28 November 2011

book launch!

The book launch is coming to a town near (some of) you!
Wednesday December 14 at the Western New York Book Arts Center
468 Washington Street
Buffalo, NY
6:30 PM 

with readings from

(yours truly) 
Letson Williams
Mr. Patrick Riedy
Mr. Michael Koh

guitar interludes provided by 
Mr. Victor Lazar

Wines, Snacks, Conversation, Collusion.

Come one and all

20 November 2011

and then
               old fat god
made it rain

she was far too willing to accept ‘no’
      as the answer

the smart one
      the littlest one
never gave up a single
she loved language   the most

her temper was gone
      by the time the moon
turned blue
      which was about the time
she decided

      ‘it’s true’

and she never told anyone
                                          but you

((((breathe in   deep))))

she was the go-to girl
   for most of the world
freckles   and curls
   don’t know if ya heard 

ya heard

the shadow in the sky
       blocking the sunrise
the one lacking rights
   is the one that’ll die
      if you fight
and clean up
      from last night
just do it   aight


she always said it best
            she said ‘heart-strong’
   she said ‘head-long’
she said
      ‘c’mon c’mon c’mon’
and moved up front
   with the people

up close
but what does anyone
   really know   about hope
except that maybe
maybe it’s best just to leave it alone
leave it
      at home



the empathic bleeding love
for every   one
   from a place
full up
      and overflown
moving those blues around until
they get in line with the high notes
   on tenor saxophones
into a light where they can be seen
      and known

and if that really is just the way it goes
      y’ know

sam cooke sang
‘don’t fight it   feel it’

i mean feel it
not just hearing
or wearing the

listen norman
      not everything has to hurt

you scrawl it quickly
in the commuter lot
your eyes   your smile
   they’re soft
but your words
   are not
they’re hard
quick like gun shots so
go on boy
give ‘em what you got
even if you think
it’s not
      quite done
it is something
that’s not used up
   and that

is hope enough

have another one
      order up a shot
and a beer
pretend the citywide
           made it all the way to
         right   here
like it
      learned how
to take the train

            and that is precisely when old fat god
   took the time
      to explain some things

when all we really wanted him to do
      was make it rain

15 November 2011

How I learned that help could come
from the podium…

Knowing that I am not alone is a comforting feeling. 

The real danger is isolation. 

If you get to the point where you think that all the negative feelings must be carried alone, there is no better antidote than realizing that others will gladly help you carry the burden. 

The help comes in stories, personal stories, really really personal stories. These are shared with you and the open air.   Just said out loud, in front of a gathered crowd who all has little parts of themselves that don’t want to be shown for fear of truth being known, fear of remaining alone.

When the stories are heard, when those ideas find the air.  I realize that the things I have tried to keep from being known, the things that make me feel most alone, are common things. 

Things that people like Maggie Bertram and Jordan Burnham talk about every day. 

And just by the talking, just by taking that leap of help or faith they say directly to me…

Despite a roomful of eager eyes and ears, they say…

To me….

“It’s alright, you’re okay, I’ve been where you are and I know it’s every little bit of ‘so fucking hard’ but let me tell you this; it will get better.  All you have to do is let it.  All you have to do is ask someone to help you, help someone who asks you and be true to your own truth, no matter what ‘they’ say you should do.  Because ‘they’ are feeling a lot of the same things too and ‘they’ want to help, ‘they’ want to help you.  ‘They’ want to feel the same things you aspire to, ‘they’ want to know someone can be true and really mean what is said when it comes to care, ‘they’ want to know that you will be there. 

Now, ‘there’ is a bit of a tricky word, ‘I’ll be there for you’ is so often heard and so often meant (which is really the key) to a life better lived for you and for me.”

This is what I heard, this is what I felt when just two brave souls came to my school, stuck their necks out, and told their truths in such a way that it made what I had to carry a little lighter that day…

And every day since.

09 November 2011

there’s no such thing as simple songs

i’ve watched no country
seven nights in a row
    not strictly an active watch
one and a half times with ponytail
      once without breathing
but never forgetting
         how you did the leaving

boyos have the heart scars
   after every beating
to prove that
          we can move it
   that there's blood on our shoes
               to match the blood on your boots
      you couldn’t just call it off
instead you decided
         the best route was to not talk
before the light went soft
   and you gave it up
with chamomile tea
   an infidelity
            on a monday
when he’d already called in to work
that’s when he convinced you

  ‘we might as well make use of the church’

      on the run
on the coast
sailing winds
               the arrogant boast
here’s a toast
to the ones you leave behind the most

the ones who brought you to the air
      what future holdings do to fear

hot brown coffee has no care
just like you won’t hear
         the cow screaming
   and how it got there

makes you think ‘fuck the ones’
   who need to stare
who need to understand things
   or share

stay away from the kind of people
who like movies
      or music 
who get things done
so   yeah  
         that’s pretty much everyone

except the little boy
   lord fauntleroy
who took one last shot
with all his toys
headed east to wait
for daddy to die
      for the money to come
dressed you up like it’s 1981  

like declan patrick aloysious macmanus
   laid down his gun
   to spend his time
reciting schoolboy puns

ever clever down the rabbit hole
pouring concrete footings
   around your flagpole     
telling you all the truth
you choose to hold
who you are
why you’re here
      was fifteen the other f word
or was that father
      i used to burn certain suns to know that truth
but now i don’t even bother

might as well put a name on it


      but everything
including ideals
         can be labeled as wrong

there’s no such thing as simple songs