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Todd Cirillo book release reading 3/29-New Orleans

On Wednesday March 29th at 8pm at BJ’s Lounge in the Bywater 4301 Burgundy St. for the Blood Jet Poetry Series, Todd will be celebrating the release of his new book of poems Burning the Evidence published by Epic Rites Press with a reading along with poet Clare Welsh. Come on down, there will be strong drinks, cheap books for sale (only $10), great jukebox, slanted pool table, corner bar beauty and fun.IMG_8818

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Midnight Lane Boutique features Todd Cirillo

The incomparable Midnight Lane Boutique features Todd Cirillo and publishes three new poems. Click the link below and you can also order Todd’s new book Burning the Evidence (Epic Rites Press 2017) at the end of the article.

https://midnightlanegalleryii.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/feature-poet-todd-cirillo/

Feature Poet: Todd Cirillo

Todd Cirillo is co-founder and editor of Six Ft. Swells Press. His poems have appeared in numerous national and international literary journals, magazines and cocktail napkins everywhere. His books include ROXY (R.L. Crow Publications, 2003), Everybody Knows the Dice are Loaded (Rattlesnake Press, 2006), This Troubled Heart(Lummox Press, 2010), Sucker’s Paradise (Six Ft. Swells Press, 2012), and Sexy Devils (Epic Rites Press, 2016), among others. Todd lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, and can be found at afterhourspoetry.com or epicrites.org.

*

In Complete Agreement

She stood me up
on a Sunday.
On Monday
she sent me a text
saying she
ended up getting drunk
with an old boyfriend
but she was sorry
and it would never
happen again.

I looked at my phone
in complete agreement
with her
as I
hit
delete.

*

Nothing Wasted

I am using the last
of your shampoo.
I spent the .84 cents
left on the desk
where there once stood
a vase with yellow flowers.
I am playing
the Pink Floyd album
you forgot.
I gave the leftover
pack of cigarettes
to the first
homeless person
I saw.

Instead of throwing
it all away
I thought,
why waste it.

There has been enough
of that already.

*

Premonition

Everyone was dancing—
except you.
It was supposed
to be a good time.
You and I
and a thousand
other lovers
under the moon,
listening
to the Rebirth Brass Band
sing from the stage,
“I used to love her
but it’s all over now.”

I went and ordered
two more beers,
thinking
that might loosen
the evening.
You did not want another.
“Two for me then,”
I thought out loud,
and smiling
up at the white moon
felt the breeze
come off the river
and watched the girls’ dresses
rise as they twirled.

I continued to dance
and make friends
with those around us,
our space on the lawn
getting smaller and smaller.
You had no idea
what was coming,

but I sure did.

*

All Hail! Todd Cirillo’s latest collection, Burning the Evidence (2017), is available via Epic Rites Press.* Please, click on the cover image below to learn more . . .

Cirillo Cover

*Cover photo by Matt Amott; cover design by Julie Valin.

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Amazing Screaming with Brevity review of Todd Cirillo’s new book

Looking for new poetry to read? Not really into poetry? Check out this review written by Matthew J. Hall of Screaming with Brevity of Burning with Brevity by Todd Cirillo and find a book that will make you love poetry or renew your faith in it!

http://www.screamingwithbrevity.com/review-burning-evidence-todd-cirillo/

Order copies at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Burning-Evidence-Todd-Cirillo/dp/1926860586/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484887624&sr=8-1&keywords=todd+cirillo

A Review: Burning the Evidence by Todd Cirillo

Todd Cirillo’s Burning the Evidence, published by Epic Rites Press, is one of those rare collections where the poetry begins before the first page is turned. The front cover’s photograph captures a darkened place, illuminated by a woman holding an un-capped and ignited Zippo. The flame only provides the slightest impression of this mysterious woman’s right breast, a partial yet clear right bicep in a short-sleeved and striped garment and three fingers holding the lighter, the index fingernail is varnished, electric pink. Had I not been given a review copy of this book I would have purchased it on the strength of its cover design alone. And I would have been right to do so. Much like the woman of mystery, the poems she represents are stripped of the details that rightly belong to the reader. Cirillo’s Zippo woman becomes my Zippo woman as I unintentionally begin to complete her features and personality. Like any meaningful relationship, the one between writer and reader is burdened by obstacle and compromise. The following poems are clearly the work of a well-practiced writer who has learnt how to massage his reader’s agenda into submission, making clear the path for his own. He is a poet who understands the intimate and somewhat tenuous bond between writer and reader; an author who not only recognises, but utilises, the wide range of memory, emotion and opinion a reader brings to a book.

In place of the back cover’s usual blurb and praise, there is a well-chosen poem from the book, which represents the overriding theme and the pared down style of the poems within.

Today’s Forecast
The day began –
it was sunny and warm,
blue sky and barbecues blazing.
Then the wind, rain and darkness fell.
Hail shattered windshields
leaving glass thrown
up and down the street,
pieces of trees were everywhere.

I stood and looked down the block –
it reminded me
of every great relationship
I’ve ever had.
(Today’s Forecast, quoted in full, from the back cover and p 58)

I audibly groan when I think back to all the time I wasted during my early literary efforts, reading all those bloody articles on various “writing” blogs, pertaining to good writing. Almost without exception, all of those articles lamented on the woes of writing about writing; a contradiction in terms by very definition and one that, thankfully, Cirillo defies as he writes about writing poetry, reading poetry, day-to-day poetry and indeed, the poetry that comes along once in a lifetime.

In the poem, I Fell In Love With A Poet, our narrator – as the title suggests – recalls his dalliance with a fellow poet.

…her words are so good
that I will end up
stealing them one day.
Not whole poems,
but a word or two,
a line she says
when we wake up
in the hungover morning
or as she reaches over me
for a cocktail napkin,
pen in one hand,
burning cigarette
in the other
without spilling her drink,
the coolest person
in the place.
(from I Fell In Love With a Poet, p 14)

A truly terrible combination; two poets together, an unholy union of hellish personality traits resulting in this beautiful poem which brings to mind words from T. S. Eliot, immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.

Cirillo’s women are, without exception, femme fatales. They drink, smoke, tend bar, hook up with weird and destructive types and on occasion, shoot a .357 Magnum with deadly precision.

Pretty Smile
It’s a strange moment
when the bartender
smiles at me
from the other end
of the bar.

I never know
if it’s because
she wants my money
or my number,
or because
she knows
she can get both.
(Pretty Smile, p 20)

True to the mystery of the front cover’s woman, this woman’s only definite is a pretty smile, allowing me, the reader, to fulfil my part of the deal by the completion of her particulars; she is a few inches proud of five foot, brunette, has a mischievous glint in her brown eyes and, like God, is capable of giving and taking away.

You would be misinformed if I were to describe this book as a collection of bar poems, but wherever you are in terms of page number, you are never too far away from one of Cirillo’s bars. They are the type of bars that no longer exist in my part of the world; visiting them in Burning the Evidence has been a wonderfully nostalgic affair. They are the taverns, pubs and bars that the heartless, money-hungry fucks have driven out of business. They are now in the hands of the greedy whose only concern is a profit margin. These are smoke free and classless. They are dressed up as family joints, which means that every time you leave your bar stool for a cigarette in the rain, you trip over a jittery seven-year old who’s running around, wired on processed junk and sugary drinks. They don’t even have a fucking jukebox!

Cirillo’s bars are where men and women go to smoke and drink in the company of like-minded people, and the bartender knows how to pour a drink and talk, or pour a drink and not talk, depending on the order of the day.

“Do you have a drink menu?”
she giggles to the bartender.
“No” the bartender responds.
“You don’t HAVE a drink menu?”
“No honey, we make it up as we go along.”
(from Shot and a Beer Joint, p 25)

While alcohol and romance are staples within this work, there is far more to this book than idle drinking and gratuitous sex.

She asked me,
“What do you write about?”
In a moment of total honesty,
I told her,
“Booze, broken hearts and blowjobs.”
(from Cash Ain’t Always King, p 56)

There are more broken hearts than blowjobs in this collection and while booze is a constant, it is never the sole focal point. In the poem, The Only Sound Tonight, the poet pays tribute to loneliness, acknowledges its sovereignty, its power to come and go, dominating as it pleases. In, Don’t Forget, friendship is Todd Cirillo, Burning the Evidencecelebrated; real friendship, of the type where knowing that you are sharing time and space, breathing in the same air as a particular person is compensation enough for all the dreary days gone and those yet to come. The poem, Who Knew, is as much a tribute to the ubiquitous she, as it is to the blues and its ability to heal. In the title poem, Burning the Evidence, a piece about the odds being stacked against the creative mind, we find an artist who knows that it is better to be killed by that which you love, than to live with all that you hate.

Perhaps, our only option
is throw gasoline all around us,
flick the Zippo
high into the air,
burning the evidence
of ourselves
to become stars.
(from Burning the Evidence, p 40)

Burning the Evidence is about intense moments of friendship. It is for those who need a little dysfunction in order to function. It is a platform for shared experience. It is made up of love poems, but the love here is a sickness, a drug, an addiction. And Todd Cirillo is one of those recovering addicts who always wants more. Not because he doesn’t know better; regardless of lessons learnt, he can’t help but open himself up to that hard-drinking poet, who has a cigarette clasped between her lips, an uncapped and ignited Zippo in her right hand and a .357 Magnum in her left.

 

 

***************
Title: Burning the Evidence
Author: Todd Cirillo
Publisher: Epic Rites Press
P
ublication Date: January 2017
Price: $10.00, paperback
Page count: 70

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Review of Burning the Evidence by Todd Cirillo

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“Todd Cirillo’s, Burning the Evidence, leaves your heart like “hail shattered windshields”. It is broken and beautiful, cynical with a hint of hope and a twist of absurdism, ugly but true. The poems hit you like a .357 Magnum. Some ask questions that others seem to answer. While some poems are almost too honest to bare. One page Todd is “just checking to make sure she’s still there and a few pages down he’s sleeping alone to the sound of tires on wet pavement and the clock”. This glorious, fragmented storyline is so perfectly threaded in highs and lows, heartaches and breaks, goodbyes and come-ons, your head will twist.”

Madeline Levy, PERFUME & CIGARETTES

You can order Burning the Evidence and get your head twisted at:

https://www.amazon.com/Burning-Evidence-Todd-Cirillo/dp/1926860586/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484350567&sr=1-1&keywords=todd+cirillo

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Burning the Evidence poems by Todd Cirillo available to order now!

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Todd Cirillo’s book Burning the Evidence by Epic Rites Press is filled with snapshot observations from his Polaroid eye for detail, thieves’ ear for dialogue, and optimistic attempts at love and affection in all situations. Cirillo accomplishes a rare feat; he makes poetry relatable and accessible to every person. In these poems, he lays his heart bare on the bar, sometimes stupidly, other times sacrificially, but always sincerely. Some poems are punches to the gut, others are chocolates on the pillow or the last glimpse of red taillights fading away. Despite the disasters in life and love, Cirillo finds beauty “forever shining down on the whole filthy set up” and after reading this book, you will too.

You can order the book at http://www.epicrites.org/pre-order.html or http://www.epicrites.org

Dear friends: I would love to send each of you a copy with all my love, however, that would be unfair to the publisher, Epic Rites Press, who spent much time and money to put this collection into the world. So, even though the book is not free, my love is, especially if you support Epic Rites Press and this poet by purchasing a copy or ten (they make incredible gifts!) At an affordable $10, this a happy hour deal not to be missed. Cheers!

“Like the great Bill Gainer, Todd Cirillo says more in a few words than most of us can say in volumes. This book is full of love, heartbreak, music and the occasional watering hole. Cirillo doesn’t just burn the evidence, he lights up the night sky with it, baring his heart, like a neon highway sign, beating 24/7–with words.” –John Dorsey, Tombstone Factory

“Language chiseled onto the page and wholly accessible. A poet of unmistakable voice–tough but capable of tenderness…” –Wayne F. Burke, DICKHEAD

“You don’t have to look far. Just throw a dart at the map, you’ll find a little piece of his heart – broken, a girl burning his number in an ashtray, and a beer soaked napkin bleeding a two word not – You Bastard…It’s always a good place for Cirillo to start, that’s why I love this guy – and his poems.” –Bill Gainer, Lipstick and Bullet Holes

 

 

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New Poems on the horizon, coming soon from Todd Cirillo

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Coming soon from Epic Rites Press, http://www.epicrites.org a new full-length collection from Todd Cirillo. Stay tuned….start clearing space next to your bed and on your bookshelf.

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I too, am a total Sucker…

“Got this fantastic book of poetry today. I must say it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With all the tears I’ve cried the past few days it was nice to laugh a little. Todd Cirillo totally love this. I’ll be rereading it later tonight with a nice glass of wine or a couple shots of rum or maybe both.
I to am a total sucker.”  –April Barlow, Oklahoma Six Ft. Swells fan

True Testimony from another satisfied sucker!  You all can pick up your New Years copy of Todd Cirillo’s “Sucker’s Paradise” on amazon.com along with all other illicit Six Ft. Swells titles; “The Distance Between” from Julie Valin and “The Coast is Clear” by Matt Amott.  http://www.amazon.com/Suckers-Paradise-after-hours-poetry-Cirillo/dp/0985307528/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1388721444&sr=8-2&keywords=todd+cirillo

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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.

IMG_3736

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.

SCAN0016

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,

IMG_0913
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.

NOLA07 113

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.

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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,

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Hunter S. Thompson,
Julie Valin,

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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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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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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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