Poems by the Out Loud Poets

from a poetry reading at Dignity Village

brigid whipple:

I see the war of the world
I see the war of the world
I see the war of the world

I see the war of the people
in the war of the world
I see the war in the people
I see the people in the war
I see you people in the world
I see you war in the world of the people
I see the making of war
in the people in the war
I see the world of war in the making of war
I see the war in the making that is war
I see you people in the world are war
I see us people in the world are war

I see we do not see the war
I see we do not see the war

casey kohl:


fatten the calf
unadulterated rage and I slip away
fuck you screams the confused child at the mile marker
green grass slaps me in my face
lost in a sample of infinity
glass pipes
plastic syringes
metal can
spam spam spam
my food has been preserved just for me
plastic and gas
sugar and spice
greed and envy
fake breasts and 50,000 dollar four wheeled dildos
land of the buy one get one free
wooden box of the brave

these 2 by ani difranco, were read by iris applequist:


Pavlov hits me with more bad news everytime I answer the phone
So I play, and I sing, and I just let it ring
all day when I'm at home.
A defacto choice of micro or macrocosmic melancholy, but baby,
any way you slice it I'm thinking I could just as soon use
the time alone.

Yea, the CEO's are shredding files,
and the democrins and the republicrats are
flashing their toothy smiles,
and uncle tom is posing for a photo op
with the oval office clan and
uncle sam is rigging cockfights in the promised land

And that knife you stuck in my back
is still there, it pinches a little when I
sigh and moan, and these days, I'm thinkin
I could just as soon use the time alone.

Yea, cause all the wrong people
have the power of suggestion and the
freedom of the press is meaningless if nobody
asks a question, I mean, causation by definition is
such complex compilation of factors, that to even
try to say why is to oversimplify -
but thats a far cry, isnt it dear,
from acting like you're the only one there;
unrepentantly self centered and unfair.

Enter all suckers scrambling for the scoop
exit Mr. Eyecontact who took his flirt and
flew the coop, but whatever no matter,
no fishin trips, no fishin, cause
momma's officially out of commision and
did i mention in there, did i mention
somewhere in there that i traded
babe ruth?
Yes I traded the only player that was
bigger than the game, and I cant even tell
you why, cause youd think I'm insane
And thats the truth.

And the music industry mafia is pimping
girl power, sniping off sharp shooter singles
from their styrofoam towers, and hip hop is
tied up in the back room, with a logo stuffed
in its mouth, cause...the masters tools will
never dismantle the master's house.
And I'm getting away from myself, as I
get closer and closer to home -
And the difference between you and me,
baby, is I get fucked up when Im alone.

And I must admit that today my my inner
pessimist has got the best of me.
We start out all sugared up on kool aid
and manifest destiny and we memorize all the
presidents names like little trained monkeys
and we're spit into the world so many
spinny eyed t.v. junkies incapable of unraveling
the military industrial mystery.
Preemptively pacified with history book history.

And I've been around the world now,
and I can see this about america:
The mind control is steep here, man.
The myopia is deep here.
And behold those who try to expose the reality
who really really try to realise democracy
are shot with rubber bullets and gassed
off the streets, while the global power
brokers are jept clean and discreet
behind a wall, behind a moat, and that is all
thats all she wrote.

Yes, and my heart beats an sss ooo sss cause
folks just really couldnt care care care less less less;
as long as everyday is superbowl sunday and
larger than life women in lingerie are
pouting at us from every busstop.
shelovesme shelovesmenot shelovesme shelovesmenot

And big government should not stand
between a man and his money - i mean -
whats good for business is good for the country.
Our children still take that lie like communion...
The same old line the confederacy used on the union.

Conjugate liberty into libertarian and
medicate it associate it with deregulation
and privatization - we wont even know we're
slaves on a corporate plantation.
Somebody say hallelujah, somebody say damnation
cause the profit system follows the path of
least resistance and the path of least resistance
is what makes the river crooked, makes it
serpentine. Capitalism is the devil is the
devil's wet dream. So just gimme my
Judy Garland dtugs - and lemme get back to work.
Cause the Empire State building is the
tallest building in New York. And I
always got the feeling you just liked to hear it
fall off your tongue. But I remember
my name in your mouth. And I don't
think I was done hearing it close to my ear
on a whispers way to a moan...

But pavlov hits me with more bad news everytime
I answer the phone. So I play, and I sing, and I
just let it ring. All day when I'm at home.
A defacto choice of macro or microcosmic melancholy,
but baby, any way you slice it, I'm thinking I could
just as soon use the time alone.

Coming Up

Our Father who art in a Penthouse sits in his
37th floor suite and swivels to gaze down
at the city he made me in.
He allows me to stand and solicit
graffiti until he needs the land
I stand on, and
I, in my darkened threshold, am pawing through
my pockets; the receipts, the bus schedules,
the urgent napkin poems, the matchbook phone
numbers, all of which laundering has rendered
pulpy and strange...loose change and a key...
go ahead, ask me if I care. I got the answer here
I wrote it down somewhere, I just gotta find it.

Somebody and their spray paint got too close
somebody came came on too heavy now look at me
made ugly by the drooling letters,
I was better off alone, aint that the way it is.
They dont know the first thing, but you dont know
that until they take the first swing.
My fingers are red and swollen from the
cold, I'm getting bold in my old age
So go ahead, try the door, it doesnt matter anymore.
I know the weakhearted are strongwilled, and
we are being kept alive until we're killed.
He's up there, the ice, clinking in his glass,
he sends me little pieces of paper, I dont ask
I just empty my pockets and wait...

Its not fate - its just circumstance - and
I just live phone number to phone number
dusting them against my thighs in the warmth
of my pockets, which whisper history incessantly,
asking me where were you.
I lower my eyes, wishing I could cry more
and care less, yes, its true. I was
trying to love someone again, was caught
caring, and bearing weight, but I
love this city, this state, this country
is too large, and whosevers in charge up there
had better take the elevator down, and
put more than change into our cup,
or else we
are coming

Between this Stigmata and the Stigmatism

© Patricia J. McLean 6/19/03

I am in the middle of this war
on the flat land, the pocked land
between the landmines and mine mines
between the shooters and the shot at
I have holes in my hands
where I've tried to stop the bullets.
These days the blood never dries.

Born in the USA! She cries from the back
of the bus no more than five blocks
from where the driver warned her said
You're off at the next stop
You back there, you understand me?
Unless you can be quiet.

I'll be quiet.

And then she can't help it.
she starts up again
but he leaves it go for awhile
puts her off over the bridge
near the soup line, Harbor Lights
he apologizes to the rest of us
and he should. I think he should.
Because he's offended me.

Minds slip, I want to tell him
Say something, but I am dumb founded
And my hands are tired.

who are your enemies, america?

© duane poncy, 2003

the street is quiet today
no sirens, no orange alert
no news from the occupation
who could be your enemy, america
on a day like today?
teens in the barrios
who cry america, america?
african village girls
who would die to marry pop stars?
who are your enemies, america?
(the resident says he knows)
the natives you conquered long ago
raise your flag,
just like real americans
die in your (just and unjust) wars
who are your enemies, america?
who would develop such terrible weapons
against you?
the poor line up for your hamburgers,
watch your teevee wait for some sign
who are your enemies, america?
and why do they hate you?
the homeless family on the corner?
the old woman evicted,
cutoff from her medication?
who are your enemies, america?
not the masses yearning to be free.
who are your enemies, america
and why do they hate you?
are they jealous of your freedom?
'cause they are virtual inmates
in their gated communities
surrounded day and night
by secret service rent-a-cops
chained like dogs to their corporate masters
tethered like masters to their slaves
imprisoned by their greed and station
are they jealous of your freedom?
who are your enemies, america?

vintage year (the benefits of global warming)

© duane poncy, 2003

hey, how about this weather?
nice day for a foray up the coast
better make the most of it, don't you think?
how about this weather?
good day for a cool drink picnic getaway
fine day for a drive down i-5
in your air-conditioned chevrolet
pedal to the steel, wheels to the road
endless summer days
how about this weather?

in europe the grape growers say
it's a vintage year
3000 dead of the heat in france
but the grapes, they said....
twenty-oh-three boujolais
a year to remember,
how about this weather?

say, how about this weather?
nothin' like a summer drive
to make you feel alive
sliding the mustang into gear
wind in your hair
endless summer vintage year
how about this weather?

how about this weather?
take the family to the lake
put on the sunscreen bugscreen
else the kids gonna get West Nile melanoma
for heaven's sake wash the grapes

speaking of grapes -- did I say
its a vintage year for bourgeois-lay?

how about this weather?
you could fry an egg on the sidewalk
sunnyside up
a phenonomen, I believe
once only found in mojave desert towns
but now that the california sun
has crept up to oregon who knows
could be a vintage year for hash browns
how about this weather?
how about this weather?

how about this weather?

Moses Rides Again (His Ass)

ethan allen place

Fuck You vera katz, Fuck You
mark kroeker, fuck you Portland alliance for more and better
Big Brother, I'll damn well sit
where I please, when I please.
Five words: from my cold, dead


by ethan allen place

Heidi X is pissed off
on dignity's stage and I'm rolling methodically with her, with some smooth beat-
resurrection that's slowly spreading our vile infection, our vile anti-patriotic peasantry,
we sing out our souls blood flowing with beat
beat, flowing like ants from our eyeballs, flowing like military colonization the same
neocolonial influence the same neocolonial infection that
we're fighting with antigen antipatriotic beat prescriptions for more
poetry, more poetry,
more pestilence, more rage: rage, read
it again beautiful souls whose name I've already forgotten, already forgotten to
remember, remember oh my god it's so hard to remember but oh my god it's so easy to believe the lies Dan Rather keeps telling me, ranting me from my
TV set, my
make believes-set but I don't
anymore, I don't believe, anyway,
now I'm writing my own score, my own love, my own goddess, my own planet, my own

The Constitution is For Sale

by ethan allen place

America is under fire
yet I
cannot bring myself to live patriotically.
My Birthright to this word, to
my Liberties, to my Flag,
to the Democracy and Populism that made our country great,
that made our people great;

My Birthright that still could
make our words shine bright
throughout the world, throughout
the night;
My Birthright to Martin Luther King, to Thomas Jefferson,
My Birthright to Karl Marx and Bob Dylan My,
Birthright has been bought and sold
by Lockheed-Martin, my birthright
is being auctioned off to the highest
bidder from the back steps of my
white house; my flag is being trampled and
my rights are now wiping the asses of those politicians in Washington
and all the while,
the sweet cherry blossoms fall, like bombs from the trees in our backyard
and Katie Couric's smile is disarmingly bright,
as she complements our unelected president that his
drawl is disarmingly sweet and God Damnit, God Damn
Him, Sweet Jesus help me, I simply wish
we could all just disarm.

The Patriotic Rapist

by ethan allen place

The patriots have been reading my library books,
indulging our waves of fear and suspicion;
They've been tiptoeing through my inviolate,
my castle, my church, my liberty
Your liberty

Sneaking and peeking, slipping from shadow to shadow,
sliding from one black pool of deception
to another
The masters of our universe have perverted my world,
your world
Our world

The great hand of patriotism is shuttering our sun, killing
our sons and daughters, raping
our land, raping
our history, stealing
our freedom

The Rat Bastards (Mr. President)

by ethan allen place

The spiny, motherfucking,
rat bastards
couched in their
ringingly hollow ideals
safety, security, patriotism.
Those fucking rat-false patriots come
knocking on my Librarian's door

What've the workers been reading today?
There, sniveling in anticipation, their wireless
whiskers twitching, sending the bad news
back to mother rat, big brother, the war
The hate machine

Achtung! The peasants are no longer
meek, they've stopped reading the
fundamentalist fictions, King
James is unchecked, uncovered

But two-hundred copies of Zinn are
all on request,
the line is a month long
Marx, Lenin, Tupac Shakur
all on request, and the
line is a month long

The line is a month long for healthcare
The line is a month long for food
The line is a month long
for the poor
for homecomings
for desert sands
for sanity
the line is a month long
for love

The peasants have stopped reading our lies, they've
stopped believing our promises of
lives made better by waiting
on an inheritance that
never arrives

The peasants have stopped begrudging eachother
what little they have, what little
we give them
The peasants are starting to see, starting to realize
that we would just as soon kill
them. Mr. President, I do believe we're