July 28–August 3, 2008: Michael P. Lira and Christopher Barnes

week of July 28-August 3, 2008

Michael P Lira and Christopher Barnes

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Michael P Lira

Bio (auto)

My name is Michael P Lira and I hail from Where The Lemons Have Pits And The Chicks Pronounce “Stupid” With Two “O” ‘s And A “P.E D ,” Arizona In the late 80’s and early 90’s I did a stretch in the US Army When I got out I just bummed around for a year Currently I am a registered voter, home owner, tax payer, father, husband Rotting Richard is a friend of mine I listen to Dead Boys, Misfits, X, Corrosion of Conformity, Cro-Mags, Husker Du, etc etc Recently I switched from Budweiser to Budlight because I have come to find out I can make it throught the night instead of passing out before anything good has happened.

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Michael P Lira nd may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Sound of the Universe
Beneath Our Sneakers

On a daily basis back in the late 1980’s
my friends and I would walk
across this small planet
from one end of Superior (AZ) to the other On the outskirts of town
we would wade through
ankle deep fields of foxtails
while our dreams
washed up in bottles
on the caramel surf of the setting sun We sat next to old wise mountains
heard every word, and heard every world
they never spoke We despised the latest pop fashions
for torn jeans, and concert t’s We always died laughing
smoking weed and guzzling beer
mistaking satellites for falling stars
bullshitting about how every jock dives
on the same muffs as their bench buddies We trusted the cholos, and the chollas
and the prickley pear
with our schoolboy crushes Unlike the Varsity Club
that wore pussy on their lettermen jackets
like medals of honor
we wore our broken hearts on our sleeves We picked out every nerve
from beneath our skin
with the same needles
we used to tattoo our bodies By starlight my friends and I made pacts
that we spray painted
onto the sides of dilapidated buildings
and signed with the blood of our youth The most popular was the pact,
To Live or Die Those walls have now come to serve
as headstones for some .

The Weight of the Dead Boys
The weight of the Dead Boys, and
the weight of too many cervezas
had me pinned against
the backseat of the car So to keep my mind off
of how fucked up I had become
I took to counting the scantily clad women
holding up the road signs
along the most scenic stretch of the 60
–west of the Oak Flats Campground
as it winds it’s way into the town of Superior When those chicks began to bottleneck
outside the window on my left shoulder
I screamed above the sonic reducer,
“Stop the fuckin’ car, man!”
I stepped out from the vehicle
before it came to a complete stop
and tumbled head-over-heels
down an embankment Before (Alfred) Hitchcock
could even shout out, “Cut!”
I was already balancing up on my knees
puking into the jeweled Queen Creek When we got into town
we stopped off at the La Mina Lounge
where I sat alone in a booth
peeling the labels off
the full bottle of beer in front of me
like I was Johnny Depp
peeling the panties off of Wynona Ryder
towards the end of our relationship Up until then I had always thought
I might one day wind up Superman, but
all lit up and buzzing
there was no mistaking who I had become
in 1993 I was neon man
in 1993 I was neon man.

Damn, Urban Sprawl

for Luis R Macias

The day I found out
the poet, pig farmer
Luis R Macias,
who had been born
from seeds scattered
over the desert floor,
passed away
in the starry night
there was a full moon
I thought was going to
roll over the Sonoran Desert
and a week later
I am man enough to admit
how I had been wrong
the headstone
was not built out of
cinder block with
surveillance cameras, and
refrigeration ducts,
(electrical conduit)
the epitaph
did not read,
Always Low Prices
Always .

Christopher Barnes

Bio (auto)

In 1998 I won a Northern Arts writers award In July 200 I read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology ‘Titles Are Bitches’ Christmas 2001 I debuted at Newcastle’s famous Morden Tower doing a reading of my poems Each year I read for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and I partake in workshops 2005 saw the publication of my collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh
On Saturday 16th Aughst 2003 I read at the Edinburgh Festival as a Per Verse poet at LGBT Centre, Broughton St
I also have a BBC webpage www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/gay.2004/05/section_28.shtml and http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/videonation/stories/gay_history.shtml (if first site does not work click on SECTION 28 on second site
Christmas 2001 The Northern Cultural Skills Partnership sponsored me to be mentored by Andy Croft in conjunction with New Writing North I made a radio programme for Web FM community radio about my writing group October-November 2005, I entered a poem/visual image into the art exhibition The Art Cafe Project, his piece Post-Mark was shown in Betty’s Newcastle This event was sponsored by Pride On The Tyne I made a digital film with artists Kate Sweeney and Julie Ballands at a film making workshop called Out Of The Picture which was shown at the festival party for Proudwords, it contains my poem The Old Heave-Ho I worked on a collaborative art and literature project called How Gay Are Your Genes, facilitated by Lisa Mathews (poet) which exhibited at The Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University funded by The Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Institute, Bioscience Centre at Newcastle’s Centre for Life I was involved in the Five Arts Cities poetry postcard event which exhibited at The Seven Stories children’s literature building In May I had 2006 a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People’s Theatre why not take a look at their website http://ptag.org.uk/whats_on/gulbenkian/gulbenkian.htm

The South Bank Centre in London recorded my poem “The Holiday I Never Had”, I can be heard reading it on www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=18456

REVIEWS: I have written poetry reviews for Poetry Scotland and Jacket Magazine and in August 2007 I made a film called ‘A Blank Screen, 60 seconds, 1 shot’ for Queerbeats Festival at The Star & Shadow Cinema Newcastle, reviewing a poem .see www.myspace.com/queerbeatsfestival

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Christopher Barnes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Frost will form gradually on the ice-making shelf.  It is a mistake to assume that an accumulation of frost gives a colder cabinet  
Frigidity moulds creepingly
On the cold-wave tier A North Pole drift doesn’t nudge
Towards a subzero box          *
To defrost, switch off at the wall socket or, alternatively turn the thermostat dial to ‘0’.  Remove the ice-tray and leave the cabinet door open.  The frost will gradually melt and run into the drip collector  
To unglacify flick ‘off’
Or icequake the compass
To let-slide mode Disbar the snow-clad reservoir,
Unplug the chest’s doorjamb The frost line by shades swamps
Depletes into the splashback          *
NOTE: do not attempt to defrost more quickly by means of an electric fire or other form of heat as this may damage the plastic surfaces  
CUTTING ICE: disaffirm dissolving impatiently Kettles and blast-torches turn awry fridges
The frame should not be a snowflake
–         Before playing, clean the disc with a cleaning cloth.  Wipe from the centre out  
Leading the dance of opera-ncy,
Buff Madam Butterfly
Gut to a jaggy wing          *
         Do not use solvents such as benzene, thinner, commercially available cleansers or anti-static intended for vinyl LPs  
Stagger belief in solvents
Unctions, salesman’s dry cleaning,
Stale fluidized fresheners          *
         Do not expose the disc to direct sunlight or heat sources such as hot air ducts, nor leave it in a car parked in direct sunlight  
And no recalcitrant moth-light,
Hiss from a radiator’s valve
Don’t pipe it down in your motor
A simmering hush warps       *
         Do not use discs encircled with a protection ring.  This may cause a malfunction to the system  
Halos engineer the untuneable          *
         Discs with non-standard shapes (e.g heart, square, star) cannot be played on this unit.  Do not use such discs  
Bluebottles, wasps, caterpillars,
Will blatter their crescendos
Whatever your banking needs, our current accounts are both flexible and rewarding.  Whether it’s a market leading interest rate you’re after, 24 hour access, a simpler way to bank or added extras you’ll find them all here  
Not counting us?  Bill-sketchy?
In standard deviations our handbag account
Is snap-absorbent, tickle-pursed Your interurban uncertainty principle’s indispensable,
It’s all somewhere about          *
Simply look at the chart opposite to help you choose the right account  
Guilessly go eye to eye
With number patterns We’ll please your figures
Thank you for instructing me to act on your behalf in connection with the above matter.  I shall do everything possible to assist you and see that the matter proceeds to a satisfactory conclusion  
I’ll knee bend to the riot act
Unsuspectingly up against
The underlying crisis,
Going on to wheel-grease
A peace-of-mind after all          *
If you are granted Emergency Public Funding and it is later ascertained that you do not qualify for Public Funding financially or because you have failed to supply necessary information, then your Emergency Public Funding will be revoked  
If you’re indulged with the tab
Having stamped an overstep
Recompense can be a write-off          *
All solicitors dealing in family law have to be governed by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002  
We are mouthpieces, string-pulled
Thank you for your recent enquiry.  I enclose conformation of your customer/holder’s number and the current details we hold about you.  If you change your name or address in the future, please use this form to let us know  
Grateful for your point in question Do we dismay?
We are as you hunch
In the grace of machines I run-through the green light
Of your sucker/haver index,
Stock specifics we’re up on you If you shift into
Homo-other, someplace elsewhere, spill it
In a set-adrift what-is-to-be
Be graphic to us in those papers          *
There are no outstanding prizes at the moment  
On the other hand
Your anchor was swept too high,
A naysay-Midas
By and by
I write to confirm the completion of this matter today and I would remind you that if you have not already done so you should now cancel all standing orders and direct debits in respect of all outgoings on your former property  
You disengaged She goodbyed
Lists she took in espitolatry* custom Settled,
There’s no other run of things Seal the doom of chits and dues
For your brick-bank          *
You have collected the cheque in your favour for the balance due to you – I enclose the Statement showing how such sum was calculated  
You’ve strongboxed the boodle;
It all tabulates.  Despair on the tea chest
Tap thumbs.  This is elbow-room          *
We will shortly be closing your file and will archive it for six years  
You may ferment solitude We’ll zip up your Minutes
And shroud them in the stacks,
Six scuzzy years  
*the theory of knowledge, the conditions
Collins English Dictionary

It is now time for your eye test.  You may not realise, but it is over two years since your last sight test at this practice.  In fact, our records show…
You’re a dodgem into debris, dingdong,
A dud with watchworks
         It’s rare bats of a distant eye
A dim past when you were on this spot Camera-catalogued, and fuzz-inked forms to wink at…
Your eyes deserve professional care and it’s essential to have a regular eye examination.  We will check that your eyes are healthy and ensure your vision is as clear and comfortable as possible  
You moles reap the fruits
Of a marksman’s curiosity
Let us read your bull’s-eye Then you’ll be bright-eyed, tufty-tailed
A seer, clearly.

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