Wednesday, April 30, 2014


                                          ANCIENT TEXTS & RITUALS

At night sneak around to the tallest tree in the neighborhood
hang curtains on the hole for a door
nothing happens until it breaks

It seamed like picker bushes wrapped around me
they were pulling me in then I heard that noise again
it had dead birds and a dead cat in it
there was a sewing machine and bullet holes in the rusty car doors
the coal was hard on my shoes and newspapers from 1937 only worse
something was holding me back but the door was open
there were no steps to get down there only a broken window against the wall
we were sending messages over the pipe but I couldn’t get through
I was soaked and my shirt got ripped
it was near the projects there were chalk drawings
and what looked to be a ribcage

write a poem on the back of a kite
fly it as high as you can
ask a passerby to hold the string
just a minute
you have to go to the bathroom
you’ll be right back
never come back

between the space of being here but not really here
write a poem
take off your clothes and dive in without holding your breath

write a poem
across your lover’s belly with your tongue
record this poem on your answering machine

at night wander around your backyard
with your eyes closed
randomly reaching for and kissing the dark air
the words of your next poem

will spell themselves on a oui-ja board

Charles Rossiter Poem for Cloudburst

Ceremony at the 42nd Street Library

First go to the information desk
cross the hall to 320
talk to the tall black woman
in the red dress
fill out the application form
complete with personal reference
not a relative
show traceable ID
sign another form and get a card
go down the hall to 316 and
ring the buzzer.
When they let you in
show the card
sign in again and state your purpose
take a seat and adjust the light
while the attendant gets your package
sign a final form
hesitate a moment when the box arrives

Then slowly
        s  l  o  w  l  y
untie the red cotton ribbon
fold back the left flap then right
then top then bottom

there.  .  .

in the rectangle recess
framed in blue

hesitate again


take out the five 10-cent pocket notebooks
and read
Kerouac’s own penciled hand
dream fragments play scenes
and other scribbles.
Copy a line you’ve never seen.
“The moon is a piece of tea”

hold the notebooks in your hand
let it all sink in.

Charles Rossiter—First published in Chronicles of Disorder

Martin Willitts Jr Poem for Cloudburst

All pilgrimages are exploring 
from the inside (the known)
to the outside (the unknown).
All journeys begin in restlessness
and end with wondering
if the end had in fact been reached.
From out of Light into darkness, and the return
or the staying in the new discovery,
we can all be "heroes" in our own stories,
with our own adventures. The question 
of the quest is always:
What have we learned along the way?
If we have learned nothing,
than is the journey worth it?
Isn’t it amazing,
migrating animals always return to the Source?
Isn’t it more amazing,
we do not follow the Always?

Martin Willitts Jr.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


The approach to the Third CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is well underway. The Journey, Pilgrimage, Passage  has begun and the remaining questions about arrivals and wayward wanderings  are tales to be first experienced and then told. Each Pilgrim’s flag will make its way up the driveway hill and will be placed
in a gathering of colors and symbols, collective memory on a common breeze. 

Now, let me get this metaphor out of the way before I trip over it. I have been involved in small press publishing for many years and as part of that, what I am doing now with that experience is advising new people who want to start a print publication. One of the things I tell them is that most new publications die after the third issue.  The fourth issue is the most difficult one to produce. If you can get past that fourth time out, chances are you will be set-up for a nice long run (guess that means you’ll be hearing from this metaphor next year as well! I am already getting my back up thinking… “There will be a Fourth CLOUDBURST!”)

So my metaphor  for this year’s  CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is it is like the third issue of a small press magazine. The First Issue is a burst of pent up energy and ideas. Stuff that has been collecting for awhile and people who grasp the partly formulated vision pushing this urge to get the work out there.Any thoughts of the future are wildly optimistic and resources have been gathered for awhile so there is no thought of them running out. The Second Issue rides the energy of the First. Not everything saved up for it was used in the First Issue so that must be used in the Second and the beginning of recognition and feedback can start to be incorporated. Many of those in the First are also found in the Second and there are some new people. At this place probably the new people seen as fitting in with the original vision. Resources are still available and there are some cost improvements just because of knowing what is involved and how better to share the work.

The Third Issue is both a transition and a continuation. This was helpful to me for increasing my understanding of the process of organizing this year’s CLOUDBURST COUNCIL.  At the Third Issue
the original birth energy has been largely used up. What propels the work at this point is self-referential, the beginning of a life of its own. Not all the original people and pieces are still in place. Along with a sense of lost, there is interest and there must be growth (in the form of new people and people enthusiastic as participants). How strong the Third Issue is tells a lot of the future of the publication.

Coming back out of my metaphor, the upcoming Third CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is one that will bring together a grand collection of poets.  The opportunity of getting together for a third year is the chance to meet with friends, share our work and celebrate.  I look forward to discussing with poets the tides and times of the past year as well as having fun and learning a lot.

                                                             --Alan Casline