THE SAGA OF MONSOON MAN

THE SAGA OF MONSOON MAN

Monsoon Man emerges from the scum of that big puddle
on North Main,
the one other there by Wells Fargo
across the street from KFC
it’s his favorite low spot.

Monsoon Man, he concentrates
on last year’s clouds.
He was around before time, back when time
was shameless
and shaped like amaranth.

Monsoon Man, he rises unnoticed,
webbed knees, shoulders
misty saffron-yellow flix weed.
A purple funk in his eyes
blinking like an ailing light bulb.
A mountain chasm of fog
pumping from the cracks between his mossy teeth.

Monsoon Man sometimes makes mistakes socializing,
just like you,
but his body is inside out
and covers the whole basin.

Monsoon Man says the aquifers are stacked,
he says they’re dominoes of water and light.
By his calculations the ganglion is 2,552 feet beneath
where Farney turns into Woffard.

Monsoon Man teaches Morse code to every stone
but you see the stones don’t reinforce it in their homes so…

Monsoon Man is the patron saint of puddles
after their gone.

It’s raining, he’s the drops splattering,
water balloons of testosterone, dust and soot.
His blood is galaxies of drizzle,
curtains of granite murk,
flurries of aggressive dew.
His is a private eye
in a cage of august rainbow.

Monsoon Man feeds the street cats and the tree birds
and the street cats kill the tree birds just for fun
and Monsoon Man is haboobing in Arizona
or catching some Zzzz’s on the Brazos.

Monsoon Man’s hands have rainwater on their breath.

Monsoon Man’s eyes are green like mine.

I like it when water tongues out from a crack in the rock face,
I like it when the desert sun is rough with it.
Monsoon Man doesn’t look at it that way.

Monsoon Man doesn’t tell water where to go.
Monsoon Man doesn’t get all mushy.

Puncture vines were brought here accidentally from Africa;
Monsoon Man received a memo.

The grasses explode–mosquitoes follow suit.
The rainiest August in decades, the lethal needle,
the basin has forgotten the yellow crinkle.

It’s raining on Mount Fuji; no one is haikuing.
Fog wrapping in the downy castaway of a dove’s feather
infiltrates a flower like white mold.

I reach my hand into the cloud.
I reach my hand hoping to find the stem.
My fingers found the lightning hot stem.

Monsoon Man uses a stick in the dirt
so the message can flow.

~~~~

author’s note: this poem was commissioned by KTAL’s The Buzzman : Voice of the Rio Grande during Monsoon Season, 2022 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Fortunately paper money was too soggy to be exchanged so we made due with doubloons.

Advertisement

“AMERICA WIL NEVER BE THE LAND OF THE FREE IF WE REMAIN STUCK WITH ONLY ONE KIND OF DRIED TOMATO”

POET STALEY’S Top 20 Alternatives to Sun-Dried Tomatoes

1 astigmatism based insult dried tomatoes

2 Moonraker reboot with a Native American tender age Bond instead of Roger Moore dried tomatoes

3 silent treatment dried tomatoes

4 dry ice dried tomatoes

5 split pea spit dried tomatoes

6 11% ethanol dried tomatoes

7 sex lies and videotape dried tomatoes

8 Chihuahuan inhalations dried tomatoes

9 old New Hampshire white man music teacher holding his breath
dried tomatoes

10 doppelgänger with a zip tie necktie dried tomatoes

11 Howard Zinn versus Kit Carson dried tomatoes

12 apocryphal pre-apocalyptic college board dried tomatoes

13 “Waiting Around to Die” by Townes Van Zandt dried tomatoes

14 poutine dream tomatillo seeds on a Sunday spread with your
cousin on a platter dried tomatoes

15 Trumpers reciting love poems by gay Black tall women
dried tomatoes

16 hair dried tomatoes

17 fluoride in disguise dried tomatoes

18 shattered glass of a Walmart frame dried tomatoes

19 prime number imposter syndrome dried tomatoes

20 red dwarf cottage cheese star thistle lycopene dried tomatoes

~~~
authors note: drying tomatoes with “sun” is cliche, base and possibly abusive. Tomato farmers and grocers nationwide should be ashamed of themselves. Are outrageous slotting fees or an epic small mindedness to blame?! What about the tomatoes dried by seven of Saturn’s 83 moons? Don’t they deserve a shot?

RADIO SHOW DEDICATED TO EL PASO POET BOBBY BYRD

El Paso poet & publisher BOBBY BYRD passed away on July 11, 2022. He was a friend, mentor and hero to me, the TATER. In this week’s MONSOON DOWN THE RADIO we hear jazz and 4 poems by Bobby; also in this episode 2 poems by Palestinian poet Mohammed El-Kurd. These are the jazz artists we hear in order: US Air Force Academy Falconaires, Chuck Mangione, Jimi Tenor, Ron Carter, Houston Person, Bob Flourence, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Terry Gibbs Dream Band, Ron Carter, Cedar Walton, Jack DeJohnette, Bob Brookmeyer, Dennis Coffey, Sara Serpa, Matthew Sheens, Jazz Q Praha, Egba

This is the last sequence of Summer Session 2022.

here ya go: MONSOON DOWN THE RADIO for BOBBY BYRD -2 hours of jazz and poetry

THE PIECES YOU HAVE LEFT AVAILABLE NOW

Reverence for the women in the poet’s life, stealth bombers, a juvenile cougar strangled on the trail and plenty of blank space on well-organized pages come together in The Pieces You have Left,  Staley’s second full-length collection. Echoes of recent giants from Mary Oliver to bell hooks, musical quotations from Lucinda Williams to Miles Davis, support a collection distinguished by winningly colloquial titles: “I’d Like to Teach the (Tone Deaf) World to Sing,” and “The Solid Beams and Poles That Support Society Are Cottage Cheese, Mostly”. Staley hits that sweet spot of subtle, real vulnerability to keep you engaged in surprising ways. He often writes to honor the dead, among them a mother-in-law who, in the late 1960s, left the convent with an acoustic guitar on her back and decades later: “moved to New Mexico and gave everything but her clothes to a family who lost their home in a fire.”

This collection was a Finalist in the 2021 Hillary Gravendyk Prize poetry book competition sponsored by Inlandia Institute of California, and was featured in the Harlem Book Fair 2021.

“Staley writes from personal experience but elliptically, jumping and omitting details to make the individual parts more suggestive. Each poem comes across as a collage of pieces though the pieces all relate to the whole.” -Joseph Somoza

The Pieces You Have Left. Those are some good poems. The poem for Suzanne is exquisite ‘promise and surprise’! YAHOO” – Bobby Byrd

Buy a signed copy directly from the author for $18.00 + Free Shipping: btn_buynow_SM

or purchase your paperback or Kindle copy today at AMAZON

Published in 2021 by Beatlick Press : Oaxaca, Mexico.

Cover Art by Meg G. Freyermuth

3 NEW POEMS FOR JUNETEENTH

After Ahmaud Arbery 3.23.20

His arrival here
cut one background
from another.

Five hands sprung 
from each of his wrists. 

I wipe the ashes
off the armoire. 
I light a new stick of incense
Morning Star Mellow Pine.

He sits on my sofa
deliberately.
The muscle spasm in his leg
ribbons the room.
 
From the corner of my eye
his sweatshirt
slung over a chair back.

His Oral-B toothbrush
facedown.

~

Black and White Thinking 6.17.21

At the end of a long day Civil Warrin’, 
Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson 
sat together in a plush loveseat
and soaked their feet in the same tub of Epsom Salts. 
And they murmured, they murmured to each other 
and puttied in 
and sanded off 
and painted over 
the great flaw they shared, 
that hardy, ubiquitous facade they shared
with every slave holding heart. 

My therapist told me, 
Black and White thinking
is the first of ten
cognitive distortions.

Growing up privileged and white 
in Montgomery meant 
there were no Blacks
outside and beyond
my service partition; the solution 
to a Confederate calculation--
witness the cleaning gesture 
of a brush 
that’s filled with paint.

In this stanza a Black person
doesn’t ring me up at Books-A-Million,
doesn’t fry my chicken at the frat house,
doesn’t ladle my gravy into a mountain lake
of mashed potatoes at Memorial Presbyterian Church, 
doesn’t dip my cone at Dairy Queen on Atlanta Highway,
doesn’t drain my oil at Jiffy Lube in Bay 3 in Mountain Brook.

Phyllis Wheatley—America’s first
Black poet—was enslaved
by the Wheatley family.
They said she was seven
because of her teeth.
Which one 
pried her open
to count the empty spaces?

~

Epilogue
 
How do you find a diamond ring in the lake?
 
Hit bottom.
 
Start in the middle.
 
Spiral out.


~


find tim on Insta

Hear Tim reading these poems @ 1:04:44

COMING SOON

The 2nd full-length poetry collection, The Pieces You Have Left, by Tim Staley is coming soon!

Space travel, masculinity, war, sterilization, death of friends and family, Gila Wilderness shade, Covid-19, white flight in the Deep South and fatherhood are some of the starting points.

These poems were mostly composed between 2016 and 2021.

Tim Staley is a poet based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1975. He founded Grandma Moses Press in 1992 and continues to serve as editor. He is faculty at Organ Mountain High School.

This collection will be published by Beatlick Press : Oaxaca, Mexico

Beatlick Press was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2011.

Cover artwork: “Queen Magdalena” by Meg G Freyermuth © October 2017

AFTER JACOB BLAKE

AFTER JACOB BLAKE

After the medical aid 

After the helicopter 

After immediately to Milwaukee

After lengthening up through the crown 

After gravel shaped like twilight 

After tailwinds through the reeds 

After the pelvic floor

After a mother tells her daughter, never say 
the Lord’s name in vain

After, who’s name then
am I supposed to say?