Monday, August 26, 2013

`The Royal Preparatory Blues

While living in Accra as a young boy I studied at The Royal Preparatory. We were made to wear khaki shorts and orange colored shirts.
These source of clothing were often washed with starch which gave them a rugged surface when ironed became almost thick. The building itself was leveled at about four floors with a compound. Early mornings students met before the headmaster on this compound for what seemed to be a roll call. The headmaster at the time a rotund gentleman fierce in stature would give a speech and prepare the students for the day.

As my memory serves me it was a compound filled with orange red uniforms. Some of the students never gave a care as to what was happening they were more or less laughing among themselves, picking their noses, combing their hair with afro picks or if a boy had a girl behind him she would be inspecting his hair for bugs. These bugs infested ones hair due to lack of grooming with shampoo.

On one particularly morning when my mother was driving me to scool we arrived late at the school's gate. My mother saw the headmaster whipping with a long cane bunch of students who had also come in late. She promptly turned the car around and drove me back home. As a means of chastizing students, teachers kept a cane in a bucket of water. When appropiate they would call a student to the head of the class and he or she would be whipped.

The teachers were middle age men in white shirts with tie in grey trousers. They taught lessons in mathematics and english. As a student I seemed removed from what was the circus surrounding me. My fellow classmates passing around afro picks, revealing their hard ons to the girls. The girls themselves gossiping among each other. I recall the boys were into race horses and soccer. They would often imitate jockeys at the stretch or illustrate race horces or atheletes playing soccer.

During lunch there were intramural agmes where certain teams played soccer on the compound. I was fortunate to have been a part of this several times. It was very exciting to be among other students kicking the soccer ball around. At times stuck in a corner with threee to four people struggling to gain momentum of the soccer ball.

Often there were women who arrived with food sat around the compoud selling dishes such as fried plantains and beans. Many of the students gathered on the several floors eating and watching the games. When the bell sounded there was a struggle to make it to class. Otherewise those who were late would be whipped. Students jumped over each other along the staircases, screaming and hollering, pushing each other as they went along.

I had a crush on one particular girl. I did not know her name. I do remember seeing her, a fair skinned girl with a stylish hairdo. She was thin with a strong bone structure. She was indeed beautiful. I spent certain nights at home sitting in the dark thinking about her.

It is very revealing thinking about this memory as to how I grew up to have a neurosis of beauty and aesthetics. I have a fond memory of her coming down a staircase with glorious sunlight pushing down on her, reminiscent of that very famous painting. It has never been coitus that brought a charge in me. It was always what surrounded it - the pre emptive dialogue. I have grown to be that boy in the memory where I don't value sexual intercourse as much.

It is the allure of a woman. The burning desire and sensation. As time would have it my experiense with sex and lovemaking stems from pornography, an extra marital affair and time spent in the theater.

Mother worked full time so it was impossible to pick us up from and to school. She had it arranged that we were picked up by a van known as a Neopalan bus. It was a surreal psychedelic multicolored bus with room for about forty. Along the way we picked up other students from other schools. There was a clash with some of these other students certainly to be expected.

I always remained quiet combing my hair with an afro pick, watching quietly through a window as the van passed through neighborhoods.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Among the Barbarians who walk Alone

Who is your god it is not me - my leather pants should foresee all that you are becoming speed with which I drive down empty blocks looking for girls underage

Who is your pimp it is not me – my muscular arms hook around your neck remember you choose to be loved this way listening as I read you words from diaries we keep of love

Who is your father it is not me – you call me Daddy when we make love but it is not I one who held your arm brought you to school - sat at a ringed circus watching elephants kick around beach balls –

Jewish punk at a tender age of twelve burnt platinum blonde torn skirts fishnet stockings oxblood Doc Martins white shoe laces listening to 8 Eyed Spy on dirty cassette tape –

Bedroom walls posters of Lydia Lunch – sun entering window violent powdered yellow red rays from hell –

At night you could hear wolves howl bears roam knock over garbage cans –

On television screen half hour comedies game shows kept you from dieing –

Held your attention from noise outside coming in on cover of newspaper headlines –

Afternoons when mother was polishing knives you took train in from Connecticut-

Here where boys were sophisticated carried on about becoming famous wore bloody grins best described as diabolical

Some were artists other musicians who brought girls into their apartments for show dragged in from clubs and bars

On sofas you made out to The Psychedelic Furs on a stereo some one picked up off Avenue A

If you weren’t popping pills you were smoking hash while sound of two people fucking barely made it out of a room

These were the woods – not little red riding hood who walked in on her parents naked watching cable television

Evening was decorated in pink wigs and shackles as you tried on leather bracelets and boots separating men from boys

Forty hours of no sleep seeking shelter – girls made magic not voodoo talked into night sipping cappuccino

Another band had broken big so you walked in to see – no frills Black Flag waiting on lead singer to take you home

Would he be your god - Teenage Jesus make you crawl up his thighs while he fingered your hair looked down into your eyes

So you spend the night he has his way with you – four days into five you had moved in with him

He comes home with other girls – boys in the band look you over wanting to take their turn

You lock yourself inside bathroom come morning you walk out the door with boys passed out on the floor

Do you believe in god – that dark light which separates good from evil -

Are you symbol not cross but a sign - vision born of darkness into light

What music do you make and will it carry you into arms of tomorrow –

He burns your skin with cigarette for pleasure – this is not what you call love
So you douse his kitchen with kerosene standing there afraid to set it on fire
Books numbered from one to desire hate and trust will determine your fate

Become woman make earth move breath fire into bones see into evil of night

Murder each memory – this is not a place for Catherines from Montauk
Even Jersey girls walk a straight line after hours afraid to look behind them
Among these suburban queens you stand – there is no home for you here
How then can you pass for femme fatale – hung over like blue pill crushed

Wise as thieves on street corner after hours dismembering you with eyes
Rock and roll flesh tattered tee shirt plaid pants – whatever happened to love
Whatever happened to love – sitting beside Johnny with makeshift camp fire
Wrapped around each other he picks up guitar strums while singing a song
He dedicates it to you something true something blue roses in your hair

Not there that’s not where they went these boys who came along mocking
Pushing you this way and that – Jerry beat a bass drum la dee dumb dumb
Smashed guitar tore its strings broke it like wood- damaged it cause he could

All bruised and purple on a bed you resurrected to dance a dance of death
Circling the room your body like marionette turning feeling aches and pains
Arms in the air looking up looking down arms to the side left and then right
You quiver and moan chant and groan one leg up in the air another down

On your face is beauty known to survivors – wear their pain like silk gowns

There is no god – you can mold with fist any man send the cadavers home

Teach a girl to prey all on her own – among the barbarians who walk alone

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clockwork Edie

Clockwork Edie

Walking floors of Lower East Side gallery I’m not phony not some one you wanna pick a bone with –

I’m here on luck of a dime – hippie chick got me information – she had been photographed by legend

Black and white posted down the hall right side of a wall – didn’t have it in me to pay attention but I noticed how beautiful she looked - crazy, calm and twisted

Never gave a fuck about gallery openings – if it was literati I wanted I would have been born into Warhol’s factory

White lights swallow me suck all energy out my body – but this is the plan to drink, mingle and pretend

Tom Waits had a name for people like this – he called them rain dogs – at least that’s what I thought he meant walking a dog in the rain muttered and bitter bringing it home smelling of mud

So I wait under these screaming lights popping every vein within me – looking over at works of art thinking this is East Village art – not Man Rays on West 57th Street

People here carry with them weight – it’s all in what they wear from smiles on their faces they carry with them weight – it wears on me

As if I can’t contain any of this - the outside world inside – watching as they go by always laughing drink in hand looking like paintings on the wall

So I stand in front of photograph one with the girl I know – memories of our time spent come back to me – it circles fills the room

I draw attention of blonde woman – she knows the photographer – we fall into conversation – somehow she fits in with the crowd

Our discussion drives us from one work of art to another talking – behind us is man I later learn is her husband

I come from Buddha – fell in lust with married Buddhist woman looking to rid herself of her husband

Got so bad she and I would be making love – I heard apartment door open and close his footsteps making it to his room

Following morning I’d get a blow from her while he was chanting in living room – I come from Buddha

If this is karma it followed me around – I fell into love triangles husbands and wives girlfriends and boyfriends even lovers

If love would have it I became friend to this blonde woman –when her husband was away at work I came over for coffee

He trusted me – something from my past told me all along I was made for women – I sat with mother while daddy got jealous

She slept with him – not me – you could say I warmed her up – a guy once told me talking to him was like making love

Call it domestic housewife mother making art – her studio was space corner of apartment in building Allen Gingsberg once lived

If love would have it she would always make me feel at home – up that winding hall were canvases and paintings - light so dim brought me in

Heart so warm and beautiful mother to me I thought – how she spent time cooking for me while we sat drinking coffee smoking cigarettes

Don’t fuck with Brooklyn – you couldn’t – raised two kids on her own made a living hustling – call me art pimp and I’ll sell you an art bimbo

Clockwork Edie that blonde hair up in a curl – but who could step to this –

It was done this way – back in the 50’s it was done this way – we had Marilyn Monroe - we had Jackson Pollack

Damn if ever I call you Jackson but my dear you are Marilyn - you are Pollack – whatever knives you keep in your garden

History has a place for you – walk undaunted into the futures rummaged with their virtual sons and daughters

Make music of your heart’s spirals and colors pastel orange blue imagination

Skin of skin mold me – piece of wood you cut into – damaged I arrive at doorstep another fresh Monday morning

What secrets do we keep – tall tales about driving blind on sunny afternoons into a world greater than ours

You discovered Italy – Georgia O’Keefe in New Mexico – You belong –

Away from the Westside where wind blows hair from your dark glasses oh Clockwork Edie –

Turn back time – walk the gang in with tank tops blades in your pockets –

Hold your own where boys made noise – you have been winning this war

Shelves of books wisdom and poetry – we break bread each time we meet

How do we make peace with the young banging at our doors – nearly lost a life I depended on you

Should I hold your hand – you have a world you know – but how I miss you now longing to sit becoming ourselves

Where do we keep this longing – it would only be as if time stood still - we had aged among rocks – papers - scissors

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Parskside Lounge 8/4/13

Saturday, August 03, 2013




    David Greenspan is the editor and publisher of Butcher Shop Press. He’s a teacher, poet, musician and painter and does a mean cha cha or something like that.

    Kofi Fosu Forson sees into the future a step at a time, is quick with an improvised song, would like to call himself Black Johnny Cash but is certain that wouldn't sit well. So he writes his poetry, reads women like paintings and short stories, hoping to one day visit Berlin.

    Parkside Lounge: 317 Houston Street (at the corner of Attorney)

    Between Avenue B and C

    Sundays: 4 - 6pm
317 East HoustonNew York, New York 10002