Saturday, April 01, 2023

Ongoing notes: early April, 2023: Micah Ballard,

Covid still has me low, so this is all I could get done for today.

San Francisco CA: I’m appreciating the opportunity to go through further work by San Francisco (by way of Louisiana) poet and editor Micah Ballard, through his chapbook Muddy Waters (San Francisco CA: State Champs, 2022), a title that notes, according to the colophon, has poems “written at Muddy Waters coffeehouse / in San Francisco between march and June 2022.” The author of a plethora of books and chapbooks over the past dozen-plus years, I’d been wanting to delve a bit deeper into his work, as he not only co-edited an issue of G U E S T [a journal of guest editors], but has work in the next issue of Touch the Donkey [a small poetry journal]. Along with a preface by Garrett Caples and postscript by Rod Roland, the twenty-five short first-person narratives in this collection are composed as lines of accumulation, offering scraps of observation and immediate moments propelled with an electric energy of narrative speed. The poems suggest themselves as being timeless, but offer anchors to the immediately contemporary across fragments, scraps and moments that pose as larger narratives. As the opening poem, “CHILDREN OF THE NEW DAWN,” opens: “Very fentanyl / half a face, the other / diffused of light. Very Avedon / or Penati, a little Modigliani / & off balance. Laughing gas under suspicion / cracking a nail on your zipper / Everything I do is underneath.” Or, as the opening of Garrett Caples’ preface poem, “Muddy’s Report,” begins: “the coffee in this swamp / tastes much as you’d expect [.]” These poems really are electric, charged with something I am still working to determine, but am enjoying a great deal, either way.


is my virtue so I morph
into all things
wobbling around
in my wonderful burnt skin
talking in innuendoes
to bay with the cadence
of unflattering daylight
& this congregation
of zombies w/ bare midriffs
seeking acquisition
I apply some blush and mascara
& give us some life
prone to vest up I evoke
another vortex and hug the air instead
then jump back into
this wireless abyss of popular opposites
which you’re totally not
but you’re not, not


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