Sunday, April 30, 2017

Matt Borczon writes

I used to love

the hum
of an amplifier
the salty
taste of a first kiss
the gut punch
of Jim Carroll's Catholic boy
the tears
that come with children
first love
last love
all the bullshit love in between
car crashes
cheap bourbon
the sparks
that came out of
Tina's high heels
that night we dropped acid
every escape
Harry Houdini ever pulled off
folk music
and dulcimers shaped like women
my life
before anxiety and depression
before medication
before the uniform
before the hospital
before Helmand
before the blood
of soldiers and children

before the war
I used to love
like tomorrow
would never come.
 she played a dulcimer by Loui  Jover:
 she played a dulcimer -- Loui Jover

 Dulcimer king David Schnaufer RIP:  
Dulcimer king David Schnaufer


  1. David Schnaufer was a Texan folk musician credited with restoring the popularity of the Appalachian dulcimer, both as a working musician and as an associate adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music.

    Harry Houdini (originally Erik Weisz) was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer noted for his sensational escape acts. In 1908 he introduced his own original act, the Milk Can Escape, in which he was handcuffed and sealed inside an oversized milk can filled with water; he later modified the escape to include having the milk can locked inside a wooden chest and being chained or padlocked. By 1912, due to the vast number of imitators, replaced his milk can act with the Chinese water torture cell (though his brother, Theodore Hardeen, continued to perform the escape and its wooden chest variant into the 1940s). In the new escape, Houdini's feet were locked in stocks and he was lowered upside down into a glass tank filled with water. In the earliest version he was enclosed inside a metal cage that was lowered into the cell; the cage offered protection if the glass broke, but it also prevented him from turning, thus making the escape more difficult. Originally it was part of a one-act play he called "Houdini Upside Down" so that he could copyright the effect and sue imitators; he continued to perform "the Upside Down" or "USD," as he called it, until his death. In 1912, as a publicity stunt, he was locked in handcuffs and leg-irons, nailed into a packing crate which was roped and weighed down with 200 pounds of lead, and lowered into New York's East River.He escaped in 57 seconds; the crate was pulled to the surface and found to be intact, with the manacles inside. He later adapted it into a stage act. Another of his favorite publicity stunts was to have himself strapped into a regulation straitjacket and suspended by his ankles from a tall building or crane and make his escape in full view of tens of thousands of onlookers; sometimes he would perform the escape from the office building of a local newspaper to insure press coverage. After being battered against a building in high winds during one escape, he added a visible safety wire on his ankle so he could be pulled away from the building if necessary. In 1915 was buried, without a casket, in a pit six feet deep. In August 1926, in a sealed casket, he remained submerged in the swimming pool of New York's Hotel Shelton for 1 1/2 hours and repeated the feat at the YMCA in Worcester, Massachusetts, in September. He was planning an elaborate stage show in which he would be strapped in a straitjacket, sealed in a casket, and buried in a large tank filled with sand, but he died on Halloween (31 October) 1926, and the bronze casket he created for the escape was used to transport his body from Detroit to his New York home. While on tour in 1916, at his own expense he recruited local magic clubs to join the Society of American Magicians, a local New York club; in places where no clubs existed, he rounded up individual magicians, introduced them to each other, and urged them to join. Serving as its president from 1917 until his death in 1926, he transformed SAM into a national organization; with almost 6,000 dues-paying members and almost 300 assemblies worldwide, it is the world's richest and longest-surviving magicians' group.

  2. The Helmand river valley in Afghanistan was mentioned (as Haetumant, one of the early Zoroastrian centers) in the "Avesta," but it was known as "White India" due to the preponderance of the Hindu and Buddhist population before the arrival of the Muslims. It was part of the Greater Kandahar region until made into a separate province by the Afghan government in the 20th century. It is responsible for 42% of the world's opium production. At the beginning of 2006 the british announced that Americans fighting the Taliban there would be replaced by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, including the British 16th Air Assault Brigade. In July, Operation Mountain Thrust stalled in Helmand as NATO (primarily British and Afghan) troops were forced to take defensive positions and the British were reinforced. In August, due to a mistake relaying coordinates by a British forward air controller, an Americn F-15 fighter killed three and wounded two British soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment, and a month later a British missile killed two Danish soldiers. After what commanders called the most brutal conflict the British army had been in since the Korean War, in the fall both sides agreed to withdraw, ending the British plans to hold key bases in the district and preventing the Taliban from consolidating their gains in the province. Fighting continued throughout the winter and into the spring, however. In April 2008, 1,500 2nd Battalion 7th Marines occupied over 300 sq mi (800 sq km) of the Helmand valley and neighboring Farah province. In June 2009, Operation Panther's Claw, with 3,000 British, 650 Afghan, 700 Danish, and 130 Estonian troops, was launched to secure control of canal and river crossings and establish a permanent ISAF presence; the offensive claimed 15 British lives in a week, including 8 within 24 hours, making it the costlier for British forces in Afghanistan. In the following month, as part of Operation Khanjar (Operation Dagger), 4,000 US Marines advanced into the valley to liberate the area, the first major push since US president Barack Obama's request for 21,000 additional soldiers in Afghanistan; using helicopters, they landed behind Taliban lines in areas where coalition forces had never been before, while vehicle convoys advanced into remote areas. After three days of struggle, including heavy street fighting, they recovered Dahaneh after four years of Taliban control. In February, Operation Moshtarak, the largest joint operation of the war (15,000 American, Afghan, and British troops) advanced against Marjah to eliminate the last Taliban stronghold in central Helmand province. Brigadier James Cowan, the commander of British forces in Helmand, believed it would mark "the start of the end of this insurgency," and General Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of ISAF, swore to install a "government in a box" in Marjahto following the offensive. NATO air strikes resulted in massive civilian casualties, especially one on 22 June which killed between 45 and 100. However, after initial successes, the coalition failed to set up a working government in the town, leading to a Taliban resurgence; 90 days into the offensive McChrystal referred to it as a "bleeding ulcer," and in early December the fighting there was declared "essentially over."

  3. Jim Carroll was an American author, poet, and punk musician. While still in high school he became addicted to heroin and published "Organic Trains," his first collection of poems. His work began appearing in the Poetry Project's magazine "The World" in 1967 and in elite literary magazines like "Paris Review" in 1968 and "Poetry" in 1969. In 1970, his second collection, "4 Ups and 1 Down," was published, and he started working with Andy Warhol, writing film dialogue and inventing character names and then co-managing Warhol's Theater. Around that tme he shared a room with photograher Robert Mapplethorpe and punk singer/lyricist Patti Smith. Grossman Publishers brought out his "Living at the Movies" in 1973. In 1978 he edited the diaries he kept between the ages of 12 and 16, which appeared as "The Basketball Diaries," and in 1987 he continued his autobiography with "Forced Entries: The Downtown Diaries 1971–1973." In 1978 also, after moving to California, at Smith's instigation, he formed Amsterdam, better known as The Jim Carroll Band. Their 1980 debut album "Catholic Boy," with a cover photo taken by Annie Leibovitz. John Cale, from Warhol's pioneering group the Velvet Underground, covered a single from the album, "People Who Died," on his "Antártida" soundtrack; it was modeled after a poem of the same name by Ted Berrigan, a poet who often collaborated with Carroll and wrote a number of poems about him. The band also released "Dry Dreams" (1982) and "I Write Your Name" (1983) before Carroll returned to New York to write full-time. Beginning in 1991 he performed readings from his first novel, "The Petting Zoo," which was published posthumously in 2000.

    Catholic Boy:

    I was born in a pool, they made my mother stand
    And I spat on that surgeon and his trembling hand
    When I felt the light I was worse than bored
    I stole the doctor's scalpel and I slit the cord

    I was a Catholic boy,
    Redeemed through pain,
    Not through joy

    I was two months early they put me under glass
    I screamed and cursed their children when the nurses passed
    Was convicted of theft when I slipped from the womb
    They led me straight from my mother to a cell in the Tombs


    They starved me for weeks, they thought they'd teach me fear
    I fed on cellmates' dreams, it gave me fine ideas
    When they cut me loose, the time had served me well
    I made allies in heaven, I made comrades in Hell

    I was a Catholic child
    The blood ran red
    The blood ran wild

    I make angels dance and drop to their knees
    When I enter a church the feet of statues bleed
    I understand the fate of all my enemies
    Just like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane


    I watched the sweetest psalm stolen by the choir
    I dreamed of martyrs' bones hanging from a wire
    I make a contribution, I get absolution
    I make a resolution to purify my soul


    They can't touch me now
    I got every sacrament behind me:
    I got baptism,
    I got communion,
    I got penance,
    I got extreme unction
    I've got confirmation
    'Cause I'm a Catholic child
    The blood ran red
    The blood ran wild!

    Now I'm a Catholic man
    I put my tongue to the rail whenever I can.

  4. I love Matt's poetry. It's always gut level honest. This poem really touches me.


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