JAYWALKERS: Ducal Poems, Three
KSE #290 (poetry chapbook)
$6 ppd. in USA / $7 ppd. elsewhere
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The “Ducal Poems” series is an open-ended poetry chapbook series of works inspired by the compositions of Duke Ellington. JAYWALKERS is my third chapbook in the DUCAL POEMS series, although I have not chosen to publish the first two yet (however, CIRCLE OF FOURTHS, the first of the Ducal volumes, appears on the soon-to-be-released spoken-word poetry album WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS). They should come out within the next year.
One of the dirty little secrets of the adult world, one that most of us have to learn by experience since we tend to be a bit naive as we are developing, is that those who proclaim themselves to be an “alternative” to the mainstream or the status quo are just as flawed, just as corrupt, just as dishonest, just as vain, and just as power-hungry as those on the “inside.” They set up just as many hierarchies, they play just as many (if not more) games, and they are just as elitist, although in a different way. The irony is that they view themselves as “progressive” or “radical” and superior to the mainstream, which makes them often EVEN MORE pretentious and insufferable than their mainstream counterparts. They don’t realize (or maybe they do and hate themselves because of it) that they are in the same game, played on the same gameboard, as those in the mainstream whom they feel superior to. If you refuse to validate their game or if you refuse to fall into their hierarchy in the place they have assigned to you, they will crush you and your work as fast as they’d step on a roach. One sees this in politics, in the arts (the poetry “alternative” establishment is a perfect example), in many other areas of society. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, etc. Those who want to be in power are a mirror image of those who ARE in power. How can someone be a “kingmaker” of the underground when the underground is supposed to be opposed to the concept of kings and hierarchies….
Those who seek a “third way” are forever marginalized as JAYWALKERS.
That’s what this new six-part poem is about….and also what it embodies.
This is a poetry chapbook that walks down the street looking into the windows of cafes and bistros that it can’t afford to enter…or that it is not well-enough dressed to enter.
I began this in July but wrote most of it while on the road in Kansas, western Missouri, and Oklahoma in early August. I remember standing with Mary Anne on the sidewalk of the main drag in Lawrence, Kansas, and looking across Massachusetts St., from one side to the other, as Saturday night cruising-traffic drove by—suddenly, the image patterns for this chapbook crystallized in my brain, and finishing the work was just a matter of connecting the dots. Lawrence is a great town, by the way…..we also found William Burroughs’ old house while there, it’s a beautiful area with an interesting history (Langston Hughes lived there), and there’s a great used bookstore (The Dusty Bookshelf)…among many other things. However, this piece is NOT set in Kansas the way some of my recent pieces have been set in specific geographical areas. As in a Harold Pinter play, it’s immediate and full of real-world specifics, but given a surface universality.
It’s the same post-Blackburn, post-Berrigan open-field poetry, full of particulars to chew on like VERY chunky peanut butter, you’ve come to expect, but each piece chooses its own form, its own voice, its own speaker/persona, its own tone. It’s a piece that cries the same primal howl that the Jandeks or the Harry Partches or the Andy Milligans or the DA Levy’s of the world have cried through both their works and their example. If you are out there masked and anonymous but feeling the same thing, it’s for you.
Hand-assembled, hand-numbered, imprecisely-cut DIY edition of 39 copies. Get yours now.
$6 US / $7 elsewhere
OTHER available poetry chapbooks ($6 each, ppd. in the US, $7 elsewhere…):
KSE #287 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “The Fellowship of the Frog”
KSE #282 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Hot Combination”
KSE #276 (art-and-poetry chapbook), DAVID PAYNE & BILL SHUTE, “Blues With A Bridge”
KSE #280 (poetry and photography chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Guide Dogs and Bartenders on the Gulf Coast”
KSE #273 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Someplace on Anywhere Road” (Sound Library Series, Volume 75)
We also have an excellent catalog of NEW experimental music from cutting-edge artists from four continents, but KSE began as a poetry press, so I’ll stick to promoting poetry in this post.
As always, thank you for supporting independent, non-aligned arts collectives such as Kendra Steiner Editions…..such organizations are the tortoises that will eventually win the race.