fleeting

what ripens doesn’t stay
and who is to tell
when I make my next trip
around the block,
up the staircase
burning in age, as the boot
gives traction to the few—
or no one
that stops by anymore
to wish me, yourself
and anyone awake
the best towards the end
of these flickering weeks.

Cat No. 71 of the 500 Cats Project

Advertisements

Seventeen Cs

cracked clay sings cautiously
as calamine calls the crybaby
to clamber: using hands, feet
colliding with homegrown hangovers
and throbbing cuts ‘cross the ground
for collecting pills
does correlate with unforgiving gradients,
constellations dashing away
to conspire against invented laughter
and the clamor heard in kitchens
fraught with the craziness of
provincial, coincidental gossip.

Cat No. 70 of the 500 Cats Project

leap (of some finer faith)

it’s nothing but a waste of time
to stroll on the sidewalk, umbrella floating
and stilled.

walk by a brewery, and remind
oneself that no glass spills with
clear grace.

another boy’s pocket shelters
an iPod Classic while the bridge above
raggedly breathes.

I’m sorry, but I can’t claim
to properly believe
but you do look nice
in your Nordstrom sweater
or something I see
that doesn’t apologize
for holes, thin sleeves
or stains of fine little blackberries.

for rest
we roll across lively confetti
like seaweed on plates calmed by the best AC.

looking ahead
with nothing scrawled in our bullet planners,
soft corners rounded and stamping card stock palms.

wordlessly wild
and hunting for more than Lucky Charms, sugar
that wakes each star to leap just a foot’s worth further.

Cats No. 68 and 69 of the 500 Cats Project

the house often passed

left behind,
or home alone
with each foot planted
on the modest ramp
where plastic cars
hummed, crackling down
as droplets of dreamt confession
fell, agreed to release
themselves from a ceiling
stripped, painted indifferently
by the tips of sponges,
broomsticks’ spearheads
that don’t offer meat
the way skewers do, as seen on TV.

stretch and press
all draped plastic
and take a moment
holding breaths,
taming tensions,
catching pace,
though ducking under metal
lies null in the draft
that dances unabashedly
all the way
from thoughts’ openings.

Cat No. 67 of the 500 Cats Project

Starlit Speculation – This is Charlie Zero

Introduced to Björk and Tori Amos at the age of eleven, and remembering echoes of of a swarming crowd as Shirley Manson stated, “I’m only happy when it rains,” I’m difficult to unnerve through words, medical terminology, and images I hope will prompt more than just some kind of lucid, false, epileptic seizure.

Perhaps the challenge in impressing me lies in my affinity for the experimental, cracked into three large shards. Charlie Zero’s This Robot Dreams Inside a Plastic Soul stirred my intrigue as the sun prods an amusement park worker to wriggle in his four-legged, alpaca wool suit. I snuggled into the blankets covering my macintosh red futon, took a minute or so between pieces, and thought, “Damn, Charlie. I’d imagine LSD does come to a halt, but I’m not quite ready.” For the record, I’ve never tried LSD.

Charlie’s writing reminds me of wind chimes that clang out of nowhere in the summer heat, doorbell melodies that warn me I’m entering the home of a prolifically artful eccentric. I don’t know what to expect, conversing with a local historian about “tarot-cards & playgirl magazines” I’ve never taken more than a glimpse at, or a “virtual console” commanding fine-tuning by those long departed. The allusions run unbridled, as read in “Witchcraft Acidhead 23.” Grammatical devices, the marriage of the supernatural Ouija with universal Apple products, and an image of Edgar Allen Poe stuffing the macabre into his DDT heart, It seems anything and anyone stands around to grab the microphone, announcing standard grievances, pointing out that CNN should be taken with a grain of salt, that institutionalization confines more than young girls admitted out of parents’ concerns that they may be too hormonal. Charlie Zero assembles dismantlement to encourage us to question what’s heard and said, while navigating local alleys, gathering others interested in communal innovation while acknowledging the stagnancy that sets our minds on fire.

Charlie toys with form and language like people I see on the Travel Channel acquainting themselves with flower arrangements. Nothing’s quite symmetrical, yet the juxtaposing hues encapsulate readers in a curious glow. “I didn’t know this was a medical term! What could it possibly mean? Would I hear it at my next doctor’s appointment?” These are questions I asked myself as I breathed in the smoke trailed by thirty-five poems.

Now, back to the three large shards. This Robot Dreams Inside a Plastic Soul invites you to do your own research, opening dictionaries, finding encyclopedias at your nearest discount bookstore which directly pertain to Twentieth Century pop culture, and beyond. The collection offers more than trance, illustrates complexities more intricate than tangled arms and legs in an urban club scene. In Charlie’s synthesis of the bright, historical, and contemporary, we read what it means to be eclectic. Lines such as “Arachnid gods/ registered virtuoso/ T-minus 1” sends us jolting, neck hairs raising as if our fingers almost pricked the shine of an open lamp socket. Again, I emphasize eccentricity, but not as a term describing a human. The poetry collection, though fierce in its delivery, does not settle itself centrally. See Charlie’s work as an ever spinning globe, continental tenants shouting insults they’ll one day take back, digging their fingers into the clay on which they stand, giving Pangaea one more chance.

This Robot Dreams Inside A Plastic Soul ignites fury, anxiety, and hope in the midst of a changing society that in retrospect, may not have changed so drastically should we consider human faltering. Nonetheless, it is a thoughtful read, pushing us to wonder what we truly think about the world and people who cross our path as we walk, confined by our Ziplock exteriors.

Charlie Zero’s collection of poems remains available in paperback, through Paypal. Do follow his adventures in writing at his blog, filled with starlit speculation.