Rennie Solis Photography. This dude is going to do tasteful nudes of me soon. JK
New work coming soon!
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.
America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they’re all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1935 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don’re really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
a poem for Zachary Cohen
your footsteps are like echoes
a ticking clock in an empty house
hours earlier the sun has fallen
and strolling down an avenue towards
infinity you no longer care about wallets
and missed calls
questions or the unbearable need for answers
do you remember that night
when we drank whiskey in Brooklyn
and you flirted with some Puerto Rican girl
who was married with kids
I tried speaking Spanish
to her, but all I really wanted
was to black out and wrap myself
twice in that tweed coat
and so maybe it’s important to love
or be loved
to not be the same as your parents
but to maintain a certain moral turpitude
like the villagers of days yore
but I remember evenings
wine stunk in pocket park
reading poems from a memo
pad and imagining Che Guevara
was riding in my ephemeral sidecar
another night, San Francisco breezes
the ocean’s stink and seals bark
as I lay on a bench and drank straight
out of a bottle of sweet 2 dollar port
a whole poem in my blood
and negative space upholding my neck
to care is something different I think.
money is a curse of adulthood
someone should shout fuck you at the banks
I spit on the ATM and pee in garbage cans
buy leather shoes and stick them in the fire
whilst still on my feet
Driving through Nebraska at 18
all I could imagine was something that never could be
do you remember the smell of pages
the stacks of I.O.U.’s and the rivers
of filth flowing through the crescents of our moons?
Do you recall the thunder of rain on
Do you say I love you to the meanings?
in queens she was raped while all the neighbors
watched, but a recent study proved that it wasn’t
apathy, it was faith in others that allowed it to go
faith that someone else will do what you wish you might do should you do anything
I listen to music
I write novels
I make money
I am a poem
I drink because I have nothing better to do
I drink to black out
I drink to drink
Whiskey and wine remind me that America
can cushion a fall as long as you admit you’re falling
Europe will burn
and so will New York
and the world is all a cycle
nothing is new
money money money
better make sure they pull the net
I want to fall into the abyss
do you smell the rivers mush
the refineries cough
and the powerplants whirr?
On 1st avenue
it’s easy to fall in love
if you don’t try to
I walked all night
until my toes bled and my body ached
across bridges and under
highways searching for a reason
at the end of it
all I heard were footsteps
and the echoes of those footsteps
and the sound of my voice
reciting a litany of verse
from the columns of my mind
READ ALL OVER is coming to Silver Lake on February 12th. Come check out the show and spend some money on object of actual worth!
Life is an experiment.
the senses, a stack of
& laid to rest some-
-physical, waiting to
be triggered back to
in a shocking
moment. These thoughts
& impressions are
collected into the
mind and spatially
they lie in the most
spaces of the
tiny little details,
of paint peeling
the feeling of
through the cuffs of
when it’s first lit
a spider web
of a train
on of those
It’s only in aging
where we realize
the incredible predictable
and the society we live in
so to emerge from a
collector’s Deco apartment
on West End Avenue
to a freezing
New York night,
a cocaine burn in the nostrils
and trailing red lights
one remembers the simplicity of action:
dig you hands deep into the
and march persistently
towards the nearest
~ Craig A. Platt
I left the train
behind, it was snowing
and I was tired, so I didn’t
go and meet anyone at
any bar and countdown to
the new year
It’s occurred to me
more than once
that seasons are segments
of time meant to cure
it’s only natural
I was in bed when the planes hit
I was in bed when the space shuttle blew to pieces
I was in bed the day we started the invasion
I was in bed while she went into labor
I was in bed while you fell in love again
I was in bed when I was supposed to be at work
and the avenues are like
shallow canyons outside
not the bottomless
crevice of nightmares
but the shallow pools of youthful
The trains are all iron and
aluminum, silver screeching
bullets loaded with worriers
headed for different destinations
with a platform, a bad cup of
coffee and the USA Today in common
the weather meaning
a slide show in between
A soundtrack would
be nice for these types
of situations… Another
distraction from the eyeless
face that is your memory
and a cold window
against my cheek
C. Platt, 9.14.2010
Los Angeles, CA
There is a slight breeze. There are people all around. The trees sway gently, the air is growing cool in the shade, in the sun I can feel every corpuscle in my skin, the pink forming on me neck, the matted brown hair on my head hot to the touch. I am leaned over, right leg resting on top of the left, chin parallel to my chest and my eyes are moving from left to right at a solid marathoners pace. I am reading. My mouth slightly bitter from the drink I am enjoying. This is a true feeling of calm.
Recently while traveling to Italy I was reminded of something I had learned several years earlier while living in New York City. A time before text messaging, when I would sometimes leave my cellular phone at home, and just read. I would read in Union Square, in Washington Square Park, on a park bench along the Hudson River or on my lunch break while watching the boats from Battery Park. In Italy I sat in Piazzas with a cool beer and read. Dogs running wildly, little children playing in a fountain. I didn’t worry about appointments or bills or what time to be back at the office. I read. I read for hours, while the sun set and the street lights came alive.
In my early twenties there could be a storm outside or a light flurry, the red of tail lights would trail through foggy windows. I would sit and devour words. There is this strange sensation when you sit and read. The mind becomes clear, at least for me. These ideas present themselves, big ideas, things you are afraid to think about when you don’t want to be distracted. And then those ideas vanish and there’s a peace that settles. And you keep reading and then the imagination really kicks in. A city or a nature reserve can materialize in three dimensions.
I find myself transported to the world I am reading about. And I read and read and read. And when I finish the book, or it’s time to go somewhere, I feel something, what I imagine the skydiver feels after he lands and hits the bar for some conversation. An exhilaration and a clarity that I don;t normally feel. Also, a level of inspiration and understanding of the world. Or at least that’s how I perceive it.
And here’s what this really is about. Sometimes you want to have a conversation, an interaction, and the real life one’s don’t fulfill those needs. Well, sitting with a book at a cafe, in a plaza or a park, a hotel room or in bed, these are the conversations I need to have. It is sitting with like minded people, or with people I look up to. It’s an opportunity to see new parts of the world, new perspectives, experience emotions and situations I may never experience. And most importantly it puts my own life in context. Helps to sharpen my intellect and my wit and to help me write. It’s reading for me that inspires writing.
So when I talk about the importance of sitting and reading, what I mean to say is that sitting and reading is as important as breathing for me. I will never be normal, this I know. I will never be at peace. But, when I sit and read for an hour or two I feel more like myself than at any other time in my life. From the day I moved into an apartment on Calhoun Street in New Orleans and sat on the front portch swing and read Hemingway, to this weekend when I say on my lawn and tore into some Murakami. I have made my best friends in the world while sitting quietly and reading. Kerouac, Miller (Arthur and Henry), Hemingway, Ginsberg, Vonnegut, Bolano, Carver, WH Auden, William Carlos Williams, Thoreau, Joyce, Thomas Wolfe, Joseph Heller and Carson McCullers and so many more.
Reading on subways, reading in bars, reading over coffee, over whiskey, reading over rainstorms and heatwaves, snow drifts on large acreages. I love to read. And I love to sit quietly on any type of day and read, finding a gentle peace that can only wash over me at these times.