecond Gone
from the movie (photographs the contents of which move
for the naked eye) I cannot help what I do or hope.

Anyway, it’s a love story
or science project, socio-political documentary An essay An essay about how it is actually impossible to say what you mean
but it is possible with a lifetime of meditation and study to shut up
and know what you meant.

Now I’m deaf I can see Cameron Diaz but not hear her The guy, the herpetologist, at first colorless turns out to be
colorful as a bird or snake!
He knows a lot about snakes, and birds! Not only how they mate
but what they eat
(amateur botanist)
where they nest
what they do with their pain Do they get depressed?
Can they have guests?
How do they judiciously employ violence to organize and defend
the nest.

The international collective remains insufficiently organized
resulting in violence and threats of violence that interrupt
commerce, procreation (love) and the pursuit of happiness (Cameron Diaz)
at least for certain populations, sometimes Otherwise, most men, most times, live in peace excepting
flood or fire God or man may
choose to impose I lay in my bed and listen naked Have a good day (Diaz) The goddess does not exist, except as bone.

Around this time (July)
the queen yellow jacket (redcoat) searches
blind and deaf
for a ledge or cavity to build a city of her descendants
safe, that they can defend Most cities
prosper, undisturbed
and sleeping peacefully, overwinter We, however,
remain active, Cameron Diaz makes winter movies or
love stories in South America, and I
delight to imagine her herpetologist Or one who
discovers the sun
around which a habitable, understandable, compatible
orb orbs Or
maybe the movie’s about the revolution, soldiers dying defending
this dictator or that dreamer
and the movie completely failing, not even trying, to explain how
the sons and daughters of the dying soldiers (miners) feel
fishing alone, hunting for wisdom, thereafter Sure, these men chose violence, not Cameron Diaz, and were not
farmers, botanists or herpetologists
their tools could have been and should have been the telescope or microscope
but are there enough microscopes and telescopes to go around
and did we not (taxpayers, movie makers) encourage them to
defend Cameron Diaz?

Man’s world is insufficiently organized to preclude violence
in allocating resources (Cameron Diaz) When we invade Iraq
to defend our allies and interests
with rockets and rocket throwers, Rockettes and Cameron Diaz
each man (each Diaz) must make his
own individual choice
whether this war
is worth fighting for or the next or the worst Go to jail, go directly to waterboard, at the hands of
your local police, chamber of commerce Learn how to walk the desert and the universe The names of rocks and planets, that being the only answer to the hyperorganization that is a cancer on our insufficient organization.

I was reading Foreign Affairs
The Case Against the West by Kishore Mabubami (Cameron Diaz) How can I relinquish my privileged position
sit still, lie naked
until what constitutes consent of the governed and non-violent change, Cameron Diaz,
to her herpetologist
is known.

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