MYFATHER’STOUNGECRACKS Splits his kids Joshua tree A thirsty like love HOUSETOHOUSETOHEARTS Women as survival use Never latch on HOMELESSNESSFELTCLEAN Remembered the showers New homes, new faces HOWHISLIFEWAXES Dwindles; melts; minus sign in Patches tungsten-stained jeans PREGNANTHEADPAUSES, Causing scenes, embarrassment Whispers, darting eyes ASKINGFORAFRIEND Toxic atom, sharp cherry candy To dislodge his name TOOTHEDRUSTEDBUCK-KNIFE’S Carved effigies, wood curl-tongues Mouths of abused selves WHENHECALLEDME“BITCH” My tear flow held by night, he Low thinks of me so
If I reveal my finer parts
On bedsheets facing the dark
With glints of lights peeking through blinds
Only to spot my flaws between the eyes of the night
What will keep you here
And not roaming? Roaming—
this could be about, too ego
But I know I cannot keep anything for too
Long, I want to protect
This idea of being strong,
Even when I am bare
Inside this dark room, inside of slivers of light,
I am still a flower garden
I just couldn’t bare the crunch
Of wanton and careless
Its about nakedness, its
About the flicker of an electron
And being or being an instrument,
It’s about the fear of times not being
The greatest lover, living up to expectations,
It’s about keeping up a front and the fear of
If I enter you
And by doing so, enter me you
If I pledge to you my heart portion
Bare being and bleeding
Will you still accept me
Naked and shivering? Naked—
The turbulence of it
In front of new eyes, body is new again,
If I give you myself
With nothing but my soul to bare
Split backs grind down;
the carobs, cremes, golds, and caramels all
Tamped into the polished silver portafilter, scalds
to liquid fetish the grounds
appropriating its hearth, its heart and soul
for consumption, now poured
into a fragile white cup, the milky foam
slices into brown heart like a hot white
genes of this espresso. They feel they’ve given the gift
privileged lactose, I watched this
barista take that portafilter, hands stained with
the browns of a moment ago, all
polished, shined his blotted, rouge mouth
his thin face opaque in reflected machine, as he dumped all
those leached grounds out, all
the richness; he stripped, discarded, the tale typical apathy:
one day was on top, they all
loved us, now no longer relevant, no longer in need,
into garbage, a tub somewhere, strung-out.
The exposed brick on wood, the minimalistic
architecture and the hip-hop of my youth trying to
escape this monument to gentrification, this shrine in their own
Image but where would they be without all of the browns grounded of this world?
The jams are consoling and only other presence of color, so I
asked it to stay.
I can feel their curiosity measuring my nose and
The crest of my lips, how’s and whys of my ashy elbows
with their eyes to say, “you are different. Maybe, you don’t
I count, one two three, don’t
At a diner, parenting questioned, cheap coffee tastes like excuses; the stale toast like an elegy recollects lonely druggin’ Denver days and his pop a salesman on Great Plains.
Higher than stomped ceiling; limbs fused to tulip chairs and glazed on the knotted Macramé. Like rounds of tether ball— “That Brazilian Gold,” fire hooked mid ceiling; nights interchain.
Used to sparkle of ruby, plus the smooth fit of an old heirloom—baseball mitt. A past perfect “Contender,” sketches of him drawn with a stick of fusain.
He’s outside Omaha, jeaned, flannelled, stands in the flickering abysm on flat plains. The aurora borealis, he can’t see it though he knows it’s still there, somewhere, plain.
“Pink elephants fox-trotted across the molding and window frame that night,” he said. Acid days, mounds of cocaine, gold fish in the heel of platform shoes; nothing plain.
Out west in Denver, his eyes were set on dying light blending slopes metamorphic. Jealous by what he can’t cut; yearns for no stops, one-way to California as there’s no plains.
“He can’t make fire bleed? White inna white world!” Her mixed son shrugs, eclipsing ears. Fixture at Chris’ and other bums drinking to better days, which won’t come, to put it plain.
Marble bar of Irish Spring son’s traumatized by the instability and homelessness. Renting two rooms out, a husky dog, glass cases, a grandfather clock, slow, drab gongs plain.
That ’98 white mustang: sputtering, a graveyard for cigs, valleys of choking ash. Marks on clothing, marks on skin, that COPD scaring the lungs, wheezing again.
A child left, in an abandoned house and the feeling of wilderness. Your shared genes walk the world oblivious in his privilege; my heart swells of disdain.
How the night was shared in a quartet: a baby’s face, suffocation, excuse, the dark sequenced void. San Francisco bound, sour bottle champagne, a child’s pretenses fizzing over those flat plains.
Stares at a plane ticket, a boarding call, one way in night sky’s abysm, two paths, he takes the easiest. Four children w/o a father—a windless, restless, lonely plain.
Green and gold quilts,
Wet and tangy mildew, damp 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.