2022-23 Beat Poet Laureate (England)


What is ‘Beat’?

from the forthcoming collection FLUX: the turning leaves

people ask me what is ‘Beat’?

but how the hell should I know? I’m only a human

made of tears, nostalgia, and bits of tomato;

I know but only this reality,

built of bored teacher-words and duty,

built of pain only slightly less than the last guy who wore this suit of loneliness,

but if you’re gonna push me, I guess I’d have to say

it’s some kinda indian Dada blues or be-bop hangover

it’s America sleeping in a doorway

it’s the waving pines

it’s happiness drunk under the moon

it’s being sick of silence but also, at once, kissing it too

it’s the street scene & the sound of winter in your heart

sometimes I’m certain it’s also the state of the nation as it really is

and I’m pretty sure it’s the way the ocean strokes the beach

it’s the hot night of love & pain – not moonlight serenade but instead
the journal of albion moonlight –
it’s the Howl of living –

it’s the falling in love w/solitude and sunlight
it’s falling in love w/love and the first cold beer of the day

but it’s also that blue room of aloneness and the dead face of the door after she’s gone…

and I’ve been thinking recently, I’m pretty sure it’s all that space up there on the mountain-top wide
and the big sky of Montana
and the big sky (when I see it) in my mind

I guess it’s also the warm under the pine-needle treeshade and the wild improvisation of stars

and that sweet evening breeze that blows its soft solo thru yr open window of kindness

at least that’s what I think it is – although that’s mostly what I read with my stoopid mindeyes –

to me it’s wet rainy Wales
Wales Visitation
reading Blake by the Wye, the greenriver summer Wye;

it’s the Beat ghosts of sorrow w/all those friendships formed and failed

it’s the Dharma lines of ‘the Golden Eternity all the way down the Way of Zen & the great Red Wheelbarrow Walden Leaves of Grass

I also feel it in the swallowing of tears to Adrian Mitchell’s Love Songs of World War 3

and, to me,
it’s walking w/vision-phrases of Jack and Allen,
or the sadness of Jan and Gerard

it’s the earth underfoot in the walking meditation
it’s visions of the Buddha of our age
visions of Blake and
trying, oh, trying to build visions of self
from Beatlines of the night-mind
a Ferlinghetti mind
which, as far as I can tell
has spilled beauty everywhere
for everyone –

(c) copyright 2022 Karlostheunhappy
This poem also featured in the National Beat Foundation’s 2022 anthology.

universe reaching out

from OBLIVION: 200 seasons of pain & magic

sitting in school watching the breeze move along the bushes
I see it: the universe reaching out –

reaching out as if one of those uncanny days
when the sun & moon occupy the same sky
or the silent red evening when swallows scythe to feel the breeze in the
cutting of the air –

unseen, she drops tender light inside a raindrop,
spectrum trapped, a world sliding down purple bell of foxglove –

I see her song of moments in memories too:
the pale young-lady wrists of my grandmother peeling potatoes
in cool sinkwater –

oh, sweet universe, you’ve spread across the long dawn of forever as thin waves of creation, have become in us
a child helping his father read,
guerrilla poets dropping free verse at graffiti bus stops in the rain,
even an old lady up late in moonlit Frome writing to Israel for the
Palestinians –

the leap of the whale, fall of a star
ghost of Segovia ringing thru a guitar
explosion of bloom, the multitude of green,
these songs sing wherein universe declares herself –
does so each night under eyes that are closed, gifts us the innate meditate –

we sleep illuminated in the black, in the space between the stars,
breathe soft without knowing
as she breathes thru us cosmos w/graceful touch her waves of nothing –
empties waiting minds that practice the endless from whence we came & go
so that we might ourselves dream instead perhaps hymns of moment,
such as these –

(c) copyright 2022 Karlostheunhappy
This poem also featured in IT (International Times) 3rd September 2002.

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