Johnny Rocket

Spoken Word Artist

Archive for the category “Poems”

Identity Crisis…of sorts

So my poetry is having an identity crisis. It has holed itself in its room in my pen and refuses to come out. It says is has no purpose in life. That it feels useless, and stuck. It says that it realized recently that it’s just been repeating itself over and over again for a while, and feels a bit mortified. So it decided to hole itself up and not come out again until…well, neither of us really know until what, which is a problem. It recently had a teary fit, in its pen, over this. Ink splotts came flying out all over my fingers and the page as it cried over its seasonal depression that’s come on. I think, personally, that it over worked itself. We embarked, in November, on the 30 poems in 30 days adventure and I think that was a bit much for it. Towards the end, it was babbling incoherently, rocking back and forth out of the pen. The paper just did not know how to handle this, so it didn’t intervene.

We here in Rocketland have tried everything. We tried ignoring it and letting it do its thing. We tried standing outside its room singing Beatles songs like in that movie. We even tried whispering uplifting Oprah quotes into the crack in the door when we thought it was sleeping, hoping for some kind of subliminal message thing. Nothing. It’s sad, but we’re not giving up. No sir.

In other news, there’s the slight possibility that I might actually figure out the whole wordpress coding/dreamweaver/mamp (for anyone who knows this stuff) technical side of wordpress theme building, and eventually move this party over to my own little domain. I’ll keep you updated.

Happy Holidaze!!


Pablo Neruda on Poetry

Some Thoughts on Impure Poetry

Pablo Neruda

It is worth one’s while, at certain hours of the day or night, to scrutinize useful objects in repose: wheels that have rolled across long, dusty distances with their enourmous loads of crops or ore, charcoal sacks, barrels, baskets, the hafts and handles of carpenters’ tools. The contacts these objects have had with man and earth may serve as a valuable lesson to a tortured lyric poet. Worn surfaces, the wear inflicted by human hands, the sometimes tragic, always pathetic, emanations from these objects give reality a magnetism that should not be scorned.

Man’s nebulous impurity can be perceived in them: the affinity for groups, the use and obsolescence of materials, the mark of a hand or a foot,  the constancy of the human presence that permeates every surface.

This is the poetry we are seeking, corroded, as if by acid, by the labors of man’s hand, pervaded by sweat and smoke, reeking of urine and of lillies soiled by diverse professions in and outside the law.

A poetry as impure as a suit or a body, a poetry stained by food and shame, a poetry with wrinkles, observations, dreams, waking, prophecies, declaration of love and hatred, beasts, blows, idylls, manifestos, denials, doubts, affirmations, taxes.

The sacred law of the madrigal and the decrees of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing, the desire for justice and sexual desire, the sound of the ocean, nothing deliberately excluded, a plunge into unplumbed depths in an access of ungovernable love. And the poetic product will be stamped with digital doves, with the scars of teeth and ice, a poetry slightly consumed by sweat and war. Until one achieves a surface worn as smooth as a constantly played instrument, the hard softness of rubbed wood, or arrogant iron. Flowers, wheat, and water also have that special consistency, the same tactile majesty. But we must not overlook melancholy, the sentimentalism of another age, the perfect impure fruit whose marvels have been cast aside by the mania for pedantry: moonlight, the swan at dusk, “my beloved,” are, beyond question, the elemental and essential matter of poetry. He who would flee from bad taste is riding for a fall.

Poem-The Ward and the Warded

The Ward and the Warded

They are inscribing the bible on bullets
because sermons were not enough
to fill the heathen hordes with god.
They are pulling out of the rubble
people they care more about bleeding
than they do starving
because natural disasters fill the caring quota
in a way poverty just doesn’t.
And just to ensure the perpetuation of the poor
just to make sure they don’t do something silly like feed themselves
we have gone to the trouble
of sucking the seas dry of fish
because the only thing we want swimming in them
are submarines bombing their house of cards’ basement
the wame way we’ve attacked their attic.

Things are no more dire than they’ve ever been.
This is not good news.

Sometimes at night you can forget
in the dimlit play of dreams,
in the moonlit spray of leftover road rain,
that there is any kind of wanting.
The shadows cover the distances
so that all you have is a radius of light
and an upside down sea of stars-
Orion the only one fighting
and every breath enough to fill a belly.

There is nothing we can do but lift rocks.
There is nothing we can do but lift spoons.
There is nothing we can do but lift eyes from toes
where they watch street engraved stars
with the names of substitute idols
lined with all the glores and the stories we hang on them.
There is nothing we can do but reach.
The distance between our navals
and the hand trapped in the rubble
is a stratosphere.
The stars in it tell the stories the rubbled still hope to tell
and that we are so afraid to.
There is nothing we can do but stop bantering back and forth
the joke that we’ve made of ourselves,
punchlines of politics and slapstick senates,
the comedy routine turned to rut
dig deeper every time we stay put
with hands stuck at our sides
gripping the ground but never the bodies buried in it
reaching for the stars
but never for the desperate hands
the world is not a stage it is a fallen ruin
crumbled around us as we’re buried in the revel
you want to make it personal?
you want to grab the hearts
trapped in layers of pop culture pop guns
popping pills and reality TV
and the ever loving culture of Nike-
there are still people drowning from a 4 year old storm,
people still picking up the pieces of their home
there are still people swimming in from where they’d been washed aside
no turned to mermaid in an atlantic we’ve turned to myth.

And in the aftermath of the storm we’ve made of ourselves,
in the rubble of the wake of our march to progress,
no matter what you plant in your garden
it will still come out half nourished
the colors of dreams half diminished
because we’ve sucked out what’s rich from the ground.
And the half dreampt dreams hang limp on the stalks…
how much hope we have to hold onto…

And so at night these dreams walk with a limp
from escapades too fast paced for their thinned blood.
The shadows trip along themselves at dawn
tired and half drunk and ready for sleep,
wishes chasing the sun in search of mercy
tired of the rack stretching them across the day.
And so they contract and pool their recourses.
Gather in the corners
and soak up the darkest part, calm before the dawn.


© Rebeca Ibanez dePaz



[So, I’ve decided to start including in here some poems of mine. Some of these are going into either the book or the cd I’m working on, some not. Enjoy.]


He’d pour himself cautiously
into love letters silent and signed by hands tracing their words
onto the chests of otherwise blind lovelies,
watching his poems slip down slick skin, half noticed
spilt by rusted nails along the way
and now blooded
he’d pray

I am your catalyst,
beyond my battered body
an ocean.
Dive into me and reach coral,
dig into me and find stars that fish for bits of sand
to make pearl satellites
or glass moons
to fashion your new constellations.

Half a man
and half a mansion
full of unused antiques
and dusted prints
that make pictures of dances
once done
and twice buried
by burned memories.
Pull pictures out of mouths
like thread,
weave them together
to make blankets,
go to sleep wrapped in sound.

He stood alone
in the wake of all the epiphanies
everyone ever left him for,
as they judge them pretties
and more engaging than he.
The wrecks of all the ships and houses he’s tried to build
around him,
shattered and scattered by the thunderous insolence
that realizations usually took,
a bull, eh thought, that had no respect for dishware
and expected, he thought,
people to eat off of dirt floors.
He watches the shadows,
and wonders what stories are told in them,
and what was once lost there,
my broken boards will break free
patch with barnacle and algae
the sails will find their own story
and leave the shadows to their ghost writers.

I could be your fantasy,
mirrors taped onto my skin that shift with light
to life off the shadow stories
and twist around in the shallow depths
until the best of you is reflected,

what do I mean by skin?
I mean layers of stories
upon layers of song,
I mean dust coating records
that are grooves of print,
firebrand of sunrise etched on stone
that record the doings of sunsets and rises,
where I begin
and where I don’t end,
I mean oceans.

I am your catalyst,
my muscle of bone blended to your decisions,
my mouth stiched closed
with twine that once told epic humnals
on the breasts of monk robes.

Say I am your…
I could be…
heart handled wildly;
We bleed into oceans,
moored on the shores
of our own islands
rocking back and forth to break free;
this battered body…
this battered body
is meant to hold more weighted things
than empty dreams, rabid fears,
and tangled rotted seaweed stuck to the wall.

6/11/2009 © Rebeca Ibanez dePaz

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