Poetry from K.C. Fontaine

Explained Nation

Why would a young middle-class Artist take to the streets? I know the concept does not register with the Black professional class; hence much of my present reluctance to engage that demographic stems from the fact.

However the fact remains, also, that I chose the streets (for awhile) simply to learn. Academic learning, valued as it is, has limits; and I reached the point, within myself, where I needed to transcend (intellectually) further.

-K.C. Fontaine

Poetry from Tony Longshanks LeTigre

was it just a dream?
so many things that happen in San Francisco
were like a lucid dream, looking back
like the time i hopped the gate of a vacant Victorian
in Pacific Heights (owned by the hospital across the street
& gathering dust for two decades),
& the back stairs started falling apart
as I scrambled up them
& inside, the house was like a dusty city
on the edge of forever, & how strongly I could
sense the ghosts of the servants who once
toiled in that now cobwebbed kitchen
with its faded & ripped open wallpaper
& how strange it was to be all alone
in that eerily quiet mansion,
slowly ascending the creaky stairs at night
by the light of a candle, telling myself,
“don’t be scared — don’t be scared — there’s no one here but you”
—& anyway, did it really even happen,
or was it just a dream?

Essay from Joan Beebe

THE ADIRONDACK MONTAINS
WHEN I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL, MY MOM BOUGHT ME
MY FIRST CAR AND IT WAS A REALLY OLD ONE.  HOWEVER, I
WAS PLEASED AND EXCITED TO START MY DRIVING LESSONS.
NOT LONG AFTER THAT, IN THE SUMMER, MY FRIENDS AND I TOOK A TRIP TO THOSE
BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAINS.  WE WERE ABLE TO STAY AT A RUSTIC  LODGING RIGHT
ON A LAKE FOR ONLY $2.00 PER NIGHT PER PERSON.  OUR $30.00 OR $40.00 WOULD TAKE
US THROUGH A WEEKEND, BOTH PAYING FOR LODGING, GAS FOR THE CAR,
FOOD AND SOUVENIRS.  THE FEELING IN THOSE MOUNTAINS BROUGHT A SENSE
OF PEACEFULNESS AND HAPPINESS TO TRAVEL THROUGH ROADS WITH FORSTS OF PINES
AND OCCASIONALLY SEEING SOME WILDLIFE,  ESPECIALLY THE DEER.  WE COULD
SWIM IN THE COOL LAKE WATER BY THE LODGE OR TAKE THEIR ROWBOAT
AND PADDLE TO A SMALL ISLAND TO EXPLORE OR JUST SIT AND BECOME A PART OF
THE QUIET BEAUTY THAT SURROUNDED US.
ONE TIME, WE ALL WENT TO A SQUARE DANCE IN THE NEXT
SMALL TOWN AND WHAT FUN THAT WAS.  WE DANCED AND TWIRLED OUR WAY
INTO THE NIGHT AND DROVE BACK TO THE LODGE TIRED BUT HAPPY
ABOUT OUR EXCITING TIME WITH THOSE GOOD PEOPLE OF THE
MOUNTAINS.
IT WAS ALWAYS A SAD TIME WHEN WE HAD TO LEAVE TO DRIVE HOME.  HOWEVER,
WE KNEW THAT WE WOULD BE BACK AGAIN AND VERY THANKFUL THAT
WE COULD ENJOY THE BEAUTY, FUN AND WONDERS OF THE ADIRONDACKS.
IT ISN’T A SURPRISE THAT WHEN I MARRIED AND HAD CHILDREN, WE TOOK THEM TO
THOSE MOUNTAINS WHICH INCLUDED, NOT JUST THE SPECIAL FUN PLACES FOR CHILDREN, BUT
ALSO TO A DUDE RANCH SEVERAL TIMES WHERE THEY LEARNED TO RIDE A HORSE,
BONFIRES AND COOKOUTS, SWIMMING AND ENTERTAINMENT
IN THE EVENING.  SO MANY GREAT MEMORIES OF THOSE DAYS.  WE STILL,
OCCASIONALLY, WILL DRIVE AGAIN TO OUR PRECIOUS MOUNTAINS TO
ENJOY A BOAT RIDE ON THEIR SPARKLING LAKES, EXPLORE GIFT
SHOPS, EAT GOOD FOOD AND SLEEP BETTER AFTER A DAY IN THE
PURE AIR OF THE ADIRONDACKS.

 

Poetry from Dave Douglas

Imaginarium

My school had a lengthy class
But they were all as such.
One teacher took us places;
She did not need to say much.
Along the white line to nowhere
I stood quietly as was trained,
But black ink shot out of my pen
And my classmates complained.

In the quiet of my bedroom
I covered pages with imagination
Until I was warm with thoughts
And traveled every nation –

To mountains new to my eyes,
To ocean depths I had never been,
To temples and public houses
And faces I had never seen.

“I felt the senseless rage drain
From every pour in my body
Until the plunder of my soul
Could no longer rescue me!” …

My adrenaline soared off a cliff,
I murdered for a woman’s hand,
My ears rang from the applause,
And none of it actually happened.

“The thoughts of rest slowed,
Slowed long enough for the wind
To move from the golden hills
Until the walls of my heart thinned.” …

And, I had boxes and boxes of stories
Stacked for any willing editor.
But the flow of the process stopped,
Like a dam destroying a river.

Springs and summers passed,
Until every season felt like winter.
While I had balanced out each day,
The library was my single adventure.
Until one day, a sunrise surprised me!
It peeked over the mailbox with delight,
An acceptance shined on a story of old –
Imaginarium! And, I continue to write.

Dave Douglas