June 7-13, 2004: Todd Swift and Misti Velvet Rainwater

week of June 7-13, 2004

Todd Swift and Misti Velvet Rainwater

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Todd Swift

Bio (auto)

Todd Swift (London, England) is the editor of four anthologies, and three collections of poetry His poetry has appeared online at 3AM, The Drunken Boat, hutt, Jacket, Poetry Kit, Retort, Shampoo and Snakeskin His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New American Writing, Poetry London, Poetry Wales and Poetry Scotland He is poetry editor of nthposition.com and contributing editor of Matrix
Visit Todd on the web here: www.toddswift.com

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Todd Swift and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Rex Hardy (1915-2004)

Rex Hardy, hardly knew him You?
Only his photographs The ones
With him in, and the ones where he’s
Behind the tripod, in his white shirt,
The sleeves rolled, and with those lovely
Striped pants, at the Harpo Marx garden

Party.  Life made him the youngest
Shutterbug in the world at 21, a boy-
Hero with a penchant for martinis
And the stars of Hollywood Tyrone
Guthrie, Bing Crosby, Joan Crawford,
James Stewart, his cronies, on both

Sides of the lens Informality: the word
You’d use to capture what he snapped He was playful, his 35mm Leica his toy How they posed, intimately, for him He was a racer, a bon vivant, handsome,
Before any of this was of use to theory
Rex wrecks the idea you have to read
To be Postmodern Magazines in Los
Angeles prefigure all thought in Paris,
Anyhow – isn’t celebrity the last sign?
Rex was also a test pilot for NASA,
And sped cars (Aston Martins) for fun;

Never crashed, though: no Dean He was not a star, per se, but the firmament
In which the stars could shine: the black
Velvet they flash upon; say this, then:
He was the film on which they betrayed
Their casual otherness Unseen, fast,

Hardy survived the beauty of his prime,
Came to smoke pipes in England, reading
Trollope, and of Arthurian legends Two
Olives, please, in his martinis, some things
Don’t fade His youngest-ever talent for
Portraiture has built us a sweet printed glade.


The black dog depression tears me in half like a phone book Acme Depression’s steamroller stencils me to the pavement

London Bridge

It kept ticking,
Library of Alexandria,
Great walls of Bam,
City of London, currently:

Poised insecure monuments
With books alert
And all planes ground down
For the alarm.

Misti Velvet Rainwater


I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico My poems have been published in the Central Avenue poetry zine I think slam poetry is a trend and I wish it would die I write poems everyday My favorite poets are Charles Bukowski, Gregory Corso and Sandra Cisneros I like beer way too much and I enjoy singing karaoke with my boyfriend.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Misti Velvet Rainwater and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


life must suck for Scotty
we see him when we sing karaoke at Fiesta’s
on Friday and Saturday nights
he always sings the kind of songs
I can imagine rednecks slitting their wrists to
in their trailers when the wife and kids and dogs are gone
he sings “The Dance” by Garth Brooks
and I always feel his pain
last night he sang it in a sadder, drunker than usual voice
told us he’d been drinking since one o’clock that afternoon
asked me if I had a sister
I told him she’s pregnant and married and lives in Texas
“happily?” Scotty asked
“yes,” i told him,”she’s happily pregnant, happily married
and happily in Texas”

I guess we’ve all been Scotty at least once
drinking alone and singing to strangers
or shopping alone with no one to tell us
how we look in the clothes we try on
or driving alone with the moon and the radio
and little or no hope
waiting for a rope to hang us and set us free
swinging from a tree
deeply carved with somebody else’s

I’m Moving Back To A Stupid State

I’m moving back to a stupid state
some call it the Lone Star state
I call it the fucked up state
the football state
the illiterate inbred state
the President Bush is God state
the nosy bitches from Bible study knockin’ on your door when you’re
tryin’ to get off or get high because they want to invite you to church state
the goddamn it I don’t have any Mary Kay cosmetics or dresses from Dillard’s or high heels from Foley’s or bling bling from James Avery or hair from Tony & Guy or fingernails from one of those salons where Chinese chicks wear surgical masks to make you pretty so I can’t go to church state
the everyone should be married by nineteen and parents by twenty state
the who the fuck is Tom Robbins? an old Dallas Cowboys coach? state
the Oh Did You Watch American Idol last night? Bless her heart, she is so tacky, she’s no Jessica Simpson state
the Abortion is Murder state
the Lethal Injection Takes Care of The Inmates state
the We’re Our Own Country So Leave Us the Fuck Alone Just Kidding state
the better than Oklahoma and New Mexico and Louisiana combined state
the No Sex Ed in Our Schools state
the No Contraceptives or Abortion Just Get Married And Learn to Like it, Goddammit state
I’m moving back to that state
hopin’ for the best

ending it

You arms are not enough
Your apologies
Your kisses
can’t cancel out
the sickness
the wrongness
of our union
you push my buttons until I’m ugly
with hatred and disgust
you tear me down
and dance on me
and the spell
is broken
and it’s all crap
once again
and all that is left
is cigarette breath
and a long

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