Richard Beban and Sarah Picklesimer Wilson
Richard Beban, a Venice resident, has been an editor and journalist for over thirty-five years; a writer of screenplays and teleplays for the last twenty years, and of poetry since late 1993.
His poetry or essays have appeared since 1994 in the periodicals 51%; Athena; Blue Satellite; Caffeine; Coastal; 1995 Coos Bay Anthology; Fish Dance; Foreshock; FTS; the Los Angeles Times; Neon Quarterly; two editions of On Target; Rattle, Snakeskin; two editions of Spillway; two editions of Vol No ; and The Writing Self Two of his poems placed, second and honorable mention, respectively, in the 1997 Poetry Contest of the Morris Center for Healing, while his poem “To My Best Friend, Who Has Seen Miracles,” won a 1996 Soul-Making Literary Prize.
He has recent essays in the anthologies UFO Secrets Explained (Harper Collins, 1996) and in Soul Moments (Conari Press, 1997), both edited by Phil Cousineau His poem “Silence,” is anthologized in Bedside Prayers, (Harper SanFrancisco), while another poem, “On Guardian Angels,” will appear in the October, 1998 anthology Prayers of the Universe (Kodansha America), and a third, “Another L.A Story,” is in the new anthology Scream When You Burn His poem “My Grandmother Told Us Jokes” will appear in the forthcoming anthology What Have You Lost, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.
His chapbook, Fried Eggs With Lace: A Family Poem, was published in 1996 by Venice’s Canned Spaghetti Press.
Beban helps organize and run the free Wednesday night poetry reading series at Venice’s Rose Cafe, along with poets Jeanette Clough, Kaaren Kitchell, Jim Natal, and Jan Wesley under the nom de poetique Hyperpoets The Hyperpoets also organized a series of eight readings at two Westside Barnes & Noble stores for National Poetry Month last April, and have continued the Barnes & Noble series monthly With Clough, Beban was a director of the Midnight Special Bookstore Poetry Center from 1994-96, and the two were editors of the sold-out 1996 anthology, Foreshock: Poems from the Midnight Special Bookstore.
Beban has been a featured reader at Beyond Baroque; Deanna Miller Art Gallery; Dr Insomnia’s in Novato; Hyperdisc; Hothouse; Biscotti and Books; Library Cafe; L.A the Bookstore; Borders and Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica; Rose Cafe, Sierra Madre Public Library; Venice Public Library; UCLA; the 1996, 1997 & 1998 Writers Harvest readings; Midnight Special; Copperfield’s Cafe in Petaluma; Keane’s 3300 Club in San Francisco; Oliver’s Books in San Anselmo; Cody’s Books in Berkeley; the 1998 Petaluma Poetry Walk in Sonoma County, and Shakespeare & Company, Paris.
He and the novelist Kaaren Kitchell are collaborating on a non-fiction book and a workshop series about incorporating myth into your everyday life, Invoking the Gods: Living Mythically They will teach the material at Esalen Institute in Big Sur the last week of 1998.
Many of his poems and his reading schedule can be read on-line at http://www.psenterprises.com/rbpoems.htm.
The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Richard Beban and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
Summer Rain Song
For the Average Housefly
epigraph: (“The Housefly– musca domestica –can complete its entire life cycle in as little as seven to ten days “–NEWSPAPER FILLER ITEM)
When it rains, thick gobbets that plunk
on the sill with the cadence of childhood
jump rope rhymes, even flies stay home And where is that, exactly? Small turd castles?
A welcoming calf’s carcass, smooth ribs brown
& regular as a bone marimba,
enough leather clinging to struts
for a makeshift umbrella? No Let’s say
home is the heaped white sweetness
of a giant sugar bowl, each crystal a cubist
delight a thousand times sweeter
in compound eyes–each short Musca domestica life,
though confined a day by rainfall, not brutish
at all, but tasty & worth a poem of its own.
At Lucky one noon I found
grocery cart I’ve ever been dealt,
plucked from the long, hangdog line
of rusted chrome servants
that queue by the door The carts are like small cages
in which we temporarily store our wants,
as if our wants can be contained
for any time at all–or sated
by what the supermarket holds We call it Lucky,
in the hope that they can be.
This cart, at my slightest touch,
broke easily from the herd,
a good omen Sometimes a recalcitrant cart
will choose to thwart your desire
by tangling with a mate
or two, or three,
a talent learned from
wire coat hangers Perhaps metal has genetic memories
of how to perform that trick–that’s why
it lasts so long, unlike delicate
This cart pulled free with such grace
that my gentlest tug sailed it
into a light pirouette I spun to catch this rubber-wheeled
Dame Margot, surprised my stocky form
could move like Nureyev I was suddenly reborn–
a master shopper finally matched
with the partner
I had long desired.
How we pas-de-deuxed
through the crowded aisles,
neatly dodging a display of Keebler’s cookies
constricting that essential artery–
breads & cookies, aisle three We zigged & we zagged
down aisles four, five & six–
gliding past gimcracks & geegaws laid to block
our path & pump up our impulses.
We made an impeccable U-turn in aisle eight–
Oh God, what a turning radius!–
around the elderly ladies who cluster
in front of paper products comparing coupons
& the deaths of friends.
And all the way I loaded this cart
with my own obsessions–
the childish satisfaction of morning oatmeal,
the sticky pleasure of peanut butter,
the guilty rush of jam For my health,
fat-free turkey, easy to slice & gobble
on the run For show, the veggies
that rot in the fridge
in their out-of-sight compartment
because I am too lazy to make the salads
I know are best for me I could tell this cart anything,
without embarrassment Load all of my weaknesses into it
& have them carried, without a bump,
a catch, or a splayed-out shimmy wheel It didn’t pull to either side; it pranced straight
like a model on a runway, with purpose,
a beautiful thing.
I don’t remember how many hours I spent
in that fluorescent fantasia,
wheeling the aisles, filling the cart I suppose the credit card bill
will also bring regret All I remember next is
the parking lot, the soft light of sunset,
that fleeting instant of golden dusk
filmmakers call “magic hour ” I unloaded
the final, crinkly, plastic sack, closed the van’s
bulging back end, & we stood together, the empty cart
& I I thought for a moment of twisting
yarn around the handle,
so I could pick it out again,
but I could sense the truth,
this was all there was between us,
this cart wanted its freedom–
the right, the obligation, to serve others,
like a courtesan, born to please, never to settle.
I reached out a trembling finger to say goodbye,
to stroke one last time its wide, plastic grip,
& that force alone propelled it back,
past the rumps of Jeeps & Range Rovers,
past the fins of Fifties classics,
down that wide, white-striped parking lot
toward the never-closed doors
of that 24-hour casino of commerce–
that place where once I was Lucky,
& set it free.
Sarah Picklesimer Wilson writes under the pen name PRINCESS White Haired Child She has been featured in e-zines across the web and particpates in several poetry forums on the internet Her hometown is Highlands, North Carolina, later moving to Franklin, North Carolina, in the Southern Appalachian Mountains When meeting the man of her dreams, she relocated to Norwood, North Carolina Sarah is a published writer with a new book becoming available May of 1998 Many of her works are listed with Amazon.com Live with passion .
The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by Sarah Picklesimer Wilson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.
Spirits of Incest
Even before I was a teenager,
I was a solitary girl In school
I would sharpen my wit, then
balance it on the edge of Lyle Knob
seesawing with a friend called insanity.
On windy nights
the snow ball bush blossom
drifted like snow At first light
I walked out and stood in it
barefoot The cold feet of a dead mind I hugged my razor
in my nightie,s pocket.
Insanity whispered the sky cracked
eggs sunny-side up swimming
cast iron in a sea, an end to begin,
going all the way son, you were
unborn from wrath teetering
delivery of one swing A soft breeze carries a peaceful day
going all the way.
Father copped his last feel
as breakfast proved healthy for me Rich, poor, drunk or sober, we have
lost touch son I remember trying to
kill your dad with a frying pan,
then, later, praying for death I was keen with love and hate,
dark days by the stoned brook,
sunlight the cutting edge of my eyes.
Now your days have begun, 21,
the child who danced
on the mountain cliffs
to some music no one else could hear
had glassy-eyes, no
perception razor sharp and no fear.
a simple desire to please
your mother who stayed distant
to watch people shuffle back and forth,
your mind wrapped in the grey area
of another ordinary day.
I’m serious There’s no sense in
killing yourself, son I am
all the more bitter for saying this
before the fact Family life is a joke, I know –
I lived with dad as my childhood sweetheart
all my young days so who’s laughing.
Majolica earths hold burnt crimson lakes of mums,
and shriveled heads drop Indian red barn colors
as my son leaves in the wrong direction and still comes
across a knot held deep within my trunk, cold muller.
Clumsy my world recovers a sense of balance that spoors hums
frostbiten by risen smoke tree,s glow in early morn left dimmer,
and madder orange whisps rise up against people duller Even as lost smells eat faded blooms, and songs long past shimmer
sanguine cheeks that smile to dance with everyone, fall now multicolor.
My son needles with frozen lawns left blunt to dance alone,
and memories saw-toothed dismiss his ice-age ways that caw
as cold bands pigeon track footprints across feelings unknown
growing into a nimbus that protects its own; the silent unwritten law.
Yes, swan-necked eyes dance with everyone that beats their drums,
and my snowbird son walks the plank of loneliness only to follow me Melting steps nod as my son leaves in the right direction and comes
when icy clouds thaw and pigeons caw and he dances under a smoke
Cacaphony spreads harmony against madder orange skies
quieting this moment as roses silently climb rare shadows of dawn,
and new songs falter across a knot held deep within my trunk and sighs My snowbird son now unfrozen is blooming, and I whisper, “Carry on “
Women who never walk their soles flat,
high flying women who dance on stars,
leaving high hopes lit up across the sky
pot belly breast women with bold strides,
pelvic thrust talking women,
fleshy hips, noisy grinning women
that let their hair down at dusk
who sow gifts that will always be reaped
women, yes those strong armed women,
men would rather lapse into death than lose,
women who never cry.
Women who never walk their soles flat,
hand clapping old crow’s feet women,
women with toothless smiles
eyeing potatoes peeling to sound
holy roller music bean snapping,
collard green cooking women
who wave wands over magic gravy,
flowing from the springs of rocky hills
flowered women who hold
men’s hearts wrapped around a pinky
women who never walk their soles flat,
mountain legends, women who never cry.
When she was born she walked like a piece
computer integrated by bird songs
video turned on
one you could stare at for more than a minute
an hour later you are still left wondering
five kids later her life,s intercourse
revealed three divorce decrees
papering the bottom side of birdie,s cage
deserted by three smucks who worked her
through depression years to support their habit
killing them to reveal her purpose
a balance of jilted life glowed from this lady
reflected by images of her home, children, flower beds,
(oh what flower beds she had)
seeping out walls she painted for herself
spread out still life pictures, lessons, grief, growing pains,
finally joy, courage, discovery,
that she was the better half
a legacy for the genealogy books
encouraged by lifelong looks.
Golden fires moan out tonight
while lonely fireflies flit
in fearful spheres
and pint-size lights
seem to pierce and prick
Waxing in irritation
left me tipsy to an earth
two-stepping age-old silence
which binded me into fandango-flings
underneath a chinaberry tree.
Queen of the meadow
lay in gentle mysticism
sculpted by a mackerel sky
as cyanine blue eyes crooned
the tainted lullaby
and sleep won over
and settled in a way
the precarious music stabbed
a secpar of my glassy sea.