Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Rant On An Open Mic

Frank Moore and Corey Nicholl reading Frank's poem "A Rant On An Open Mic" at Spasso's Cafe in Berkeley, August 1995.

We found out that the host of this very popular, very influential poetry series was the person who was going around town and removing fliers from the telephone poles. Putting fliers up on telephone poles is the most effective and sometimes the only way of letting people know about an event if it is not mainstream and covered in the newspapers. Frank had had Corey "out" this host at a previous night's readings (the host denied it was him) and as a consequence the host had banned Corey from reading at the open mic portion of his series. So, we showed up at the next reading and Frank had Corey sign Frank up to read as part of the open mic and of course had Corey read his poem. As you can see the host was extremely gracious to both Frank and Corey.

As part of Frank's introduction to his poem being read he says "I am starting a series of art and poetry posters that we will put up on telephone poles all over the Bay Area. I am accepting stuff for it." You can see a poster with a poem written by a local poet from this series here: And here is the poem Frank wrote for this series called "Naked Poles":

Frank's poem that Corey reads in this video is here:

a rant on an open mic (from

the open mike
is the most democratic channel...
well maybe except for hyde park sproul soapbox freedom.
anyone can sign up
to step up to bat,
step up to the mike
and into the sacred belljar
where art poetry is free to expose truth,
free to use whatever it takes,
whatever style it takes to expose truth...
that is, until your given time runs out
and hooks you around the neck and yanks you
from the belljar stage.
but in the belljar channel
you are in danger testing, crying, being so sucking bad that both
you and they curse your birth, sharing found ideas, listening to
the silence and the polite clapping greeting your bombs or to your
ravings of rage that hit too close to home, messing up the nice
polite parlor.

entering the open mike belljar is a leap into uncontrolled
possibilities, uncomfortable quest through good bad boring
embarrassing and sometimes magical.

nobody owns the belljar,
except when you are in the channel,
in the pipe behind the mike,
holding the modern talking stick
until it is time to pass it on to the next.
but the talking stick is everyone's,
for anyone with something to express.
if one is banned, censored, from holding the talking stick
just to punish, just to protect a neat fragile nice order,
we all are banished from the sacred talking stick which becomes
just a cock that we rub.

i get worried if my words and images fit through veins clogged
with fatty taboos of polite appropriate of comfortability.

i get the art that small that it fits through that
pinhole of a small that nudes on the walls, words on
telephone poles, any shift in the social power structure threatens
the very reality fabric.

i'm too proud to admit the art poetry is that small.
so my art becomes a roto-rooting balloon covered in razors
tipped in draino acid,
pushing pressuring uncomfortable unsocial grinding against the
grain until the killer fatty clots of taboos burst out the other end
and go down the drain like trouble.

i don't really go after the hitlers, the mccarthys, the helms,
or their brown shirts.

they are just limp-dicked power-junkies with swiss-cheese egos,
each hole filled with inferiority. they are just moons with no
power light of themselves, just reflecting fear.

no, i go after the nice people who never asked where the trains
were going, boxcars filled with people. didn't have to. only
suspected, only heard rumors...after all, the general is a friend.
never said, excuse me, i am a jew too, a jap too, a gay too, i've negro
blood running in my body, aids too. i'm a commie who took home
movies of our nude kids. so better put me on that train too. better
put us all on that train. there ain't no train big enough!

i go after the nice people who keep going to work after seeing
their friends missing, after hearing rumors of blacklist and
blackball. must write something about that subject to THE TIMES.
he used to be such a pleasant fellow...but now he is a whining
paranoid...not a sort to have to tea. he is like a wet messy fart.
not in my backyard!

yes, i go after nice people. but my time in the belljar is about over.
so i'll leave you with this. what is happening in your backyard is
what really matters. so be sure to weed!

© 1995 Frank Moore
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