Friday, 12 August 2011

Chris Port Blog #312. Press Release for '100 Thousand Poets For Change'

Michael Rothenberg has recently issued the following press release for 100 Thousand Poets For Change (available as a PDF document at

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Michael Rothenberg, Founder
100 Thousand Poets for Change
P.O. Box 870
Guerneville, Ca 95446
Phone: 305-753-4569

Poets Worldwide Unite for the Truly Historic "100 Thousand Poets for Change" Event

Poets in 350 cities representing 70 countries are currently organizing the largest poetry reading in history with over 400 individual events scheduled to take place simultaneously on September 24th to promote environmental, social, and political change.

Poets, writers, artists, and humanitarians will create, perform, educate and demonstrate, in their individual communities, and decide their own specific area of focus for change within the overall framework of peace and sustainability, which founder Michael Rothenberg stated, “…is a major concern worldwide and the guiding principle for this global event.”

Bob Holman and Margery Snyder, in a recent article on said, “the beauty of the concept of 100 Thousand Poets for Change is that it is completely decentralized and completely inclusive.”

The events range from a poetry and peace gathering in strife-torn Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to poets in Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona reading poems to each other across the border fence. There are 13 events in Mexico City alone, 24 events planned in India and 7 in Nigeria. Poetry demonstrations are also being organized in political hotspots such as Cairo, Egypt and Madison, Wisconsin. Along the Platte River in Omaha, Nebraska poets will be demonstrating against TransCanada’s planned Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

More examples of events can be easily accessed on the home page of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change website at

All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

Each city organizer and their community has an individual Event Location blog page on the main website for posting written material, poetry, artwork, photos, and video to document this global mega-event across national borders.

Immediately following September 24th all documentation on the website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will archive the complete contents of the website,, as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.

Founder Michael Rothenberg is a widely known poet, songwriter, editor of the online literary magazine and an environmental activist based in Northern California.

For information contact:
Phone: 305-753-4569

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For further details, please see:

100 Thousand Poets For Change

100 Thousand Poets For Change

Southend Contribution to: 100 Thousand Poets for Change

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Here are some of Marty Gull's recent political poems...

Each day I eat a hearty last meal.
It’s tinned soup,
but I eat it heartily.

Then I drink a hearty cup of coffee
Thames brown from yesterday’s dregs,
piecing together a ciggie from fag ends.

The day slacks ahead
like a limp elastic band.
I stretch out the cramp.

A bankrupt system is a terrible thing.
Your creditors took your principles.
I threw mine bricks.

A man can exist on soup and dregs.
But what kind of man
stuffs his face with lies?

Old friend, you were fair
when the weather was fine.
Why judge me so poor now?

You pass me in a shop doorway.
I look you in the eye.
You look down.

It’s only the stench of piss
and irritation. But still.
You couldn’t look me in the eye.

The pretence of fumbling
as your fingers filter coin sizes
embarrasses me.

When my teeth fall out,
I’ll throw them to you instead.
I don’t need them to chew soup.

I’m no elephant, but if they can make
ashtrays out of human ears,
lampshades out of skin,

brothels out of children,
surely you can find a place
for my little ivories?

Perhaps you could string them together
into a kitsch necklace?
A man should always be of use...

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A Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mice
© Chris Port, 2010

The mouse reared up
before the cat
and raised a steady paw,
and said
“Before we come to that
we first must come to Law.”

“Before my Maker
I am pleased
to have God-given right
to liberty,
a little cheese,
and certainly my life.”

The cat was rapt,
her nose was wet,
her eyes suppressed a cough;
then quite expectedly
she bent
and bit his head clean off.

And as she sat
upon the mat
digesting food for thought,
she mused
“The only truth is that
rich words are for the poor.”

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And Today We Have Teaching of Drones
(with apologies to Henry Reed)
© Chris Port, 2009

I love to listen… Problem is…
The silences…

Their dead skin hangs in the air…

Pollen teases a nasal hair-
trigger but there is no sneeze…

Instead of release, something bigger…
I’m aware…

On the edge of no breeze…
there’s a thin dry rasp…

A mad bee sawing
at sun, wood and glass…

A garden in the glare
but it’s view is pitiless…

The open bay window
beyond its wits…

I kill it.

A drone (my own) parched monotone
searches the wallflowers…

I dream of moist honey…

The filling of a pail… the lighting of a fire…
shrivels into blisters on the windowsill…

Oh you have been used… money emptied by the bucket
over damped twig minds that refuse to spark…

Fuck it.

How I long for that first soft bruise of dark
to punch their sunlit faces…
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Anthem for Doomed Boys
(with apologies to Wilfred Owen)
© Chris Port, 2010

What classroom tells of these who have no future?
- Only the pointless orbit of the sun
Only the joyless poet’s turgid torture
Can flatten out their wasted horizons.
No jobs to see now for them; no cars nor fuel
Nor any choice of transport save the prisons
The dull, cemented prisons of failing schools
And sirens wailing for them like mad fun.

What manhood must be sold to feed a bride?
Not in the eyes of girls, but in their son
Shall stare a lonely father forgotten.
The anger of boys’ hands shall be their pride;
Their power a wireflex round lowered head,
And each grey dawn an empty space in bed.

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The Grim Pill's Progress
© Chris Port, 27th June 2011

It never stops:
no journey’s end,
for when the road’s a cunt
I’ll tear up rocks
behind and mend
the broken earth in front.

It’s good to walk
with thoughts for friends
and silence like a shout
until the talk
of dusty men
comes up the track with doubt…

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When all mysteries are explained away
men will still lie awake in winding sheets,
- mere ghostly shapes in the fabric of space -
measuring the dark with their small heart beats.
Master of fears, hearing nothing singing,
do not ask “Who is this who is coming?”

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I saw him once
at a distance.
I saw nothing
in his clothing
or face to sense
his sad offence.
He disturbed me
The flickering
of a crow’s wing
across the sun
is quickly done.
But a sudden
fear is summoned.
There’s an aura
around horror
and our futures
must obscure us.
When I saw him
I saw nothing.
A man planning
his own hanging?
What can you say?
Are you OK?
Time must move on.
I trust I’m wrong.
But with the damned
I never am.

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The Third Déjà vu
© Chris Port, 9th March 2011
(with apologies to William Butler Yeats)
[and fond thanks to Cooper, the worst gun dog and best fun in the world]

Walking and walking on the narrowing beach
The gun dog flips an ear, the gun winds screech;
Castle walls slip; a moat has overflowed;
Mere entropy is howling at the stones,
The soapsud tide is foul, and every turd
A crowning glory, anointed underfoot;
The mad have heard the future, while the herd
Are full of it, pocket bells jingling.

Surely Apocalypse Now was a film;
Surely this third déjà vu is a film.
This third déjà vu. Quicker than retina
The mind’s afterglow of some childhood lava lamp
floats in my eye: long ago in a silent car
A boy white as milk like a cub weaned from the darkness,
A window gaze reflective as the moon,
Is shifting his cramped thighs, while all about him
Sit shadows of the adults like Hitchcock’s crows.
The rainblows beat the panes; but now he knows
That twenty empty years of questioning stares
Were just their nightmares, stoning him awake.
And what salt breeze, cut to the bone at last,
Now pushes his back towards the answer?

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In the June heat
Vagrant Magritte
paints the pavements
an odd fish
like a moon who’s
lost his planet
and just orbits
an abyss.

Lunatics live
in the crevice
where a minute
stops a day
under bridges
sunless faces
like crevasses
drop away.

It takes talent
and bank balance
to keep spinning
all your plates
and you’ll wobble
like a bottle
if you step in
someone’s face

Do not weep, dear
men just sleep here
and your rash tears
wake his thirst
but there’s no beer
without cash, dear
so there’s no beer
for the cursed.

On his birthday
men did once say
hip hip hooray
long ago
as he listens
to the distance
for a song he
used to know.

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