Category Archives: Small Press

Todd Interviews poet Neeli Cherkovski in New Orleans

Hello from the Crescent City.  In expanding my creative avenues, or just plain getting kicked out of some, I have been invited to write for an incredible magazine in New Orleans called the NOLA Defender, http://www.noladefender.com and this is the first of my efforts.  A big thank you and tip of the glass to Neeli Cherkovski for his generosity in playing along and being a top notch poet, interview and pal.  Please feel free to comment on the article, and check out nola defender, here is the link:  Good times, Todd

http://www.noladefender.com/content/speaking-neeli

SPEAKING NEELI

Poet Neeli Cherkovski Talks Bukowski, LouJon and the Classics

by Todd Cirillo


Cherkovski reads

Bukowski & Cherkovski, 1989 (Chris Felver)

Poet Neeli Cherkovski has spent time with Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Charles Bukowski. Recently, he spent some time with local writer Todd Cirillo, while visiting New Orleans.

The poet Neeli Cherkovski was in New Orleans from his home in San Francisco, for a reading at the 17 Poets series at the Gold Mine Saloon, as well as a lecture at the Historic New Orleans Collection’s new exhibit. HNOC’s installation at the Williams Research Center celebrates New Orleans’ own LouJon Press.

For the uninitiated, LouJon Press was a famous small press by Jon and Gypsy Lou Webb that operated out of their home on Rue Royal in the French Quarter in the early 1960‘s. The pair published four issues of literary history with The Outsider magazine including; Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski, among others.  The quality of the work that the Webb’s produced separated them from other mimeographed magazines of the day.

Eventually publishing Bukowski’s first two books It Catches My Heart in Its Hands and Crucifix in a Death-Hand, which Cherkovski says “are awesome productions, fine paper, beautiful print and their magazine, “The Outsider,” was exciting, filled with the “new.”  Their “Bukowski Outsider of the Year issue” of 1962 was particularly great. John and Gypsy Lou Webb of the Loujon Press were among the best of the small publishers or “little magazine” editors.  Their pioneering work on letterpress magazines and books is so inspiring, especially from this digital age.”

Throughout the weekend we discussed Cherkovski’s feelings on poetic inspiration, his friendship with Bukowski and hope for the medium.

Charles Bukowski first came to New Orleans in 1942 and then again in 1965 to write poems for “Crucifix in A Deathhand” and meet with the Webbs.  Bukowski went on to write poems, such as “Young In New Orleans”, short stories and his novel Factotum about his time in the Crescent City.

“I remembered my New Orleans days, living on two five-cent candy bars a day for weeks at a time in order to have leisure to write,” Bukowski said of his time in New Orleans. “But starvation, unfortunately, didn’t improve art. It only hindered it. A man’s soul was rooted in his stomach. A man could write much better after eating a porterhouse steak and drinking a pint of whiskey than he could ever write after eating a nickel candy bar. The myth of the starving artist was a hoax.”

Cherkovski said Bukowski, “loved New Orleans and loved the Webbs, but was uncomfortable out of Los Angeles and its familiar ground.”  Cherkovski took home the “kindness of many folks” in New Orleans with him, even if the humidity was a bit much.

Another poet introduced Cherkovski to Charles Bukowski as a poet in Los Angeles, whose chapbook, FLOWER, FIST, AND BESTIAL WAIL was out, worked at the post office and spent his free-time at the typewriter or the race track.

“When I met Neeli he was 16 and I was Bukowski,” Bukowski said.

I asked why he connected with Bukowski.

“Ah, Bukowski. He was there. He was available. And he was willing to give the time to a younger, unpublished poet. It’s that simple. We had so many wild escapades in the “grave” basin of Southern California,” including co-editing the Los Angeles zine Laugh Literary and Man the Humping Guns.

“I think he saw my potential, felt it, recognized it and we shared a sardonic view of our fellow man,” he continued. “We were both humorous and loved to gossip.”  There was an element of “You know, showmanship, trading barbs, putting down almost everyone we knew. . . it was fun.”

Cherkovski went further, saying, “In reality he was a very refined man, a middle class demon sat in his skull and he saw the world through the lens of mid-American values.  You work hard to do what you do, you make your own way.”

Though they remained close for the remainder of Bukowski’s life, Cherkovski said the friendship was strained after he wrote Bukowski’s biography.

“Well, it ruined things,” Cherkovski said. “He was always a difficult friend, and I suppose he just found it easier to push me away once the book came out.  Later, after his death, Linda Bukowski (his wife) told me, ‘You were closest to him after me.’”

Over the course of the visit we go from bars to breakfast to fast goodbyes, talking about Bonnie and Clyde, the humidity, gossip, as Cherkovski accents his talk with “oh that’s great!”, “right man” and many “wow”’s.  He is a man at once wholly engaged in the conversation and one who can detach instantly to write a poem into his notebook with an old fashioned ink pen.  As he did while we were getting a drink at Cafe Beignet.  I wonder where he goes when inspiration is not with him.

“I go to the poets, reading their work, delving into their images, swimming in the sea and ink of their words.  When I write I’m aware of being part of a vast chorus stretching back in time.”

Cherkovski is becoming one of the old masters in status and appearance. With twelve books of poetry, including: From the Canyon Outward, Elegy for Bob Kaufman and Animal; two acclaimed biographies, Bukowski: A Life and Ferlinghetti: A Biography; Whitman’s Wild Children (a collection of critical memoirs), and a PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award for his book Leaning Against Time. He has been publishing since the 1970‘s and his works are translated into many languages. He is asked to read throughout the world, and in fact he is preparing to return to Italy for a reading tour in two weeks, and his beard grown long, turned grey and unruly.  He would not be out of place wearing a toga in ancient Athens, with those he draws inspiration from. Poetry first came to him through the classics: Homer, Virgil, Dante, Poe, Rimbaud and now he gets a kick out of having “the poems of Walt (Whitman) and Emily (Dickinson) on my I-Phone; wonder of wonders”.

These days, people post anything they write online and call it poetry, I say, can anyone be a poet and if so does the poet have any responsibility to say, an audience, the world, the poem?

“Everyone has a touch of the poet, a bit of poetic blood running through their veins,” he said. “The poet has only the responsibility to be true to his or her own words, own voice but must treat their own creation kindly, a lesson I am still learning.”

I ask him, if everyone is just being true to his/her words, then what is the purpose of the poem.

“Poetry, the art and craft, is one of the ways to express oneself and is a root to some truths, or what look like truths, for those who write it.  In poetry I see all the deities, good and evil, dancing, singing, brooding, loving, hating, boasting, living in humility, all of that.”

Regarding his own poetry, Cherkovski says, “I write out of a field that Dante and Blake laid before me, a literary field that some might say is a bit highbrow.  Also, I’m a lyrical poet, so folks say, and can be obscure at times, even when I don’t want to be, I just follow the muse and am driven to archaic words and big ones, as well.”

Cherkovksi does a magnificent job at the lecture reading poems of his own and his friend Bukowski, who he imitates expertly, especially when retelling the way Bukowski would explain that his first short story was about the World War I flying ace Baron von Richthofen, which Bukowski would say in a slow Humphrey Bogart-cool drawl, the entire room laughs out loud.

Cherkovski appears genuinely grateful to everyone who speaks with him and appreciates the audience and their interest. He networks and introduces people he thinks should know each other. He will laugh when telling stories of the literary giants he has known and grow sad when telling of their passing.  They are emotions of an artist who was invited to drink in the late nights with those most of us just read about and now is assuming his rightful place at the table of American literature.  He calls poetry “a lucky charm which I have held onto for more than fifty five years, making me an old-timer.”

My last question is about the future of poetry. He says, “Of course, one hopes that an “ordinary savage” like Rimbaud will appear on the scene. That’d be nice.”

We say goodbye on Chartres Street in the late golden afternoon; he to a dinner and I to a bar with outdoor seating thinking, yes indeed, some savagery would be nice again.

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The Blues Just Ain’t the Same Without You Baby….

This one is still for you….who remains my musical junkie equal.

Who Knew

There are days

when we

will put on nothing but

Sonny Boy, The Wolf,

Mississippi John Hurt,

Muddy, Son House,

John Lee Hooker

and, of course,

Robert Johnson.

She will pick an album

then I will pick an album.

We will go through

breakfast, lunch

and dinner,

kissing in between,

laying in the grass

talking about clouds,

holding hands,

alternately putting

our heads into

each other’s lap.

In the background–

cotton fields, trains,

devils, jealous lovers

and broken hearts.

Who knew

the Blues

could make us

this happy?

–Todd Cirillo

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BUK rhymes with PUKE

Don't Try

“A poem is often something that is only necessary toward one man–the writer.  It’s often a perfect form of selfishness.  Let’s not credit ourselves too much.  Garage mechanics are more human than we are.”  –Bukowski

Happy Birthday Bukowski!  You old fuck.  It is no secret that us here at Six Ft. Swells Press wave the Bukowski flag proudly.  What can we say?  We love the old, ugly bastard, he was a good duker, as he’d say.  Those of us here, had connected with Buk separately at different times and very different places in life but when we finally found one another under the neons, we were already halfway there in friendship as soon as the first of us threw out a quote from Love is a Dog from Hell or Women.  It was immediate recognition that we were in the presence of someone true, someone who understood.   The booze has flowed freely ever since and we are all the better for it.

There have been years of laughter and lewdness, years of blood, stitches in the morning, broken parts at midnight and car titles lost at bars.  We have had marriages (one that lasted), love affairs, lost loves; loves we thought were lost but found again in the strangest places, childbirths (hell even the mighty Bukowski had a daughter), tremendous arguments and even better make ups, travels across the country and quiet evenings at home just sitting on the couch with a bottle between us.  But always a Bukowski book never far out of reach.  We always return to you Buk for good or ill.  All of your pain, wickedness, clarity, grossness, self-confidence, honesty, bravado and lust.  And why?  The Pabst Blue Ribbon tells me because you make us believe we can do it, or you cut the shit and tell us to hang it up.  Either way, we listen.  and perhaps that’s the beauty in it all.  A voice that makes us listen.  Perhaps that’s what an artist should strive for.

So, in honor of your birthday Charles, the three masted ship that is Six Ft. Swells raise a glass to you from New Orleans, Louisiana, Nevada City, California and Portland, Oregon.  Who knows, one of us may get in a fight or get laid tonight….now that’s a tribute.

Don’t Try,

Six Ft. Swells Press, memorial department

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All Writers are Equal, But Some Writers are More Equal than Others

Two greats duking it out above the bar.

Two greats duking it out above the bar.

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”  –Bukowski

Yes indeed, the true sign of a great bar.  Nailed up for your poetic inspiration.  Sit underneath these champions for about 3 hours swigging happy hour swill and tell me you don’t feel like writing a few lines on the old cocktail napkin and then rack up a couple mighty sins to end the evening.  Few people recognize the signs but luckily I am not one of them.  I see them shining neon loud and clear.  Many poets and writers have various ways and rituals to get in the mood, some more fun than others.  Personally, I believe the poetic punch is the finest way.  That haymaker which comes out of nowhere and knocks your dick in the dirt and from the floor you look up at the beautiful stars spinning around and around and the only necessary next movements are to order another round, get out your notebook and pen and put the words down that have been handed to you.

Under greatness,

Todd, Erin Rose bar, New Orleans, LA

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Last Call, California

Pirates roam.  That is fact.  And that is what is happening with me.  Time to sail and take Six Ft. Swells Press national.  Julie will hold down the home base, Matt will woo the late night waitresses in the Northwest , and I will stomp into uncharted waters.  Six Ft. Swells will continue across this land.  Please continue to support us.  Exciting times.  This is my love letter to California…see you down the road…catch ya on the flip side, xoxoxo Todd

Last Call, California

I had heard about you
from across the mountains
and over the plains
on the shores of Lake Huron.

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I listened to the songs
and stories
that filled the record players,
books, poems and minds.
Everything cool started
in California.

You had free love, drugs,
muscle cars, Hell’s Angels,
movie stars, hippies, homosexuals,
earthquakes, surfers,
illegal aliens,
trees as big as the sky,
organic food and beach boys.

When I was thirteen,
I announced to my Ma
that I was moving to California
and more important than the announcement
was that I meant it.

That golden land
was the place for me.
I believed the promise
of picking fruit right off the trees,
a land of plenty for all.

Birthday Road Trip July 18-21, 2009 057

I hitched a ride with Tom Joad
and headed West
once my boring midwestern obligations
were complete.

I arrived in your arms
and immediately
fell under your spell,
everything I had thought,
read, felt or heard was true.
Even the giant Hollywood sign
was there.

The golden west,
end of land sadness,
end of land gladness.

I was a hay seed,
fresh off the bus,
who believed the first man I met
that told me
I had something special,
could really make it here
and had pretty eyes.

I walked right up
to your front desk
where you told me
I could check in any time I like
but could never leave.

Welcome to CA sign

I entered California
for the first time
at your northern coast border
backpacking with my two
best friends
in freakishly sunny weather.

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Since that day
I have spent nights
shooting out your stars
and getting my lights
punched out
underneath them.

I have passed out
on your beaches
and puked in parking lots.
Ran up tabs
I could never pay
in country bars in the Trinity Alps
and paid $70
for a six-pack
at 4am in Los Angeles
because that’s what
the city of angels called for.

One Christmas day, I drank tallboys with bums
in Ocean Beach, San Diego,
laughed with illegals
while playing pool
and drinking Budweiser
in Downey,
chased bears in
Sequoia National Park,
met best friends everywhere,
some of which still
talk to me,

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insulted hippy kids
in Arcata
when they demanded Carey Floyd and I
give them money
to feed themselves
because they were
“just being, man”
and we suggested
if they were that hungry
they should eat their dogs.

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I hallucinated in the goddamn desert
after being lost for four days
on the suggestion of my friend
who told me I would find answers there.
Instead, I found hunger, heat
and border patrol.

Birthday Road Trip July 18-21, 2009 076

Hitchhiked your northern highways
in sunshine and rain.
I was your Jack Kerouac
and became your Neal Cassady
stealing everything you had
on our Highway 99 adventures.

Broke hearts and streetlamps
in the foothills
laughed at Elephant Seals
and Sea Lions,
watched your orange poppies
grow each spring
and camped under
your 8,000 ft Buttes
completely happy.

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Got stalked by a mountain lion
in the Ventana Wilderness
outside of Big Sur,
met Will Staple
in Nevada City,

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lived with Buddhist monks
in Tassajarra
but skipped out on
too much work
to stay,
got stoned under Mt. Shasta
and slept in a landslide
on Highway 1,

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fought and fucked
my way
north, south,
east and west
within your 900 miles.

Your Pacific waves have crashed
upon my heart
more times than
I can count
and some moments
I thought
I would drown
in your depths.

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I’ve stood in roadways
in the middle of the day
in awe of the rolling hills
around me
in every direction,
breathed in the left coast air;
cool and crisp in mornings
filled with ocean spray
and hills lined with gold,
been completely directionless
but always found my way.

Birthday Road Trip July 18-21, 2009 002

Your sense of humor
has placed me in twisted positions
like one girl
that I have been with,
sitting at one end of the bar
and another,
that I have also been with,
seated at the other end of the bar
with the only one seat left
right in the middle,
thanks.

I have fallen in love
in the shade of your Sequoias,
on the 101,
cabins in the woods,
condos in San Fransico,
canoe trips on crystal rivers,
kissed underneath your Redwoods,
hell, I even got head in Bakersfield.

Sequoia's & CSN 022

I have broke up
and broke down
everywhere from
Barstow
to Redding,
and can tell you
that both towns suck;
break ups or not.

I’ve had one night stands
that lasted three months
and one night stands
that didn’t make it through
the night.
Cheated on you in a Safeway parking lot
and been cheated on
at the Yuba river.
I swear to christ, You must have more insane
women than any other state,
but hey,
I wished they all could be
California girls,
and I got my wish,
I took them in
and slept with all of them
because that’s what
I thought you wanted me to do
and they were so beautiful,
just like you;
plus, I’m, how do you say?…
a slut.

IMG_0154

I have blacked out
from Chula Vista to Crescent City.
Written my poems
on your streets,
in the dirt,
on mountaintops
and ocean piers.
I’ve stood on your stages
and tried to give you something
extraordinary
with words and soul
as golden and eternal
as those writers
before me;
Steinbeck,
Kerouac,
Synder,
Jack London
Allen Ginsberg,
Annie Menebroker,

IMG_1557

Hunter S. Thompson,
Julie Valin,

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IMG_1341

W. S. Gainer
and of course
Bukowski.

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My black boots
stomped the same ground
as theirs.
Some nights it worked,
others it wasn’t even
a love story–
just a train wreck.

Your eternal promise
always held out
just beyond reach
but hey,
the sun always shines
here in California
so who cares.

Now, I say goodbye California
to all of your thousands
of god-awful poets
and millions of horrible poems
each longer and more spiritual
than the last.

I’m getting out,
leaving,
it is not you
but it’s not me either,
I’m pretty much the same
as when I arrived;
just years of
too many drugs,
too many deaths
and divorces,
in between
and too many bars
are closing early,
the city of lights
have dimmed.
The music doesn’t
play as loud
as I need it to.

To you I leave
multiple broken bones,
bottles, poems,
marriages,
pieces of my heart
scars
and lost loves
everywhere,
and even my best friend.

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IMG_1681

I want you to know
that everything
I ever heard about you
was true;
the beauty,
the freaks,
the love,
the surfing
and now that Last Call
has been shouted,
give me
one for the road,
but who are we kidding,
I’ll need a sixer
at least
to get out
on an early morning
while the sun
comes up over
your golden hills
and my truck rolls toward
the state line.

And on my way out
I will see many more
coming in
and I will wave
and blow them a kiss.

Maybe we are not leaving
on the best of terms but
California, I still believe in you,
you are just as beautiful
as when I met you
and more importantly,
I still love you
and hope that you
will still love me
even though it was I
who decided to leave
you
behind.

—Todd Cirillo, 5/4/13

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Inspiration

What inspires the SFS crew to sail and write…

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east 156 (2)

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This is the end….my only friend.

Well well, here we are coming upon the end of a year.  We at Six Ft. Swells Press would like to take this opportunity to offer our appreciation to all of you for making our year successful and above all, fun.  We thank those of you who supported us by buying our books, merchandise and coming to our shows, buying our drinks and falling in love with us, as we have fallen in love with you, over and over again.  We created, fondled, found love, lost love, cashed out, blacked out, wrote some good poems, wrote some shit poems, made poor choices, made choices we were sure were brilliant at the very least, wrestled with demons inside of us, wrestled with demons inside of you…that came out in the wee hours, we traveled, gave readings, found words written on cocktails napkins in the morning, taken photographs, slow danced on the side of the road and survived the apocalypse.  Any one of those in this world is a helluva an accomplishment and to think that we did it together, is as beautiful as a first kiss at sunrise.

The pirates and poets at Six Ft. Swells Press, released two stellar books amongst all this movement.  “The Coast Is Clear” by Matt Amott and “Sucker’s Paradise” by Todd Cirillo changed the direction and understanding of poetry and pushed forth the essential notion that poetry can be fun, frivolous and full of sex, love and miscommunication.  These books as well as Julie Valin’s  magnificent “The Distance Between” are available at amazon.com through the diligence of the masterminds at Six Ft. Swells Press, we keep movin on up to that big high rise in the sky.  This is a new dawn.  Ride the wave.  Fuck the establishment.  It’s a good time to be us.  We have created more than most in the poetry world and more importantly, stayed together as friends, companions and co-conspirators.  We have reestablished old poetic connections of friendships and poetic allies and kicked the masses in the ass, showing them our style of After-Hours Poetry.  This has been a good year.

Now, when it’s midnight, and the rain hits your roof and Muddy Waters sings, “I just can’t be satisfied” rolls out your speakers.  Understand where we come from and where we at Six Ft. Swells are going…we just can’t be satisfied.  Not with the state of poetry we hear out there, the relationships we are in, the jobs we do 9-5, the words we put on paper.  But we’ve got each other and we’ve got the poems we’ve written, so let’s keep trying and because of your kind encouragements we know we are on the right road.

Please continue to support Six Ft. Swells Press in the the new year, tell your friends and support us any way you can…remember, even a small ship can make big waves.

We are with you.  And when you are shipwrecked and the waves come upon your head and all seems lost…we may not throw you a life raft, but we will jump in and ask if you want to go skinny-dipping.

Bring it on,

your friends at Six Ft. Swells Press,

Matt, Julie and Todd

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Suckers, Unite!

Sucker’s Paradise. Ahhh…..

We have been raising the midnight cocktail to bring to you the long-awaited, new collection of After-Hours Poetry by the man who lives and breathes After-Hours–Todd Cirillo!

The poems in Sucker’s Paradise come hurling at you through the window, full of busted hopes and kisses to the cheek, humor and hangovers, and those tender moments that make us believe that paradise has been found…for now.

Poet Ann Menebroker calls Cirillo, “the disenfranchised poet of love,” and Bill Gainer says, “Cirillo’s poems remind us–the best bet is one we can’t afford.  In Sucker’s Paradise he bets big–always on the heart…I love this guy.”

With the release of Sucker’s Paradise, Six Ft. Swells Press continues to publish the most original and accessible poetry written today, reaffirming their commitment to make poetry fun and accessible to everyone, reaching the far corners of bowling alleys, all-night diners, and taverns.  The flags of Six Ft. Swells Press fly high indicating no quarter shall be given with this new release, and that’s just how they like it.

The book will be available October 1st on Amazon.com or at the official Six Ft. Swells Press release reading October 6th, at The Iron Door (downstairs of the Holbrooke Hotel) 212 W. Main St., Grass Valley, CA along with the rest of the Six Ft. Swells catalog.

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Stomping the Small-Town Terra

A small town Friday night in the foothills of the grand Sierra Nevada Mountains, the town is less than 12,000 the county under 100,000.  It is a very communal experience anyway you cut it.  It’s been weeks now since I’ve been out.  Shameful yes, but my body has been butchered and most nights of mine are not fit for rabid dogs.  The moon is incredibly full this evening and I take notice.  I’m one with the weirdness that this orb throws out.  Some people don’t believe in the power of a full moon and eventually they pay a heavy price.  Teenage daughters disappear, strange rhythmic drumming comes from the rivers edge and all of the servants seem happy.  Yes indeed, this is what someone means by total confidence.  But that is not me tonight, nor any of my friends.  We were simply a merry band out for a couple nightcaps and joy.  When this full moon is over, we will be sad, alone and dupes.  That my darlings is a difficult combination to rationalize in the morning.

Everything started out simply, brilliantly, conversation, drinks and laughter.  Who wouldn’t want that for there favorite son?  We played music and laughed and pointed out faults in others.  It was an easy time.  But we had to move on.  Let me state categorically now that, “moving on” in a full-moon is NEVER a good idea and any son-of-a-bitch who suggests it should be cast out into the night to be eaten by werewolves or get crack addicts as roommates, who tell you, “of course I can cover the bills”.

You always can judge the evening by the volume level of the music that is playing.  In this case we were trapped by a less than enthusiastic crowd, terrible jukebox players and fucked up hillbillies and Jersey Shore look-a-likes.  No Otis Redding, no Temptations, no Zeppelin, no AC/DC, only Creed, hip hop. and flat-out garbage.  I understand that this is a subjective statement, however, I also believe that all music lovers are created equal but some music lovers are more equal than others.  Rage and yell at me all you want but I guarantee that I can pick this best song for you to dance to your sweetheart with.  It’s just something I have always done.  I am committed to music, especially when it comes to setting the mood or creating it.  There have been moments in my life that I am not proud of when I have completely destroyed an “intimate” moment because the music that was playing was not right, thus I flipped the album, tape or changed songs.  I’m not saying I was right, I’m just saying, I only did it to enhance the experience.  I always hoped the girl would stick around to side 2.

Well, the moon is full and we have been suckered.  After roaming the bars and hearing “Sweet Home Alabama” 6 times.  We decide to move on, another bar, another round.  Finally, we find a place with beautiful women.  We begin our engagement.  Talk, laugh, buy, laugh, talk more.  There  is a live band in the basement, the lead singer, she invites us to her show personally.  We all look at her tits and say, we’ve wanted to hear some live music so we might as well stay.  Now we are at the venue and the crowd is sparse.  No big shots, no sluts, no fighters, no nothing.  Just the girl and her band, though she is gorgeous and seductive, and we are sure she wants to fuck one or two of us.  But the reality is  that I am standing at the bar and a stunning blonde begins to talk to me, shake her ass and flip her hair. We talk and laugh and move closer towards one another.  We laugh and drink and order more drinks and wonder what this whole world has meant without one another.  My friends are sitting at the table and drinking their drinks.  The band is playing their tunes and I feel good about supporting them.  A dollar goes a long way in the music industry.

When the time comes, the beautiful blonde who I have been buying drinks and engaging with asks me, “have you met my boyfriend?”, “I have not” I say.  He happens to be the bartender that has taken my  money over the last couple hours.  He smiles and shakes my hand and begins to chat me up as well.  Immediately, I understand the beauty of their roll and the commitment to each other.  I can’t fault them for it.  I can fault them for doing me this way though.  Don’t take a tender heart and throw into the gutter.  If you are going to give me a show, give me a show, if you are going to give me a refuge, give me a refuge.  Don’t half ass my salvation.  I had always thought that I was golden and separate from the ravages of commonality.  She suckered us Bubba, get used to it.  I think about this while I walk back to the table convinced that this music and bar suck and it’s time to go.  If I can stand there for hours and spend all my money in the hopes of getting a hand job from a girl, then I am mistaken.  This is the serious business that time and tide don’t wait for.  The shyster alcohol couple know this.  Serious money remember that.

The girl I spoke to tonight had NO problem, batting the eyelashes and touching the shoulder, knowing that eventually she and her boss would triumph.  Think about this my man.  They believe us to be idiot, dupes.  and we are.  If a beautiful girl encourages you to buy more drinks, winks at the bartender and tells you how handsome/beautiful you are, stay away.  Thank them, drink the free drink and look for love outside of this environment.  One more thing, if you EVER find someone who does not like Otis Redding……leave them…immediately.  This is the truth that we shall speak.

Now we should wind this bullshit up, indeed.  The night is young and I wish to fall in love….even if its 3,000 miles away.  Look for the signs, listen for the songs.  We went out in the savage Friday night and witnessed stuff we wouldn’t allow at a backyard Bar-B-Que in Arkansas.  But we also refined our guest list so that not just every fuck mook who felt left out had to attend.  In fact, this evening has set the course for big fun, soon come, but ONLY for those of us with champion spirit, true dedication and, of course, those of us who can keep a secret.

Walk your walk, talk your talk, but please speak to me when the moon is full and the fire feels good and close.

yours,

Todd Cirillo, poet, pirate, sucker

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Filed under Drinking, Poetry, Publishing, Small Press, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing

Wait for it….

Six Ft. Swells Press has been working below decks and now with the onset of Spring we are ready to surface and raise our flag to our new release–THE COAST IS CLEAR by our own Matt Amott.

Matt’s collection of poems is all about recognizing the signs, and knowing when the time is right to take action–when to pack the car and go, when to steal the girl on the barstool next to you, when to jump the train, or when to stay in on a Saturday night spinning old Blues records with a pitcher of margaritas. This book is our own compass to carry along as we traverse life’s windy roads, and Matt is the best guide we could ask for.

The Six Ft. Swells crew will be hitting the road to celebrate The Coast is Clear in Chico, California at Cafe Coda, featuring Matt Amott, Julie Valin (and her newish book, “The Distance Between”), and Todd Cirillo. FRIDAY APRIL 27th at 8:00 p.m.

SATURDAY APRIL 28th in Grass Valley is our Six Ft. Swells Book Release Party, details to come soon….

We are looking forward to celebrating with you, in true After Hours style.

Bottoms up!

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Filed under Poetry, Publishing, Small Press