Tag Archive | Poets Speak Loud

RED ALERT–a poem for the gloom-and-doom folks who think America’s never had it worse

I vowed that after the election, I’d stop writing about politics, but I’m afraid that’s a promise I’ll inevitably break. Last week I wrote this poem to read at the open mic at New World Home Cooking in Saugerties. The reading featured Therese Broderick and Alifair Skebe, both reading from their excellent new books, which I bought, since I believe authors should support other authors whenever possible. I recommend them both.

This monthly poetry event, held on third Thursdays, is organized by Leslie Gerber. He’s taking a winter’s break, but I hope the event will return soon. Meanwhile, there’s still Dan Wilcox’s Third Thursday open mic at the Social Justice Center in Albany.

Julie at Up the River launch April 2013

Reading at Poets Speak Loud at McGeary’s

If you’d like to hear me read this in person, come to Poets Speak Loud at McGeary’s next Monday night. My husband, Robb Smith, will be the feature.

The many open mics in our region provide a wonderful incentive to write new work, then come out and read it for a live audience and the instant gratification that comes from applause.

RED ALERT     

We’re on the verge of Armaggedon.

America’s on the edge ever since

Wisconsin tripped the scales to Trump in the electoral college

And plunged the country into red high-stakes alert.

Eggheads in the blue states are aghast.

Despite their computer-driven polls, their smug predictions,

They didn’t foresee this tsunami exploding

Out of the fly-over states and rustbelt cities

Of America’s heartland.

Me, I’m not surprised. I’m a Wisconsin cheesehead, after all,

McCarthy Laughing by Yale Joel

Senator Joe McCarthy (photo by Yael Joel)

Born in the state that spawned Joe McCarthy

And Jeffrey Dahmer. I remember scary grade school drills,

Sheltering beneath wooden desks with inkwells

And hinged fliptop lids, shielding our eyes

Against imagined radioactive glare

From mushroom clouds we watched in public service movies.

Fast forward to October, 1962, the Cuban missile crisis.

Fifteen days of panic. Sure we’d be blown to smithereens,

I begged my boyfriend to marry me, STAT. Day by day

We huddled by the tiny black and white TV,

Waiting for news of our annihilation. Already lovers,

We didn’t need to put a ring on it to make it real,

But marriage was the be all and end all in those cloistered years

Before the Beatles ushered in the Swinging Sixties.

Meanwhile in Flushing Meadows out in Queens,worlds-fair-1964

Robert Moses and his millionaire buddies

Were throwing up the 1964 World’s Fair atop the Corona Ash Dump

Immortalized in Fitzgerald’s Gatsby.

Crazy to plan ahead, I thought. The human race would be exterminated

Before the fair could open. And if by some miracle we survived,

I knew I’d never live past thirty.

Yet here I am at seventy-five. The human race has muddled through.

With any luck I’ll die of natural causes in a decade, two at most.

I won’t be here to witness the mass extinction

Brought on by human greed and folly.

Plagues, drought, floods, famines, and the battles that they’ll bring—

So many ways to trigger our destruction,

It boggles the mind, outstrips the imagination,

Puts the four horsemen of the Apocalypse to shame.

.

And so we meander on, blinded by our denial,four-horsemen-of-the-apocalypse

Until the media vomits up a demon.

Skin and hair of flaming orange,

Sprung from the towers of Mammon in Manhattan

To spew his venom and seduce

The denizens of the red-state heartlands into thinking

He actually gives a shit for their survival.

Everywhere I turn, everything I hear or read,

Proclaims America’s panic.

Look out! The sky is falling!

Disaster lurks at every turn inside the Beltway

Where all those monstrous politicians

Wallow in the swamp, gnashing their alligator teeth

And chomping down on liberals.

The true blue states on both our coasts

Will fall into the oceans

While the right’s red tide rolls forward,

Drowning those who dare to fight it.

But me, I’m much too old to panic.

Somehow we made it through the age of nuclear terror

And lived to tell the tale to those who care to listen.

I hope and pray our country will survive

The bloody red onslaught of the coming years,

And come out even stronger in the end.

I may wield my words in the coming struggle,

But our children and their children will have to bear

The burden of the battle.

As for me, as Phil Ochs sang before he killed himself,

I ain’t marching anymore.

phil-ochs-i-aint-marching-anymore

Great new blurbs and a poetic rant

My new author photo by Shannon DeCelle

My new author photo by Shannon DeCelle

Here’s the new back cover copy for Hope Dawns Eternal. I’m reformatting the interior to increase the size of the font and width of the margins. That results in more pages, which requires adjusting the cover as well. While it’s being tweaked, I decided to add an author photograph and some review quotes as well. Since some of my blog readers may not know what the book’s about, this will give you a good idea. I hope you’ll order it on Amazon, either in print or on Kindle.

It’s hard blowing my own horn, and I hate it when people come up with excuses for not buying my book. I wrote a poem about it which I read at “Poets Speak Loud,” the monthly open mic at McGeary’s in Albany hosted by Mary Panza. I thought of posting it on my blog but decided it was too vitriolic to float around the Internet in its entirety. But if you’re curious, below the book description, I’m including a censored version.

CAN SOAP STARS LIVE FOREVER? IF THEY’RE VAMPIRES, ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE.

“A fascinating twist on the vampire romance theme takes you on the set and behind the scenes in the world of soap operas. This well-crafted page turner was hard to put down.”

—Robb Smith, author of Granny Porn 

“Lomoe’s witty, playful and thrilling novel, like the daytime dramas it depicts, entangles its characters in a mysterious web of murder and passion. Fans of soaps and the supernatural should be captivated by this fast-paced read.”

—Alison Armstrong, author of Revenance

Jonah McQuarry is the new cop in town on the soap opera Sunlight and Shadow. Tall and slender, with dark good looks and Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]blazing blue eyes, he has millions of fans thanks to his years on Hope Dawns Eternal, so the showrunners bring him along when the QMA network cancels Hope and replaces it with Brand New You, a self-help reality show. When he meets the raven-haired beauty Abby Hastings, he suspects he knew her when the actor who plays him was a vampire on a long-defunct soap and she was his leading lady.

When the host of Brand New You turns up dead and drained of blood, Jonah becomes a prime suspect. Even worse, he begins to suspect himself. Could Mark Westgate, the actor who plays him, be suffering from dissociative identity disorder, and could Jonah truly be a vampire?

Watch for the sequel, Sunlight and Shadow, coming in 2016.

Reading at Poets Speak Loud at McGeary's

Reading at Poets Speak Loud at McGeary’s

Okay, now here’s my shadow side, coming out in an expurgated version of the poem I read at Poets Speak Loud. No words have been altered but some content has been deleted because I don’t want to identify or diss the people involved.

THE ANGRY AUTHOR

“Julie, if you mention your new book one more time,

I’m going to walk away whenever I see you coming.”

Thus spake a respected elder of our church,

In front of a dozen others. Raised an obedient girl,

I followed orders and stayed mum thereafter

^&*($* Bragging’s bad, and so is pushiness.

Just ask poor Hillary, being pilloried for strengths more seemly in a man.

My &*()%$ group’s no better. &*(#& they meet

To coffee klatch and tell each other how great their writing is,

&*()#% You think they’ll buy my book?

Maybe a couple will, if I beg and wheedle, swallow my pride

And gulp down bile and anger, all for a measly ten bucks, plus

Palpitations and dangerously spiking blood pressure.

Hand selling, they call it—I call it shit. I’d rather dirty my hands

My dog Sirius, who stars in Hope Dawns Eternal

My dog Sirius, who stars in Hope Dawns Eternal

With poop when I scoop my dog’s turds on our morning walks.

Compared to the stench of personal rejection, his shit smells sweet.

Besides, he gives me unconditional love.

Then there’s the Internet, Facebook and the fan groups

That count me as a member, showing just how low they’ll go

But bristling if I try to guide them to my blog. I know they’d love my book,

But blatant self-promotion’s frowned upon, could even get me banned.

The moderators issue dicty warnings—one more transgression,

One more step over the invisible line in the cloud,

And I’ll be forever blackballed.

And what about the friend I asked for a review, at least a measly quote.

“I’ll blurb your book,” I said, “if you blurb mine. A win-win for us both.”

She’d read it but turned me down, claimed she had nothing to say.

^&*(%#@*%^&*

And all the friends and relatives, with all their lame excuses:

“I just don’t have time to read anymore.”

“I’ve got too many books already.”

“I still haven’t read your last one.”

“I don’t like vampires.”

HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL: it’s yours for a measly ten or eleven dollars,

The same as a half-way decent glass of wine, and I could really use the money,

Though it’s beneath my dignity to admit it.

F*(% you, I want to scream. You crappy tightwad! You lousy piece of shit!

Instead I smile politely, paw through my purse for another Tum

And turn away before I trash what used to seem like friendship.

What happens to all this anger? Strangely enough, I find it energizing,

higher up the tone scale than depression,

the deadly black hole that could really do me in.

I’ll channel it into SUNLIGHT AND SHADOW,

the next in my vampire soap opera series.

Hmm, whose blood should I drain first?

Writers, can you identify with this rant? Readers, have I totally turned you off? I’d love to read your comments.

A Dialogue with my Inner Critic

Pablo Picasso

There’s nothing like a deadline to jolt my muse awake, and today I have two of them. Tonight is the fifth anniversary of Poets Speak Loud, an open mic at Tess’ Lark Tavern. After the reading, they’ll walk to nearby Washington Park to toss a beret onto the head of the Robert Burns statue in honor of the late social activist and poet Tom Nattell. I wanted to write something new for the occasion rather than recycle one of my old poems. I also need something new to submit to Oriel, the annual literary magazine for my Unitarian Universalist congregation.

I haven’t written a new poem in months, not since I became obsessed with blogging. What to do? I decided to write a dialogue with the nasty Inner Critic who continues to plague me daily. Here it is:

Golden Years (a dialogue with my inner critic)

Monday morning, and my calendar’s nearly blank.  

I’m truly blessed, free to follow my bliss wherever it leads.

            Your bliss won’t take you far, not till Social Security

            replenishes your account tomorrow.

Hey, I’m not talking big-time travel here, I’m talking feeling states.

I’ve paid my dues and earned these Golden Years.

            Golden? That’s rich – you have to scrimp and save.

            No raise this year – the benefits are frozen.

Speaking of frozen, today looks good for skiing. Maybe I’ll play hooky,

drive to Jiminy Peak. The view of the Berkshires from the top is gorgeous.

            Yeah, right, it’s skiing down that stinks. You want to break a leg?

            Besides, the wind chill’s minus ten below.

I guess you’re right – I’ll hit the Y instead, go to my Nia class,

then do the weight machines.

            Why bother? You’ve been doing that draggy routine for years –

             you’re still as fat as ever. You’ll never be as skinny as those other women.

But there’s still hope – I’m in the weight loss program, Lose to Win.

I’m journaling my diet, e-mailing the instructor everything I eat and drink.

            That’s a crock – you know you cheat and leave the bad stuff out.

            You haven’t lost a pound.

 

I’m feeling great now that I’ve done my workout, eaten my sardines

on Wasa crackers with V8 – it’s finally time to write.

            And miss your favorite soap? Give me a break!

            John is in jail, they’ve kidnapped Jessica. You’ve got to see what happens.

No, I’ll be strong and write my blog post now, then start that chapter

for my latest opus. One Life To Live can wait – I’ll catch it on SoapNet later.

            Why not give up those writing dreams for good? Nobody’s reading anymore,

            they’re all too busy with their blogs and Tweets and Facebook status updates.

Yes, it’s a grand new global world. People are visiting my blog in droves,

saying how they love my writing. Three hundred visitors some days.

            How does that translate into book sales? Hah – it doesn’t, does it?

            I’ve seen your royalty statements – they’re pathetic. Play Solitaire instead.

No, it’s addictive and it brings me down! How can I get you out of my head for good?

I know – I’ll write a poem about my golden years and all my blissful options.

            You haven’t written poetry in ages. It’ll be garbage,

            but no one will know the difference, not if you read it at an open mic.

Hey, that’s an idea! There’s one tonight – Poets Speak Loud, at Tess’s Lark Tavern.

They always clap and cheer, and say how cool I am.

            They’ve got no class, and probably they’re drunk. Oh no, I’m feeling faint.

            I think I’m going out of your head . . .

Good riddance, Doppelganger!

©2010 Julie Lomoe

I took poetic license with the ski conditions – it’s pouring rain throughout the Capital Region and the Berkshires, and Jiminy’s closed today. Last night, when I began this poem, I didn’t realize how devastating this January rain storm would be. The radio is blasting flood warnings for Stratton and Bromley in southern Vermont. I wonder if all that machine-made snow will contribute to the flooding as it flows off the mountains. What if that were a motive for murder on the slopes . . .

Oh well, back to the subject of dialogues and inner critics. This is a great technique I learned many years ago, and a wonderful way of jump starting your creativity. I’ll blog more about it on Wednesday. For now, I’m off to the Lark Tavern and Mary Panza’s wonderful open mic, Poets Speak Loud. I’m looking forward to a fabulous blue cheese bacon burger too. And no, I won’t report it in my diet log.