YELLOW LIGHTS                                                                                                       

The yellow lights

nestled

in place                                                                             

below.

Barred

inside

from Vincent's gaze,

barred

from Vincent's promise.

 

The yellow lights

above

are Vincent's eyes.

 

Who judges who?

 

Look at my love for you

wombed, warmed

humanity.

I would have given

much

back to you.

Along-side you, the godly spire.

How pitiless of you to stand together

taunting, haunting.

 

And you,

the spire,

look at my love

for you.

look at what I gave

to you.

But I tread on your earthly decorum,

piety

treated like vanity.

You locked the door in my wake.

 

Nor is a place of familial keep, from you for me.

 

Nor is a place of godly devotion. from you for me.

 

Nor is a place of passioned vision, from you for me.

 

But for the last, maybe one day.

 

Look at my love for you.

My swirls of hue,

my own flesh

my brush strips away,

grafted,

in slathers of color,

not color of diaphanous light

but secretions of light,

liquid blue honey,

yellows of buttery silk,

light like gelatin,

luminous mortar,

sculpted

liquid gold

melted by fiery eyes.

 

Not the colored dew of Raphael

but oily tears of color,

from him,

syphoned by mother earth.

 

So, I keep my place in my starry night.

Soon to stay,

He has a place for me.

 

The passion for God, humanity, light

banished but breathing.

Well the light, the light breaths fire.

 

My skyward eyes set in

tempestuous sockets.

forged from the fire

to outlast you all.

I R.E.M.ember Athens

From my southern small town of Hartwell, Ga., Atlanta was a beacon. If you emerged from that rather traditional southern environment with any sense of worldly curiosity, your sense of the wider world came from tv. nature shows, news, sports, and the Wonderful World of Disney. They offered glimpses of the most enchanting exotic places. If you wanted to touch the wider world in reality, your first stop would be the fast, modern metro city of Atlanta. But that was 100 miles away. A bit far for a long-haired freaky kid in a used orange Vega with a thick black stripe down the hood.

But there was a second choice. Athens was about 60 miles away. Athens, Ga in the early 80s was about to stake out a place on the map. Not because some famous crime took place there. Not because the University of Georgia is located there or because they won the national college football championship (though they would soon do that too). Not through some life-changing scientific breakthrough from the UGA agricultural department. As you likely know, they did it via music.

 

I don’t believe I was aware of the Athens music,… revolution seems too strong a word…, lets call it, a flowering, until 1984 or so. Bands like Pylon, the-B-52s, R.E.M., and Love Tractor had created a vibrant scene and sound in the small southern college town. The world knew about Athens by then. But before 1985 or so, Athens was only known to me because it had great record stores and live music clubs. But the original music scene being created there was not on my radar. To illustrate that point. in the late 70s, early 80s, groups of us Hartwell kids would drive the 60 miles to Athens for the club scene, just hoping, in the earliest days, to get in using fake ids. Inevitably some of us would get in while others, I suspect often me, waited in the parking lot. Years later, in the 90s, I ran into one of the guys who was often in those groups (or was it you James?) and he said “Remember when we saw R.E.M.?” By then I was a huge R.E.M. fan and said, “What? No I don’t. What are you talking about?” Apparently in the early 80s, R.E.M. had been one of the bands we had seen in a club. For years I’d been thinking “I gotta see R.E.M. live,” and cursed myself for having not seen them. But I had seen them and didn’t even know it. the name R.E.M. wouldn’t have meant anything to me back then.

I have to go on a bit of a tangent here. On one of those trips to Athens I was driving and the car was a hand-me-down or a loaner from my mother. Probably an Oldsmobile. On the way home at 3 in the morning, the fan belt broke. We were somewhere around Danielsville, two to three miles from my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Someone in the car said they had heard that pantyhose could be used as a temporary replacement for a fan belt. We decided to see if we could get to Grandma’s house. And there I could borrow some pantyhose. Guess that seemed like the best option at the time. The car made it to Grandmas and there in a dark carport, at 3 in the morning I rang the doorbell. My nightgowned grandma comes to the door where she hears her grandson say “Hey grandma, can I borrow a pair of pantyhose?” Too sleepy or shocked I suppose to ask why, she disapeared for a minute and reappeared with the pantyhose. It worked by the way, it got us home and I don’t remember Grandma asking about it later. She probably didn’t want to know.

Relatedly, I also once heard that somebody from Hartwell had gone to Athens to party by himself. Must have been a very hot dry summer. He got so drunk that when, on his way home, one of his tires blew out and schreaded off, he didn’t notice for a while, just kept driving. The sparks coming off the metal rim set about a quarter mile of grass next to the hyway on fire.

 

Anyway, back to Athens. As I say, I knew there were great record stores in Athens and I periodically would get in the Vega and go there just to buy records. “Pilgrimages” I called them. One store was Wuxtry (looks like it’s still there). In the late 70s and early 80s it was located in small very narrow room fronting College Avenue. There was a striking young guy with jet-black long straight hair who was often in there behind the counter. He had a presence and intensity as he sat behind that counter ignoring me. That’s a hint by the way of that record store attitude. One I got to know very well. The people who tended to work in used record stores are superior snots, and absolute snobs about music. Unless they know you, they automatically assume you are musically ignorant and not worthy of their time. Hipster eletists.  Think jack black in High Fidelity. More like they worked at an exclusive club. Customer relations were an unnecessary nucance to them. Well of course, later I realized that fellow behind the counter with the jet black hair was Peter Buck, the R.E.M. guitarist. He worked in record stores until R.E.M. became bigger. They were just a local regional band then. Regretfully, I was shy and awkward and almost never spoke to strangers. Damn, I was 5 feet away from that guy probably half a dozen times and we never spoke a word.

In 1988 I moved to Athens with my girlfriend for graduate school. R.E.M. had just broken with Green, “Stand, Shiny Happy People, etc.” and all that. At an old house north of downtown they were taking entries for an art exhibit. Lots of people were there delivering work. A buzz could be felt in the crowd when R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe showed up with a girl to deliver a drawing for the show. I didn’t get a good look at him. I just remember they said he was driving a beat up old Datson. Must have been super rich by then but drove an old Datsun. I love it! Not to worry though I would later get a good look at him. At an intersection downtown crossing the street he passed right next to me going the other direction. Then I was in Wuxtry (it was much bigger now, having moved from the small narrow room to the bigger space next to it). This was still mostly the era of lps and cassettes. Wuxtry’s cassettes were kept behind a counter. You weren’t  allowed behind there to touch the cassettes, you had to ask for help. If you were lucky, on the third try, the clerk would come sullenly over and collect the tapes you wanted. Once I was straining over the end corner of that counter trying to see the tape titles. Someone without a word blew past me knocking me in the shoulder and started grabbing tapes off the rack. It was Stipe. He got his tapes, a stack about 8 or 10 inches, took them round to the counter and sat them down where the clerk dutifully recorded what they were. He bagged and gave them back to stipe who promptly left. Not a word or any money was exchanged, I certainly got no apology for the rude bump. The clerk ignored me, but Stipe ignored me and the clerk. He was just on that higher plane of hipster, cool superiority. Seeing the clerk get ignored was the good part of the story to me. Incidentally, Fred Schnider of the b-52s was in there once. He was talking across the room (right past me of course) to the clerk about blues records. His bubble of aloof pretense must have been at the cleaners that day. I sensed a less self-conscious more open guy in Fred Schnider. Course, I didn’t say a word to him either.

Once me, my girlfriend and a friend of hers went out to the clubs. Mike Mills, R.E.M.’s bass player was standing in the first club we went to.  He was watching the band.  We ended up following him to at least two more clubs where he would do the same. He was by himself just checking out bands. He’s the one that, in a different universe, I would have chosen to approach for a chat.

Never ran into Bill Berry. I believe Bill Berry, the drummer and Mike Mills may still live in the Athens area. Buck lives in Seattle and I think Stipe in New York City. I’ve only been back once since 1990. Put that down as a big regret!

 

22


Fix twenty-two delicate rings,

with pounding from fluffy white things.

 

Draw twenty-two silly young brothers,

erasing a sketch of their mothers'.

 

Appear twenty-two parched dusty ovens,

blame it on hydrated Prussians.

 

Faint twenty-two cultured young ladies,

when touring backwaters in Hades.

 

Sneeze twenty-two times but be quiet,

lest you be causing a riot.

 

Opine twenty-two actions that pend,

for those failing to make their amends.

 

Renounce twenty-two things making sense,

by tossing them over a fence.

 

Console twenty-two unwanted balls

by kicking them down empty halls.

 

Impel twenty-two ambitious seats

to get jobs where the crowds go to eat.

 

Recite twenty-two words in this poem

that ain't worth the ink that done wrote 'em.

 

                                      -Ken Page

Things Things Think

 

A floor loves to think,

of brooms that are covered in mink.

 

A seed likes to test,

it's soil to discover the best.

 

Companies want to violate,

some regulations of state.

 

Scenes within plays do explore,                  


whether some think they're a bore.

 

Knowledge is likely to mourn,

when superstition's reborn.

 

Bikes bemoan they can't sniff,

through nostrils from which they could whiff.

 

Some nests would like to reach,

heights from which their birds could preach.

 

I think that things like to think

after they've had too few drinks.

 

-Ken Page

Type your paragraph here.

KEN PAGE

THE HOWLING MAN


 

The howling man lusts for the mayhem he sees,

commanding the faithful to get on their knees

and pray for sinners dying en masse,

sucked into hell's fiery crevasse.

 

Who is this raving self-righteous brute,

salivating holy jackboot?

Who are these people who cheer

agony, torture and fear?

From what kind of madhouse comes this,

holy perversion of bliss?

 

                                                                           

Then,

 

 

 

the howling man softens his voice,

telling the mob to rejoice.

He raises closed eyes to the sky

to whisper benediction on high.

 

So grateful for glorious love,

from a God who'd rain fire from above.

A love that inflicts mass mayhem

annihilates, butchers, condemns.

 

The howling man's fever often creates,

people too blind to see love is not hate.

 

Build a staircase of bodies, millions stacked high,

so the "chosen" can meet with their God in the sky.

 

-Ken Page

 

 


 



CRADLE CREEK

KP

 

Two creeks cradle the house of my youth.

They made good subjects for boyhood sleuths

as a boy asleep in my bed, lights out.

Cradle Creek was a sanctum, and a boy’s escape route.

 

Home vibes and southern cooks.

Breakfast, Wendy and brother Brooks.

May in Georgia, morning’s the time,

to step to the beat of a boyhood rhyme.

 

A black ribboned ridge thinks it can hold

A secret forever, but Brooks is too bold.

Within reach of a baseball’s hurl,

is a kingdom of treasures, Brooks' Lost World.

 

Now we ride on the baseball’s tail,

to enter we, the lost world's spell.

Down the bank, a snake guards the gate.

But a lifted limb’s all passage will take.

 

Cooling, the creek points straight.

A procession, a viny interlace.

Shelters it like hands and fingers.

Shafts of light, left-over sunrise, lingers

 

Creek banks ascend, tree trunks thicken.

Unworldly knotted roots suspended.

Like the bound footed Chinese ladies,

they'll soon topple like wobbling babies.

 

Two men, rather boys are there,

echoes of a time, lighter than air.

Imagination, awe, walk of whimsy,

pirates navigate a thin shallow sea.

 

Scowling the rocks for pickins and treasure,

stones, bottles and left-over pleasures.

Brooks points out places newly found,

Mama's Fern Garden, Sue's bottle mound.

 

A miss-step on a downed rotten log.

Down I go for a good ole soggin’

Wet as a dog, but not so charming.

Another snake! Not so alarming.

______

 

There very well may come a day

you pine for pleasures long gone away.

Maybe that'll be a Saturday

a Saturday in Georgia in early May.

 

Two creeks cradle the house of my youth.

They made good subjects for boyhood sleuths

as a boy asleep in my bed, lights out.

Cradle Creek was a sanctum, and a boy’s escape route.

 

 

  

Everybody Knows That Nobody Knows

 

 

The Paleolithic Era was a long time ago.

It consisted of a few years in a row.

That's pretty standard as eras go.

I don't know what happened,

but there's one thing I know,

they didn't have any damned yards to mow.

 

But nobody really knows.

 

Ancient Times likely invented rhymes.

And who knows, there might have been mimes.

Even some who committed mime-crimes.

I don't know what happened,

but there's many times

you run out of rhymes.

 

But it doesn't matter anyway, cause nobody knows.

 

In the Middle Ages there were many outrages

I think they ran out of sages,

maybe put people in cages.

I don't know what happened,

but it happened in stages,

likely started with stagnant wages.

 

But nobody really knows.

 

 

The Renaissance they say was delightfully gay.

lots of visitors wanted to stay.

They invented swordplay, or was it parfait?

I don't know what happened,

but they did a survey,

and you don't either, ok!

 

Not you, not anybody knows.

 

 

During the Baroque, people learned to smoke.

Newton did speak, he was this scientist bloke.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away", is exactly what he spoke.

Outside of that, I don't know what happened.

Some king likely choked on all the damned smoke,

and you know, somewhere a fire needed stoked.

 

But hell, nobody knows

 

The Rococo was quite a big show.

Marie Antoinette said from her window,

"Just let me eat my cake, and the people can go…"

I don't know what happened,

but revolution was sewn,

and somewhere someone moaned.

 

Whatever, I don't know, nobody knows.

 

Romanticism was like a prison,

inflation had risen,

So Walt Whitman went fishin'.

I don't know what happened,

but I think there was kissin',

and a buggy collision.

 

But damn it, nobody knows!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 19th century was a time of discovery.

Bonaparte invented the water loo,

evolution came to Darwin while at the zoo.

I don't know what happened

but I'm telling you,

things must have happened, they always do.

 

Just because nobody knows it could still be true!

 

The 20th century wasn't the best.

People ate bowls full of dust that were hard to digest.

in 1982, I got an abscess, and failed my driver's test.

I don't know what happened,

but after I take a rest,

I'll give it my best guess.

 

And hey, no one knows, it's not a contest.

 

The 21st century is still going on,

nevertheless, not much is known.

Just get on Google and leave me alone.

I don't know what's happening,

I've spent most of it prone,

staring through the ceiling at the great unknown.

 

Because everybody knows that nobody knows!

 

                                   

                                                                        -Ken Page