Jack Grapes

IMG_4111

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

( The haiku are from Jack’s forthcoming book,
WIDE ROAD TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD:
301 haiku.)

*
Hearing Mom and Dad
fighting in the bedroom room.
Outside, the red moon.

*
I lost who I was.
Then I found who I would be.
Only who I was knew.

*
In the safe darkness
of the theatre I find truth:
Annie gets her gun.

*
There’s Charlie Chaplin
running but getting nowhere—
a plan for a life

*
falling in rhythm
to the buzzing of the bees
over something dead

*
Would that I was wise,
not this enlightened monkey
wearing monkey mask

*
They open my chest
and then put my heart on ice
while my brain simmers.

*
To write War and Peace:
In the stationary store
ask for more paper.

*
Poetry kills me.
I can’t face its stern demands,
heart filled with cobwebs.

*
When I’m gone, I’ll sure
miss that dove whose song wakes me,
but will she miss me?

*
Fortune cookie says,
“You will go on long journey.”
Pay check. Leave at once.

*
How to eat this life?
Break the past into pieces,
eat one piece at a time.

*
I love this sharp knife.
How it cuts the red pepper.
Salad filled with blood.

*
My childhood is gone.
I don’t want to go back there.
Too much mystery.

*
Once I was a dog.
No one was afraid of me.
I licked people’s hands.

*
I’m a proud Virgo.
One day I’ll be organized,
surrounded by worms.

*
Some things are too sad
to write about on paper.
My closed mouth writes too.

*
Poems not money
give such meaning to my life.
Sometimes meaning sucks.

*
Shakespeare, bricklayer.
Dante, the wise carpenter.
Me? Corn to chickens.

*
At a loss for words?
Call Jack Grapes, home or office,
day or night, for help.

*
I’ve squandered so much,
and given less than I could,
asleep in the rain.

*
Sit still a minute.
Now, let your heart open wide
and see what falls in.

Jack Grapes

 

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“The Man In Charge Of Watering” by Jack Grapes

The summer sun, strong and bright,
sits down on the bricks in the front yard.
Cars which have nothing to do with bricks
go by on the street heading home.
It’s Wednesday afternoon,
middle of the week,
when you can put everything you’d planned
on Monday
back on the back burner.
A lady goes by; I nod and smile and say hello.
She’s carrying a bag of groceries.
I think she lives down the block.
I should go back inside,
the sun’s hot on my face,
and I’m not wearing my hat.
Lori admonishes me
“Don’t forget to wear your hat.”
I came outside to fill the fountain
and forgot to wear my hat.
Now, I’m just standing here,
looking around, saying hello
to the neighbors as they pass by.
When we first bought this house
when Josh was two years old,
I used to go outside after the sun had gone down
and hose the grass on the front and side lawn.
Such a peaceful time, and the back spray from the hose
cooled everything down.
I was Mr. Homeowner watering his lawn.
There are flowers blooming here
that Lori knows the names of, but I can’t
seem to remember their names.
Jasmine, Bougianvillea, true geraniums.
I can’t keep track of them all.
I’ve tried, but the names elude me.
Even the grass has a name,
but I’ve forgotten that too.
This is what heaven will be like.
Anytime I want, I’ll be able to water the lawn.
All my friends will walk by,
I’ll nod, say hello, watch them pass along
going wherever people go in heaven.
I won’t have to do anything but water the lawn.
And the water, you should see the water in heaven.
Crystal clear, light as a feather, so to speak,
diamonds of light.
The back spray will cool my face and head.
And the grass. You’d think grass
in heaven wouldn’t need watering,
but you’re in for quite a surprise.
Everything up here needs watering.
Even the bricks, the bricks that sit in the sun
getting hot.
Even God, who soaks up all our prayers.
Even God will need a spray or two
to cool down.
I’ll be the waterer.
The man in charge of watering everything
and everyone,
the man spraying water in heaven.
That’ll be my job.
When God comes by, asks how I’m doing,
I’ll say, “Fine, just fine.”
Then I’ll turn and ask,
“Need a little watering?”
And God will nod,
say, “Sure, soak me down, just
don’t wet the groceries.”
And I’ll give God a good spray.
That’ll be my job —
the man in charge
of watering God.

Jack Grapes is an award-winning poet and playwright. He will be reading from his new book, “THE NAKED EYE: New and Selected Poems 1987-2012″ at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California,

aug 26, sept 9, and sept 30 are sold out,
and there’s a few seats left for oct 7. 1pm.

Reservations and tickets here

Photo by L.K. Thayer

“SZYMBORSKA” by Jack Grapes

I came home
Wednesday night from class
and Lori was ensconsed
like a caterpillar in a cocoon
on the bed, watching a movie on tv
about crazy people who fall in love
and break china.
“Szymborska died,” I said.

She reached for the remote and shut the tv off.
The room expanded into that quiet bubble we experience
when we shut off the tv.

She looked at me and said nothing.

What was there to say?

A friend dies, a poet dies, poetry lives on:
There’s nothing you can say.

It’s like turning off the tv,
and their passing
fills the space of our lives
with all that silence.
A balloon of being and nothingness,
a reduction of existence into a series
of appearances, overcoming those dualisms
that have embarrassed philosophy
and replacing them with the monism
of the phenomenon.

I put the clipboard I still had in my hand on the dresser
and began to undress. Then I got in the bed and lay beside her.
We still hadn’t spoken.

Szymborska was gone.

We just lay there for a bit, in the silence,
not sure who would break it,
not sure whose turn it was
to turn the moment
back into words.
You need a poet at a time like this,
and the poet was gone.

There was a small crack in the ceiling.
And a tiny cobweb in the corner.
Later, Lori’d probably get on a chair and with a tissue
wipe it away. That was her job, getting
those little tiny spider webs
gone before they engulfed the house,
our lives, the planet. Don’t
worry, dear reader, she’s on the job.
You will be safe.

“What’s my job?” asks Lori when she’s nagging me.
And I repeat the mantra: “To take care of me.”

But for now, with Szymborksa’s passing
still blooming into silence,
the cobweb would have to wait,
the crack would just have to bide its time.

Such a long silence.

Then I thought, fuck it.
I reached for the remote, and clicked the tv back on.

There went a teacup.
Crash.
There went another.
Crash.
It was good to get back
to a semblance of the world,
all that love and passion,
all those broken teacups.

Jack Grapes

(Author/Poet/Method Writing Teacher)

Photo by L. K. Thayer

© 2012

“The LA Poets & Writer’s Collective” & Jack Grapes at Beyond Baroque

Jack Grapes presents

The Los Angeles Poets & Writers Collective

At Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA

Sunday, May 29th 1:00 pm

Featuring some Juice Bar poets including

L. K. Thayer

Alexis Rhone Fancher

Adesh Kaur

Julie Dolcemaschio

Kay Bess

and more…

including his combined writing classes

$5.00 donation

Beyond Baroque

beyondbaroque.org

(310) 822-3006
681 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA

“Always a blast, writing & poetry at it’s best!”

– L. K. Thayer

“Transformation” by Cecille Valino

I wake up short of breath and I haven’t even run this morning.  In fact, I’m disappointed because I haven’t logged miles at all since Sunday.
I’m disappointed with a lot of things.  And if people knew things about me, they’d be disappointed with me.  I know they wouldn’t’ like the real me.
I think I’ve done a lot, but I haven’t.  There are a lot of things I say I’ll do but I won’t.  I really just want to connect with people.  I don’t want to do so many things.
I want people to like me or at least like the image I put out there, but the real me just wants extra credit.  I want people to say “She’s so good.  She has talent.”  When I don’t.
The real me is not talented.  I have to work hard to do the same things other find easy.  “It’s so easy,” my Dad would say.  But it wasn’t, not for me.
I worked hard and I was ashamed that I had to.  So, I hid the hard work.  I struggled harder to hide the effort.  Because I wasn’t as good.
I wasn’t as smart.
I was dumb.
I am a dumb girl.
If I were really smart, I’d be able to do it all.  And “You’re smart,” he’d say, “so do everything.”

Cecille Valino

Foto by L. K. Thayer

© 2011

L. K. Thayer’s interview with LA Poetry Examiner

Ms. Lisa K. Thayer, one of Los Angeles’ poetry sweethearts…

  • September 30th, 2010 5:00 pm PT

Lisa K Thayer is one of LA Poetry’s sweethearts.  She’s a hands on organizer of poetry with her online “Poetry Juice Bar” as well as co-producer of “The Jazz Poets Social Club” every Sunday evening at Elderberries Cafe in Hollywood.

Ms. Thayer also appears in the highly acclaimed “Waiting For Jack”  a poetry theater event produced by Eve Brandstein, Rex Weiner, Michael C. Ford and John Densmore and presented by Tom Landau’s STUDIO 1520. Lisa will be reading “Ann Waldman’s” poems.

The Los Angeles Poetry Examiner literally ran into Ms Thayer in the crossfire of Internet Poetry Networking, yet another topic we’ll cover in the coming weeks. I thought it necessary to ask the Lovely Lisa a few questions for Examiner…

You are listed with the poets that used to read back in the day with Poetry In Motion, what do think about, that after all these years, the poets are still having at it?

Lisa Thayer:
Great. We only get juicier as we age with our own experience. I’m glad that they are still writing, sometimes it is a matter of life and death, like breathing. It means ‘their creative force is alive and they are listening to it. It’s a beating heart.

How long have you been writing and sharing your poetry?

Lisa Thayer:
I started out as a singer/songwriter (I’ll give you a CD)…for 2 years I just heard melodies and words just fell out, it was really a purging of emotion that I expressed in lyric form, which to me is the same as poetry. Then I didn’t write for a long time until I started studying regularly with Jack Grapes, an amazing teacher in LA. He has inspired me to go into the deep voice and get to the good stuff, so about, jeeze, all in all about 5 yrs. only, 2 1/2 I think with Jack.

Which writers or poets helped shaped your own voice in terms of poetic style, and which influenced you the most?

Lisa Thayer:
Anne Sexton speaks to me the most, with her freedom, madness and no holds barred style, she’s so brave and uncensored. Bukowski of course, Pablo Neruda lately, he’s so romantic and passionate…so many. I’m not really a reader, but I like short poems and can really get a poets style and voice when I study them, I’m an actor, that’s probably why, I have a good ear and am sensitive to where someone is coming from. I love “Bill” Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, actually, too many poets to name here!!

Where did you grow up, does this have a big influence on your poetry?

Lisa Thayer:
I really “grew up” in LA. I’ve lived here over 30yrs. I was born in Fargo, N. Dakota, yes! And was raised outside of Mpls. Minn. where I first got into theatre as a kid. I think the Midwest is a very soulful, honest place to be from, your words really mean something, you don’t just say something to say it, your word is valued more, like gold, really. I was raised on a lake every summer, my grandparents owned a home on Detroit Lakes, where my mother still lives. I always had a good imagination.

Tell me about L.K. Thayer’s Poetry Juice Bar, how long have you been running it and what made you start The Juice Bar?

Lisa Thayer:
Well, it’s funny, “The Juice Bar” is the first named that popped into my head, having to do I guess with “creative juices”…I started out with just my own poetry, I needed somewhere to put it, along with my nephew VC Ferry’s genius photographic images, i wanted to promote him, I still do. Then I invited other people’s work from Jack Grapes class & have recently gotten bit by the foto bug myself (I also created L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish) and that was a year and 80,000 hits ago. I call them “Guest Squeezes.” Things just keep getting juicier! We all do… like good wine!

“Praises From a Tenor Sax”

like salt on a bloodsucker

recoiling, shriveling

paralyzed fits of punishing

pawnshop

reuniting

with the sell-out

the down and out

muck and mire choir

singing

praises from a tenor sax

and a song

you can’t let go of

fill the loving cup

and drink it dry

try to stay away

but you can’t fight

the pull

of the taffy

you get stuck in the

sweetness

and you wanna

die

happy

– by L. K. Thayer

L. K. Thayer’s Poetry Juice Bar

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

Elderberries

Last Weekend!! Jack Grapes & Cast in his play “Circle Of Will”

Photo by Alexis Rhrone Fancher

Jack Grape’s Shakespeare play, “Circle of Will” flat-out flabbergasted me!!” – Lisa Segal

CIRCLE OF WILL opens July 15th for previews and July 16th and 17th and
18th official opening for critics. Would love you to come that opening
weekend to whoop and hollar so the critics will write their review
with lots of whooping and hollaring. We run for 5 weeks with the last
show on August 15th.

National Public Radio called CIRCLE OF WILL “a spectacular
tour-de-force,” and the San Francisco Chronicle said it was “the
cleverest original work seen in a long time.”
We run for only 5 weeks, so hope you can see it.
You can make reservations at
www.plays411.com/circleofwill
or by phone
323-960-7822

Written by Jack Grapes

Previews
Thursday, July 15 at 8 PM

Runs
Fri, Jul 16 – Sun, Aug 15
Thurs, Fri, Sat 8 PM
Sunday 7 PM

Show Calendar

BUY TICKETS
$20 Preview
$30 Regular Performances
Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun

Special Show Info
Running time: 90 minutes.

Macha Theatre

1107 No. Kings Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Parking Lot Parking
Area Map

See You there!! 🙂 🙂 🙂