Pounds of humping field in
Green and gold quilts,
Wet and tangy mildew pricks, you
damp in grays.
A cloud of black,
Effect of the two passages
Where its flesh connects.
Its red eye,
blazes in a dirt pitch,
Dug into a gut where
Thatch, evergreen, and the smell of vanilla lay,
Who to burn for.
Photo, Philosophy, (c) Charles Snyder, 2017
Never Speak Easy, photo essay.
Long Beach, California is rife with talented creative souls. From 2011 to 2015 I had the honor and privilege to find, to hone, to craft poetry with some of these hyper talented people. This is a series of shots that tells a story. I shot these images, I imagine, on a Friday night between 2013 and 2015 at Elise’s Tea Room located on Long Beach boulevard, Bixby Knolls neighborhood. Every first friday of the month (First Fridays) we host a poetry open mic night. This night in particular was special because we had really gifted musicians as well as vibrant spoken word poets sharing the same stage. I believe, when a poet, or a musician performs that that space becomes holy ground. Hallowed. There’s a giving and a receiving as if holding church in this space and the recipiants walk away with a bit of stardust or holy water annointing and healing. There are many open mics in Long Beach and across the world. Poetry is not a new phenomena. Poets or Grios for thousands of years have been doing this work. I was lucky. The crew I am a part of being: Philosophy, Jragonfly Jon, Shy but Flyy, Nerd, and myself Charles Snyder, aka Black Charlie, is something special. This is an homage to these people who I craft with and love. This is an homage to poetry and it’s transformative power which compared to the other artistic corridors I delve in has had the most profound change and impact in my life to date. To Long Beach, CA. Lastly, cheers to all of people who have attended Never Speak Easy events for these several years, thank you!
Personna (In order of appearance, the artists):
The Loneliest Casanova
Michelle Denise Jackson
Shyy but Flyy
Guitarist* (need name)
Hey y’all! I have a poem published in Gypsy Socialite’s new journal, A Gypsy’s Journal. Its their first edition: Freedom! Name of my poem is Vegabond Dreams of the Other Side. It’s on page 5. Check me out!
I still sit in this room
For shorter spells.
I still think about
Blue moon cycles
Blue flame slow.
Is all I have left of you.
On keeping shit outside, it’s like this-
You were telling
Sister a story about how you regret
Not seeing grandpa before he left for higher regions.
Y’all were talking about decisions. You made one
To prove some kind of sense of responsibility,
“I’m a man dammit!” you wanted her to know it, not sister,
But an ex-lover (really to yourself).
You were hella broke and didn’t want moms
Cashin’ out for the plane ticket to Ohio
Though she offered. You wanted your ex to
Respect you. She still didn’t.
Point is you didn’t see him, grandpa (or yourself then),
You and her didn’t last,
You have lived with this regret, this clogged energy.
This was a daft
Process, if you caught yourself in time,
You would have grown
A set of true golden wings, strong, flourishing, working
In higher places, yet
Ornery you were and though you still saw the danger,
You thrusted into it even harder. As a result
You had these make-shift, rushed,
Premature, cheap ass tin foil wings,
You were most definitely burnt by the sun, (you thought you were ready/safe to fly solo)
Boy, did you fall, all that tape and wax, unraveling down like ribbon,
Clawing at the sun, you did, like he was about to help you, you
Couldn’t hold you up
Against the heat, plus that love wasn’t love anyways, wasn’t strong enough
To keep y’all no ways (everyone told you).
Sometimes your stymied heart is more like a stomach,
Best to keep the clogged, rancid, festering energies outside,
But you knew that Anaheim baguette was gonna get you.
You love baguettes.
Loneliness is like this-
I remember this clan of pigeons would
Huddle on the ledge/sill of my northern window
Those variant greys, pecking iridescence, that cypher of gnarly
Cooing, anyways, they shat there, always, I never opened that window.
I like to keep the shit outside.
It still gets in.
Small light in a dark room,
I am that candle
In the corner of the room
Faint but seen
Even when a candle is covered
The light is still seen
If no one sees me
The darkness will
I know who waits there
I know who sits at the corner of my bed
Or holds me during cold nights
Unwavering small light
Truth is, I have always been afraid of the dark
Truth is, I double check my locked doors
And the body begs to give up
But I don’t let it,
I am that small light
In a dark room
Because I can’t let it go out
Even a small light in a dark room
Can be blinding
Even small self-truths
I can’t go out,
I got too many people behind me.
Small light in a dark room,
I am that candle
That little light
Centered in the core
Pit of my belly
It devours what I feed it
Holds it there
As it were the pen acts as
A sculpting tool, gutting light from
Hidden in this fragile glass
It composes it’s self
Warms its shell
Just a small little
Light in the infinite darkness
I am a bastion of hope
When the truth is muddled in a flower
Bed of lies, corruption, deceit,
I am a warm welcome
Inciting the lovers touch
I am a friend
Making the face of a broken heart
I am the purification
Beneath blue moons
Setting free the fear
I am forgiveness
For years of self-affliction
I am the cradle that still holds
Inner child mine
I am the harsh reminder
To never stop writing
I am justice
I am the god cosmic gathering place
I am the glistening smile
Off the burgundy obsidian skin-
That liquid temptation in crystal
I am a molasses delight
Your hypnotic mystery
Watch me fight
The last memory
Or particle fired
Finding a way to always stay
Candle ever burned
It will still remember
That left over waxy husk,
That core I left
In its center