May 12-May 18: Matthew Niblock and Janet Bernichon

Week of May 12-May 18

Matthew Niblock and Janet Bernichon

Matthew Niblock


Matthew Niblock: cofounder The Sacred Beverage Press, editor Blue Satellite & books by the Carma Bums, Ellyn Maybe, francEyE, Nelson Gary, Scott Wannberg, more Winner Allen J Freedman Prize for Poetry Published here and there 3 spoken word audiocollage projects: The House I Live In, Water, Film School chapbooks from Dance of the Iguana Press and (forthcoming) from Laguna Poets and Valley Contemporary Poets Recently representated Beyond Baroque at the Los Angeles Poetry Festival Newer Poets shindig Sings in a band called Clear Can cook too Please call now Our operators are standing by

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Matthew Niblock and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

wicca/an evening with gregg allmann
(a true story)

since we seem to speaking of ghosts and the old religion tonight
since most of us are wrapped in black and bearded anyway
blown in by santa ana winds
faced chapped
lips full of collagen and blood
since we tend toward melodrama at the cusp and
celebrate standard time with scarves noosed loosely
I thought I’d tell you a campfire story
thought I’d ask for a kiss
thought I’d confess

I’m 17, right?
just come back from texas unrequited
(janis joplin does not love me anymore)
just come in at the downtown bus station

so pay attention
this is the confession part
visualize methuselah and the empty pocket
methuselah turns the empty pocket
at least he didn’t want me to kiss him
and I have learned to forget about these things as soon as they are finished
so no skin off my stage presence plus he’s got a car
ford mustang 1967 deep blue drops me on the doorstep at billie’s house where I meet gregg allmann on a christian holiday

gregg has a bottle
I got a guitar
not that I can actually play the guitar
we sing for sweet melissa
not for anyone we actually know

stacy celebrated 11 december days
our birthday
the festival of lights
the eves
she liked pink floyd
she liked gemini women
she liked midnight rider best of the songs we did that night

she called me ghost for my disappearances
for my balancing act
for my transparent tongue

it’s truemy tongue went sheet white one day and clear the next
I think it was from thinking about kissing her too much
notI’m surefrom the drugs
potions melted down from windshields
transistor static made over into powder and grain
151 rum

it might be that my memory is too sharp

it might be that my friend billie is still alive
she was one of gregg’s heroin connections
she was incredibly beautiful once
she had this apartment on sherman way
she had no veins
she had her eye on stacy
not that I was actually in love with either one of them

but sometimes we’d be up all nightjust tweaked
until the television test patterns begat ray charles
until ray charles begat the paperboy
edgar allen paperboy bringing on the dawn
and the allmann brothers band barely audible
full of tin
I remember it well

and since we seem to speaking of ghosts and the old religion tonight
I have to wonder how I will remember this years from now
as I have lately made the acquaintance of an unusual new coven
witches without wires in their eyes
without wens
flouresecent witches nesting in the light fixtures
infiltrating the air conditioners
cauldrons full of disinfectant and baby shampoo

they have offered to rinse my brainpan clean
of all clefs available to B3 and bottle slide
so that I will stop experiencing
this buzzing in my ears
everytime I turn on the radio

I am skeptical though anything can trigger my memory
the sweet reek of piss cutting through the ammonia in a public restroom
the salt in my lover’s kiss after I have come in her mouth
certain soundsneedles scratching at vinyl
credit cards playing at razor blades
aspirin anything
and although I have not seen stacy in over 10 years
and I have not seen billie in at least 5
I saw gregg allmann on television last night

Janet Bernichon


I am a registered nurse on Long Island and my poetry and graphics appear widely in the small press and on the web I am also a breast cancer survivor

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Janet Bernichon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

Abbie Carried An Electric Yoyo

Back in 68 when me
and Wind lived in
a stolen Tasty Cake truck
balling strangers
we wouldn’t walk
on the same side
of the street with today
Abbie said drop out
if it feels good, do it
do your thing
posters we gave up
our worldly goods for
and having not much
to begin with
bean bag chair, black light
it was no sacrifice
to go left
by way of Michigan Ave
Chicago- what were we doing
there anyway
choked by tear gas
getting our heads punched in
a peace and love
mob of dope smoking rioters
Dump the Hump
Vote Pig

Well Abbie’s gone
so’s Nixon
dead false prophets
maybe we did sell out
bourbon high
wouldn’t camp in a fully equipped rv
nothing feels good anymore
’cause nothing’s changed
maybe we were just a bunch
of flower power punks
looking for an excuse
to party
and break the law
couldn’t see the politics clearly
all that mind altering
sex, drugs, and rock and roll
kaleidoscope vision
tie-dyed blindfolds
make love, not war
oh yeah
there was a war


The 60’s, back when I was young
and immortal
and balling around
wasn’t a death sentence,
my path purled through tie-dyed
lovers, so many
so transient
so stoned
their memories are almost
It was a time
of molting moral legacies
shedding the confining skin
spreading legs for peace
and love, a warm anybody
zig zagging though the night,
any freak on the run
from one liberated
flower child with ironed hair
to another
You and I
were beautiful people,
his and hers bookends
in the bell-bottomed army
of long haired communal
wire-rimmed intellectuals
cutting flags into red
white and blue vests
and headbands Vegetarian acid head
coming together to
end the war
burn bras and draft cards
stop the bourgeois
free free speech

by turning on
eating millet and brownies
drinking herbal tea
walking barefoot through weed-
no one wore shoes
or shaved their legs
in the age of Aquarius Did you see our yellow
love beads and downers?
Mother Earth’s
earth mothers

never copped out
or bummed out
on a bad trip or
bad vibes When things got heavy
we meditated or
threw bombs
We felt groovy
in our black lighted
strobing ashram high
on the mountain
of enlightenment-
power to the people-
meaningful people, 
divining our future
with the junkman’s needle.


just another
nodded out
Southern Comfort sweet
and acrid
needing friends
to show
what it was like
to bleed
feather boa blues
queen of the Fillmore
and always holding
her face told her story
in a few deep lines
vexatious broad
held hostage
by heroin
just another
and desperate
for that
ever cheering

Mom, what was it like at Woodstock?

Strung out
stoned blind
dippy hippy
tie-dyed freaks
in large numbers
did dope and danced to loud music
and no
I wasn’t at Woodstock-

the traffic was too
heavy, man,

The 60’s Are Over

not the oldest at Woodstock 2,
but damn close
quite deafened by the din
and the proverbial sore thumb
not wearing enough

next to he and she mirror images moshing in the mud
They’re in love, I could tell
by the way they tried not to break each other’s neck

in front of a girl
wearing a 50’s B movie Marquis de Sade dress
assessorized with Nazi armband tattoos
and straddling the lap of a jock
in a football jersey-
his skin head covered by an American flag bandana

behind the 12 year old in a tee shirt
with a white on black
“Fuck You”
for no one
for everyone.

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