“Acetylene Sunsets: Edward Dorn’s Recollections of Gran Apacheria” By John Macker

 

Acetylene Sunsets:

Edward Dorn’s Recollections of Gran Apacheria

By John Macker

“In the internal resistance of his thought, Dorn has been able to understand the American Indian more deeply perhaps than any recent writer, scholarly or poetic, who is not himself an Indian. In these works, as in the larger body of his writing, Dorn makes marginal figures, as they resist external authority with an indivisible spirit of self, land and history, morally central to the inner life of American Culture.”

                                                                                                         – Paul Dresman

 

I dug Ed Dorn because he wd rather
Make you his enemy
Than lie
           – Amiri Baraka

 

I first encountered Ed Dorn at a reading I did with him and Linda Hogan in Denver in the spring of 1983, at Muddy’s Coffee House in the Slightly Off Center Theatre on 15th street. I was a young, green poet and it was my first major reading with a theatre full of people, most of whom I didn’t know. I remember being anxious, pacing as I read, almost stalking the words as they came from my mouth. In contrast, Dorn was seated for his reading and read from Hello, La Jolla, or, possibly, Yellow Lola, late 1970’s works that, in contrast to the wild-crafted, rhythmic surrealism of his Gunslinger series of books, seemed arrestingly aphoristic. I knew of Ed Dorn — he was teaching at the University of Colorado — but it would be some years before I began reading all of his works and concluding, along with many others, that his was a distinctive, uncompromising and wildly original American voice and, as his friend the late Amiri Baraka described him, “Thin straight blonde Cowboy/movie looking white guy with the mind/of a saw.”

    Fact is, I didn’t appreciate him as much in those days. And that was as much due to my immaturity and insecurity as it was my inability to recognize great writing character when I was in the same room with it. He was particularly generous to my wife and I and after the reading we spent some time together talking about Denver — he was interested in it as a collection of characters in a landscape, its roots as well as its contemporaneous presence as a major metropolis. He was intrigued by its straight, cosmopolitan, newly corporate cow town development vibe verses the academic/counter-culture exoticism of post-hippie mountain town Boulder. At that time, Naropa Institute was sucking much of the literary air out of the room. Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman had conceived the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics there, and Trungpa Rimpoche’s hijinks were becoming legend. (I attended the summer poetics program in 1978, so, guilty.)

    After a brief summer teaching stint there in 1977, Dorn evidently wanted no further part of it. In fact, he eschewed the authoritarian implication of all labels and categories: definitions, belonging to a particular school or group of writers. He disdained being classified as Beat, outlaw, academic or avant-garde or belonging to any particular “movement”; as for his primary poetic education with Charles Olson and Robert Creeley at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, as Lisa Jarnot put it, “the formidable constellation of Black Mountain poetics”, it was a transformative experience that would transcend all manner of category or label. In fact, his appearance in Donald Allen’s seminal 1960 anthology of non-academic, avant-garde writing, The New American Poetry, where his work appeared with the greatest poetic minds of his generation, would be as close as he came to belonging to any group. Continue reading

“A Good Bad Day” By Tony Gloeggler

 

A GOOD BAD DAY

John walks slowly up the stairs
to my office every day. Between
four and four-thirty, after the bus
brings him home from day program
and after he uses the bathroom,
he says, “Oh, hello, Tony,” as if
he’s surprised to find me
sitting at my desk. He says
he had a good day, stands
by a chair, and after six years
of living at the residence,
his home, he still hesitates,
wonders if he needs permission
to sit down. I don’t give it,
wait until he sits on his own.
He tells me if he read or painted,
exercised or sang today and I ask
questions as if I was his mother.
Maybe he went to a park, a store,
the library. All along he wears
this pleasant, half smiling,
perfectly balanced, zen-like gaze
across his Fred Flintstone face
and I don’t know if I’m stressed
or bored, mean, or just a smart-ass
acting like we are friends;
but when he asks me about my day
sometimes I tell him the truth.

Uselessly endless meetings, piles
of paper work, asshole administrators.
Not enough sleep. Girlfriend trouble.
Yesterday, I told him that a woman
I loved is getting married on a boat
in September and I wished
I owned a torpedo. He didn’t say
anything, just sat there smiling
and I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help it
I had to ask him if he ever
had a bad day. When he said no,
none that he could remember,
I said are you sure. He said
I don’t think so and looked like
he was thinking hard. I leaned
forward, said that I felt very sad
when my father died and I wondered
how he felt when his mom and dad
passed away. John jutted out his chin,
looked beyond me and said yeah
that was a bad day. When I asked
if he missed them, he chewed
on his lips, said sometimes,
and I said I know what you mean.

 

(This poem first appeared in Rattle)

 

About Tony Gloeggler: I am a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. My work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, The Examined Life Journal, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Stirring and The NY Times. My full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015) which focused on my job and the autistic son of a former girlfriend. My next book, What Kind Of Man, will be published by NYQ Books in 2019.

 

More By Tony Gloeggler

“Crossing”

“Visitor’s Day at the Group Home”

“In the Building”

 

Image Credit: Paul Klee “Senecio” (1922) Public Domain

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?” by Ace Boggess

 

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”
                           [rehab workbook]

Couldn’t afford the cost of words.
I snorted sentences, gambled paragraphs
on Texas Hold’em—no limit.
My wallet left me in stanzas of regret.
Someone would’ve placed a lien on my house.
Someone would’ve called the cops
if I hadn’t invited them first.

I wrote, wept, raved, & spent,
chewed bad checks like after-dinner mints.

Was it the drugs that broke me, or the prose?
We never know what value to place
on what we want. I wanted
to etch my unconscious thoughts on rocks.

Did I love the pills? I loved them: little songs
I could sing to me, pay-to-play,
the tab so great I’d be muzzled
if I wasted coins on anything but wishes.

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

Image Credit: Jacob Byerly “Portrait of a Man” (1855) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“No Walls” By Larry Smith

 

15584v

 

No Walls

Where is the wall that can hold us
keep us from each other’s love?
Artifice is nothing before spirit
mind melted by heart.
Dogs bark at its corners
bay at rocks stacked high,
cement poured into would-be tombs.
Birds fly over, creatures dig under,
people reach through and around.
We paint its face, tear it down by night.
Sun, moon, and stars deny it.
O, where is the wall that can hold us,
keep us from each other’s love?

 

About the Author: Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer, and editor-publisher of Bottom Dog Press in Ohio where they feature a Working Lives and an Appalachian Writing Series. He is also the biographer of Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He lives in Huron, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie.

 

More by Larry Smith:

Wages

 

Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Piece of the Berlin Wall displayed at the Newseum museum, Arlington, Virginia” from The Library of Congress

“Down Tobacco Road, Where The Leaves Fell” By Nick Soluri

 

 

Down Tobacco Road, Where The Leaves Fell

There were plastic-wrapped blankets and the smell of ammonia,
fans on high all over the front room and scuff marks from the beds wheels,
and theyd brought her home like that, and she began to sleep again.
There was a hat, a thin blue sheet like a doily, (she had those all over
the house, different designs, she took pride in them) and her sunken eyes
were gray and tired, and that was not how she always looked at me.
She didnt talk except for a few words, a few coughs,
a few cries from the chest tube cleanings, I remember that
red liquid coming out of her and into a machine, and how I
saw a bionic thing, hardly a woman, a creature unknown to me.
The sun peaked through the window cautiously, as to not disturb,
beginning with a spot on the floor and creeping to her bed,
up her towel covered legs and onto her thin hands.
Those hands created this home, that one blanket, all the smiles
we gave to her before she got real bad, the way I still remember her.
I was always kept in the dark about things like that, we all were,
us kids werent supposed to know the inner workings of pain,
her kind of pain, a different kind that caused my mother to weep out of fear.
Her mouth was slightly open, a hand on my little shoulder,
the sun outside hit my back felt warm and comforting,
and I wanted her to feel that way too.
So I took the suns warmth from my back and let it flow through my fingers,
like beams out of my hands and onto hers, but hers were cold.

There were rows of tobacco out of the window, we sped down the road,
my mother and father, my sister, we were quiet, just sitting in the
dark listening to the hum of the wheels on the pavement, an innocuous bump or two.
The dark night was clear, clear like eyes glistening in autumnal air,
and the leaves swirled behind us, different shades of reds and yellows,
and I heard my mother begin to cry, and thats when I began too.

 

About the Author: Nick Soluri is a writer from New York.  His words have appeared in Five:2:One Magazine, Boston Accent, Ghost City Review, Selcouth Station, Occulum, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and others.  He tweets @nerkcelery

 

More by Nick Soluri:

Mementos

 

Image Credit: Charles Aubry “An Arrangement of Tobacco Leaves and Grass” (1864) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“My Nephew and I Escape from Prison” By Kevin Ridgeway

 

My Nephew and I Escape from Prison

he’s technically inclined enough
at just six years old
to operate most tools 
building things like a filthy
Frank Lloyd Wright
obsessed with the idiosyncrasies
of each claw machine
he intends to break ground with
a shovel and begin digging
his hand like one of his
beloved blue print envisioned
crayola claws until there is a hole
big enough for us both to get
to the other side where I’ll be
charged with explaining to
people that we are prisoners
of a psychological spectrum
we refuse to serve needless
time we could spend building
things, writing poems and on
parole from the menace of
social stigma we are too
distracted by our gifted
obsessions to waste time
paying attention to as
we find the miracles in
the attics of our minds,
minds no one quite has
like the two of us.

 

About the Author: Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press).  Recent work can be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Main Street Rag, The American Journal of Poetry, Big Hammer, Trailer Park Quarterly and So it Goes:  The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

 

More By Kevin Ridgeway:

Sally with the Accent

Five Hundred Channels and Nothing On

 

Image Credit: Vincent Van Gogh “Prisoners Exercising” (1890)

 

Welcome To The New As It Ought To Be Magazine

 

Starting today, As It Ought To Be has officially moved to its new name and site: As It Ought To Be Magazine. Aside from a new name, address, and an updated look, all the features of the classic AIOTB remain. Every article from the original site has been imported to the new one. There is a search bar on top where you can look for all of our posts from the past. We are in the process of building a catalog of our past articles, which you can access in the pages on the menu above. The old site will continue to exist as an archive, eventually under the address asitoughttobe.wordpress.com

We are committed to preserving the legacy of As It Ought To Be and guiding it into the future as As It Ought To Be Magazine. We have been fortunate to feature so many brilliant and talented writers and showcase original and challenging perspectives. As we progress into the future, we wish to continue to be a platform for established and emerging voices. Check out our “submit” page for more information on how you can have your work published on our site.

Thanks for your continued readership and support!

Chase Dimock
Managing Editor