Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Scott Laudati

Nearly two years ago, I had the good fortune of reviewing music for this incredible blog based in the UK called The Punk Archive.  And, here is the best part of all, I was able to review a chapbook -- can you imagine?!  One minute I'm writing music-review-after-music-review then all of a sudden I'm emailed a PDF of a poetry book; for a critique by someone who quickly became one of my favourite poets.  The book I am speaking of is Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair by Scott Laudati.  I am quite picky when it comes to what I allow my optics to devour. I was extremely delighted when I relished the first poem, once that occurred it was the start of a magnificent snowball worthy of being Frosty's first tier -- which genuinely enabled me to complete the book in a matter of hours -- without even putting it down for half a second.  If you think, I am exaggerating take a look at the review I wrote, you will be just as convinced as I that -- Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair would be a necessary contribution to any library (personal or otherwise)  Yes, it is that good -- if you do not believe me you can read my review here.

When I had finally decided to start Crimson Covered Critique it was a no brainer for me as to who my first subject would be.   I asked Scott for a few pieces to linger on and he was so kind enough as to provide me with three.  To The Girl I Went On A Date With Last Night &  Give A Lozenges To The Voice of The Archangel are both from Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair (which can be purchased here!!!) and a new piece a life. Scott's poems are like long scarves that envelop the reader in raw emotion, there is much comfort there -- especially when the content is relatable to everyday life.  Please do not just read these pieces, allow them to linger inside of your brain to genuinely contemplate the depth of emotion consistently exhibited throughout this body of work.


I've written about and read Scott's work many a time including his articles -- and his pieces NEVER get  stale or old as he always offers a new perspective each time he picks up that pen or pencil. Scott offers our earth so many insights not only through his poetry but written articles.  I'm convinced in the back of my mind that he will be known as the Kerouac of our age.

Moreover, once you've relished Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair please feel free to check out his second book Play the Devil recently published by (KUBOA) Press.

 


To The Girl I Went On A Date With Last Night

your songs
never got sadder,
how can that
be?
Your mother
still
has your father
you held onto
your God,
I didn’t
know
the world
still deserved
something like
that

yea,
I’ll go to brooklyn
I’ll pay for the booze
I’ll walk you around.
we can stand.
watch
the sun go down
behind
the last projects of lower manhattan.
I’ll wonder if I invented you
and I’ll wonder if you’ll erase me.
I’ve got the torch in
my hand
don’t turn
your face too quickly,
even a breeze
will give the flames
a reason
to dance.

you’ve got
the after storm blue eyes.
your eyes
tell me you sat on this bench before,
you
know
which two buildings
the sun
will split. it’s
the knowledge
of a broken heart.
even with your God
and
your parents
love has been a betrayal.
you spent too much
time on this bench
alone. you
know
the bums,
you know which hipster
will bring the guitar
and what song he
will sing.
you can’t know these things
until you’re alone. and
you can’t
be alone
until you’ve
learned
you’re only safe
with
yourself.

it’s hard
to know when
to make a move.
the last light has
attached itself
around your
head
like an
icon.
the divine glow,
whatever
that yellow
ring
is circling the white dove
that means
peace and love
and the sun
and spring
and youth.
I know I should
kiss you now,
but i don’t
because
you say
“lets swim to
manhattan”,
and
in the water reflection
I realize I’d rather see you smile
than see
your face touching mine

and maybe
it
should end like that.
with us
not touching
and I could know
you
like the
birds know the sky.
and I won’t have to invent you.
and you’ll never have to erase me.
your songs
will stay sweet
and we
can share the dark places
of our hearts
that
no one else
gets to see.
I’ll
love you
like only a man
who never gets the girl
can,
and every day
will feel like
those
last minutes
we put our heads
to the ground,
figuring out
how to
share our first kiss
goodbye


Give A Lozenges To The Voice of The Archangel

they called me at
work and
told me about
a rainy new jersey
morning,
about the bed
full of vomit
the dead kid
and a mailbox
full of cards
saying
“happy 20th birthday”

some people
wanted to know
why.
they asked god.
they asked the quiet
boys in the back
what they knew.
but
there’s only
one
way a kid dies
when there’s
no car
crash

we heard it
was a persian
connection
whose cousins
or father
ran the oxy ring.
they jumped in the car
so mad
and red eyed
their heads
would have to be
removed from
the body
to stop the
hate from swinging.
but the persian
connect
didn’t fight back
he just cried
and the hate stopped.
something
so black
it exists
in the corners
of all eyes, we can all see
it, and when we recognize
it in others
it becomes impossible
to pretend your tribe
is not
my tribe.
so there
they were,
letting humanity get
in the way of revenge
again

we called him
“little”
(he shared his father’s name)
and before
the oxy’s
and the
new jersey highway
nights
he planted
a seed in the backyard,
a little maple.
i don’t know
why I always remembered that.
when people grow up
you only know them for
all the times
they’ve fucked you
or fucked her.
but when
you get them young
it’s
the times
they’ve reminded you
there’s still beauty left
in the world
that get you

the funeral
was
an old testament
betrayal.
three blonde angels
cried at the casket
and proved
what we all know but never
say,
there is no god.
they buried
him in a t-shirt
and jeans
because he
was a kid
and he was cool
and honoring him
in an honest way
kept everyone honest,
nobody could lie
and say
he’d gone to a better place.
i cried
for the first time
as a man
and it felt like
one more tattoo
had been hammered
in to
the surface
of my heart.

back at my aunt’s
she held me for
too long,
she said
“i lost my
little boy. he looked
up to you”.
all i could say was
“he was
a cool kid”.
i looked at my aunt
who
had lost
her little boy.
his father,
a bulldog of a man
that life had finally beaten.
my three
blonde cousins
might have thought
about the day
he was born,
or the men they would
marry
that would never
share the
alter with their
brother.
and i thought
about all the friends
i’ve had that
died
or went to jail
and the reason was always
the same: Heroin.
and once
again
i hadn’t seen the signs
that were now so obvious,
and i never reached out
though everyone needs it.
outside,
the seed “little” had planted
was now a tree,
but nobody mentioned it

i went home
and
my girlfriend
said throw them out. take
a break.
hasn’t enough happened?
i told her i did.
but i didn’t.
i ate them
all of them
and i drank,
i knew i might die
but
i probably wouldn’t,
and at least i
would feel
better for
a while.
i should’ve told
“little” about what
the suburbs and boredom
could do.
but he was a smart kid,
we shared the same blood.
i should’ve told him
about the fear
and what
it
can do


a life

i used to walk around and look at alleys
or hidden corners of parks
and think
“when i’ve finally lost everything
i can be homeless here”

but then i got older and left new york.
i drove through appalachia
and the sad and stalled midwest
and finally made it to
montana,
where the grass was so healthy
it was almost gold,
and no money had ever talked to the land.
it had escaped america.
it remained free.
i saw myself as a successful writer looking
out over that grass and thought,
“someday when i’ve had enough of this awful world
i can kill myself here”

and that’s why i leave
instead of just signing the lease.
it’s hard on the soul to stay.
i hit a new city like a camera
and memorize everything.
and once i’ve drank in all the bars
and had coffee in the morning
it’s time to run.

it’s the same conversation every time.
with my girlfriend,
with my mother,
that it’s nothing
they did,
i just never learned
to take life
as it comes.
there’s never been a past,
it’s all new to me

maybe you know what i mean.
i’ve looked at women with the old soul eyes,
who’ve stood on this dirt before,
and they know for sure
this is just one life
and so it will be again.
but not me.
i clocked in with clean lungs.
a boy that learned fear,
that became too sad to cry,
that didn’t know
there would be a second chance

always remember,
if there’s nothing left to lose run for the finish line.
always remember,
it’s the fight of the century every time.
always remember,
death
will be easier