Salt Lake City, Utah — 20 Comments

  1. The Salt Lake City event will take place at Mestizo Coffeehouse and Gallery, Sept. 24th, 7-10pm. Thank you Terry and Ruby!

    • We probably will run out of time for an open mic, but if you’ve got something to say or sing, stand up and sing whenever the opportunity presents itself.

    The streets are dirty

    Flourishing on the absence of logic

    I build myself an identity

    More on what I have touched and seen rather than

    what is viewed of


    The streets are still filthy

    Branding itself to accompany criminals

    I affiliate with almost all of them

    But it is a sad story to know them as criminals

    not individuals

    The ground is infested with a look of desperation to be reformed

    They inhibit themselves to understand

    The paving and the homeless that live

    and decay in the narrow alleyways

    They think I’m a criminal

    Criminal is being thrown in with the rats

    Labeling this pavement home

    Creating a society

    Building up walls

    They want to understand me

    They are cowards

    Trying to see through walls

    Instead of climbing over

    To accompany me

    and the rats that await them

  3. 100 Thousand Poets for Change: Saturday, September 24 Line-up
    1. 6:45 Tulley
    2. 7:00 Tulley & Andy
    3. 7:10 Angel Collinson
    4. 7:15 Real Food Rising: Mike Evans
    5. 7:25 Harold Carr
    6. 7:30 Steve Creson
    7. 7:35 Chris Robison
    8. 7:40 Lance Newman
    9. 7:45 Diane Fouts
    10. 7:50 Doni Faber
    11. 7:55 Marv Hamilton
    12. 8:00 Dacia Holliday
    13. 8:05 Chris Liebow
    14. 8:10 Luke Williams
    15. 8:15 Alex Caldiero
    16. 8:25 Michael Dimitri
    17. 8:30 Hector Ahumada
    18. 8:35 Maximilian Werner
    19. 8:40 Sugarhouse Review
    20. 8:45 Michael Gills
    21. 8:50 Liam Moore
    22. 8:55 Jeff McCarthey
    23. 9:00 Terry Hurst
    24. 9:10 Gil Van Wagoner
    25. 9:15 Joel Long
    26. 9:20 Zane Hirschi-Neckel
    27. 9:25 Sara Caldiero
    28. 9:30 Ruby Chacon
    29. 9:55 La Farsa

  4. Sea Of Life
    Course Rules

    One person-one boat.

    Each boat is different.

    Everyone can win.

    End the race in your own boat. (No exceptions.)

    Finish Line will differ for each boater and will not be known in advance.

    Plug your own leaks.

    (Recommend your leaks are plugged before trying to plug others’ leaks.)

    Some leaks will require other’s help.

    Damages you inflict to your boat or others’ are your responsibility.

    Some parts of the course must be sailed alone.

    Some parts of the course are easier traveled with other boaters.

    There are enough supplies on the course for everyone.

    Some of the things on your boat are intended for others.

    Some of what you need is on other boats.

    Everything you gather along the way will be redistributed when you leave the course.

    The course is constantly changed so maps are to be questioned.

    Bon Voyage!

    (Wish I had these when I first got on my boat.)

  5. Declaration of Interdependence

    We hold this truth to be self evident—all life is linked.

    We will respect all life.

    We will work as one to ensure balance in all things.

    We will live in peace and respect the peace of all.

    We will focus on our commonality and celebrate our diversity.

    We will share resources.

    We will use our resources for the betterment of all life.

    We will foster positivity in all we do.

    We will be a global family.

    We will ensure all that represent us honor these values.

  6. Joe Hill and a Coffin Filled With Roses (A Series)

    Joseph Hillstrom, Ellis Island American Newborn,
    coming to open arms America where even you
    could be free.
    You walked East to West looking for an honest break.

    In West Virginia you crawled out of the earth lungs filled with coal,
    You ate your meal of dust for a day and a half’s wages.

    In big brother Chicago you worked 14 hours a day
    in slaughterhousebloodslums for their slitthroatwages.

    Oh for spacious sky America
    you longed for great plains stars
    trains moving West
    you got on.

    In Kansas you heard songs of May Day Martyrs and Socialist Saints.

    In Ludlow you saw men mined for their sweat
    by capitalists dressed as undertakers,
    Men who’s caskets are carved made in non-union shops.
    Because the cemetery is
    all union.

    In California you stood on the other side and found her the same.
    The “good” lived off your sweat and built their dream on the backs
    of the laboring man.
    The burden of America
    breaking backs
    of fathers sweating on docks,
    of sons burning in steel mills
    of daughters dying in company houses,
    all in the name of


    Joe Hill
    Newborn American slave of industry,
    Brother of Haymarket
    blood spilt money murdered masses.
    Brother of Ludlow, mine blood and bone,
    Stood on the mountain with his guitar and
    joined the IWW. He took wobbly red and
    wrote songs for those without a voice
    America! ( Continued)
    standing up to the devouring men
    who count their wealth my the husks
    of other men’s lives.
    Joe Hill

    Who were you Joe Hill?
    What was your little red book and its songs?
    I never saw your blue eyes and their
    Norwegian snows

    but I sing your songs.

    “…you will eat by and by in that glorious land above the sky, way up high, work and pray, live on hay, you’ll get by, in the sky, when you die.”

    Few remember you anymore
    your memory lost on your unstrung guitar.

    What were you doing in Utah?

    Were men in need of a voice?
    Did Mammon run free in the mountain of the Wasatch?

    Why did you have to die?

    Tripping Justice

    A gunshot in a grocery store.
    Father and Son, dead.
    The echo of the shot going south
    through the valley.

    Joe Hill shot also, but 20 miles
    away arguing over a woman
    held quite in shadows.

    In Salt Lake City a Father and Son
    dead, Justice demands payment.

    Joe went to the Doctor.
    The Doctor called the Sheriff.
    The Law came for Hill
    Joe told them about the fight
    20 miles away but no one believed him
    because he wouldn’t name names.

    While in the rich man’s prison
    Joe was found to have been with the IWW
    The men of copper and of Zion feared
    the poet of the Wobblies.

    The money masters tripped the blind folded goddess of Justice
    Mammon knelt down and picked up her scales
    filling one side with copper and leaving the other side


    They dragged him
    they dragged him to their judgment
    tongues wagging in parched mouths lying.

    “Confess, Confess!, and we will treat you White.”

    His silence made them angry.
    There were not witnesses, no motivations,
    for him to be accused.

    But there was a higher law in Zion.

    Wobblies red is all they saw
    his words threatened the money masters

    he took their hymns and made them fight songs
    made them glow worker red
    red the color of war
    red the color of blood.

    He was undesirable

    And Jesus shall come as a thief in the night and the police shall arrest him.

    Important men without honor sat in the courtroom
    the checked their pockets and Judge Ritche looked up
    at them smiling. A jury of ear-less men grin


    There is Laughter in the Court.

    A cry went out
    and a thousand voices answered
    and that which was secret was made known.

    Men rose from the wheat with golden beards
    Blackened me climbed out of the earth
    Women came out from the bowels of factories
    and they cried with one voice,

    “Justice for Joe Hill!”

    The supreme court of Utah laughed,

    “Give justice to the lawless, to a man who is silent?”

    Jesus stood before Justice McCarty and said not a word
    and Justice McCarty sent Jesus away,
    “He must have something to hide.”

    Fear of Wobblies Gone Amok

    No pardons in Utah
    Letters, telegrams,
    petitions and prayers
    sat on desks, ignored.
    Fear of Wobblies run amok
    Bloody Pinkertons
    Haymarket detectives of fear
    Dark angels of capital
    stand guard at the House of the Lord.

    No wobbly war, no violence,
    except for Salt Lake Police Officer Major Myton
    Shooting Wobbly Horton for throwing
    insults at him.

    Sticks and stone my break my bones
    but words will get you dead.

    Wobbly poet
    Nothing could change what was to come.

    Caught Dead in Utah
    see that I am buried somewhere else, I don’t want to get caught dead in Utah.”
    Joe Hill

    There were no leaves on the tree in the prison yard.
    Your cell was cold
    They took you and walked out under a gray sky
    Feet shackled
    They sat you on a chair and strapped you in.
    Cinched leather against your waist, chest and arms.
    “Don’t move too much,” said the guard, “you don’t want them to miss.”
    He pins a paper heart to you chest.
    The Captain of the guard opens his pocket watch.
    a crow flies overhead.
    thousands from seas to sea are sing your songs!
    “Aim!” commanded the guard.
    “Yes, aim, let her go, fire!” you screamed.

    Those were your last words.
    6 bullets tore away the paper heart.

    A Thousand Roses

    Joe Hill,
    Wobbly American
    Martyred saint of labor
    your coffin lay quite

    Thousands came to your side
    each bringing a red rose.

    Your coffin was filled with a thousand red roses.
    A Wobbly red roses that still bloom on
    window sills, against fence posts
    and in jails.

    Your ghost forever riding the rails
    looking for those without a voice.

  7. From the introduction to 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Salt Lake City:

    What does a writer do?
    A writer hones his or her
    language, makes it clear
    and private and individual as
    possible. And then you look
    around and see what’s
    happening to the millions of
    people. You find yourself in
    the heart of the crowd,
    saying things that millions of
    people are saying and it’s not
    private and individual any
    more. How do you hold
    those two things down?
    These are very fundamental
    questions. This is why so
    many writers are frightened
    of political engagement. They
    feel is is a risk, and it IS a
    risk, and yet I would rather
    do it than not.

    Arundhati Roy (from The Shape of the Beast)

  8. Proposition

    everything a truck can be in relation to a canyon
    to a river
    like a squirrel to a tree but more guttural

    over passes too
    steep for human hunger
    the trailers slipping down
    the roads like men out of bad dreams
    and we always wake up
    before we hit bottom

    across bridges
    built for fishermen and lovers
    the light of the shortest season
    an army of flagmen
    a heft of metal and concrete
    a prodigal town on the Korean peninsula
    that builds endlessly the way home
    they’ll never see

    throughout the intersections
    of Fort McMurray
    the bored bring their camp chairs
    to watch the checks cashed
    drunks kissing the ground
    whores making the most of a situation
    good and bad children forgotten
    and the crack, the cracks start
    in the ground the forgetting
    starts early

    around the body
    a particle accelerator of viscous

    on the tar sands
    a longing suck like La Brea
    but harder
    it sucks in both directions
    but we’ve got the upper hand
    just apply a little pressure here and here

    out of the patient
    a catheter 1500 miles long
    this will sting a bit
    will weigh heavily on your ability
    will make you lose your breath
    when you turn just so
    and see it gleaming
    across a body incontinent

  9. Imperium (for the last residents to leave Centralia)

    just before the barbarians knock, they allow
    one weekend to burn our leaves and trash.

    once spartan, now faux pas, now refugees
    the oops that sets the minotaur chasing

    its own tail deep in the earth, what sacrifice
    is made when the monster devours itself,

    the great suck it leaves behind, oxygen
    lust pulls in a fawn here, a bicycle there.

    carpet may smolder for hours before
    its frenzy, this place is more kind.

    we take long naps on the crust, dream
    of winter, the steam erasing all but this island

    where children remember the ground, stomp
    to see it breathe, that heat is no error

    indelible, this place unlike all places
    does not mask the violence on which

    we walk, on towards roads that circumvent
    memory or faults, that circle the flickering

    in the night like wolves and coyotes.
    when a single house bursts into flames

    no one around to care, no longer hearth
    but the post and lintel of hell, its curtains melting.

  10. Exam

    age is carefully measured
    in valleys of grinding bone
    the weight of heaven
    on the ankles, knees
    and hips.

    or within the hairline
    cartography of plates
    keeping our selves together
    in the tumbling china
    of our skulls –

    this at least is natural.
    calibration, smallest line
    the vanishing point
    the trajectory
    in either direction.

    harder still is the hole
    observatory behind the ear,
    perfectly round intrusion
    that pulls outside matters in
    with it, vacuum of all

    concentrated life, in this small
    room. a hole behind the ear,
    absence of measurement, edge
    of parietal, ledge of the table,
    frame of the door

  11. Answer Key

    the symptom is monument

    there was a fort here once, now a gift shop


    I don’t remember why it is called Armory Hill

    Specimen 10: adult male; age: 20-25; cause of death; gunshot wound to base of parietal lobe; provenance: body recovered from Golan Heights.

    That is all we know.

    Zion has the sound of electricity. Or orbit. Or ejection.

    we hide the syllabics of violence behind hand-carved names

    triptych of dedication, memorial, stone. behind it, a canvas

    one must show their work. Provenance is often confused for an exotic locale. it is neither.

    meadow. beach. walk. snowfall.

    do not forget how life echoes through a table

  12. Subject: Horizon

    — after W. H. Auden

    Men lieutenant
    their sons, skins

    signed for shields.

    lonely columns. Grief
    loiters in another’s boots.

    The .mpg pitch
    features million-watt

    machinery. Medals
    flicker on fatigues

    congregating for music
    and sweet shoulder meat.

    First-class ships
    glide where olive

    girls manage concrete
    and the thin-lipped

    help can never
    stomach air power.


    No Thanks

    He pilgrimed one night to Baghdad
    to jaw the kids. He told
    them, “Puncture skin and part joints.” Mad
    soldiers asked, “Why so bold,
    boss? Bomblets dust the earth like chads
    dislodged by pickled olds
    in Tampa. As for armor-clad
    hummers–shit, we were sold.”


    Three Poems from the chapbook, “Come Kanab”:

    It wallowed in the swells, looming like a man
    in fog. Joe smoked one more & tracked its drift.
    Inside, slow breakers shuddered it open.
    Ribs cut like teeth through lips when low tide left
    it, sixty feet from nose to tail or more,
    a sorry bag of inch-thick skin, blue-black,
    flapping in knee-high waves. It sagged & poured
    a slick of shiny grease & specks of fat
    from its exploded belly when it drained.
    Joe brooded when he would forget its spine.
    Plovers harvested lice along its flanks.
    A fat tern worried the limp dorsal fin.
    Joe levered with a plank. He worked his way
    deep till he could jack loose a vertebrae.

    Joe rolled through Glamis in the driver’s seat
    of a dune buggy strapped to a tow bar
    behind Stan Johnson’s salt-white motor home.
    Clouds of monarchs emigrated northeast
    & spattered the blue metal flake roll cage
    & spoiler with daisy yellow entrails.
    Fat grackles patrolled the road & inhaled
    corpses like race fans sucking down a keg.
    La fucking migra tailed him all the way
    through salt-killed fields & asphalt whoopdedoos
    past the Chocolate Mountains thru fields of blue
    primrose & mallow to Palo Verde.
    Joe scrambled for the tamarisk, laid low,
    & lost that punk in the Colorado.

    Joe whistled at a golden mongrel standing
    on the shoulder. It growled & eyed his hands.
    It kept tugging at a piece of roadkill–
    raccoon, bird, or maybe a shattered squirrel.
    He rushed that skinny dog & barked, You’re dead!
    It hunched forward, dropped its block of a head,
    focused on his knobby knee. Joe swung wide,
    scanning the shoulder for scraps, singing loud.
    I’ll keep the pieces they throw away,
    washed by rain & dried by sun. I’ll make
    a solid meal to feed muscle & blood.
    That mongrel worried a bone, weighed Joe’s words.
    They leave me their leavings, their slag & burrs.
    I’ll weld up a plow & plant us a world.

    “Come Kanab” is available free on the web at

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