Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Nana's Kitchen III (Texas #14)

Aunt A's New Mercedes

Richard and I
drove Aunt A's new Mercedes
so fast: when we got home
I was worried
we would meet
our younger selves.

As we returned into
the driveway,
I was glad to see the skylight
my grandfather just installed
this year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Postcard from South Padre Island (Texas #13)

The Octopus

I was disappointed today
to find Babe's on the Bay
(on South Padre Island Blvd.)
closed. Hushed legend speaks
of a dancer there:

Derek called her "The Octopus"
for some very specific reasons.

Live from Port Isabel: The Law Offices of E.G. "Sandy" Hall (Texas #12)

Helena la Loca de Dos Pistolas

On a trip to Spain in 1989:
a bit of Spanish history
regarding a queen named "Juana la Loca"
captured my grandfather's imagination.

Fifteen years later: my grandmother,
in an attempt to discipline her five cats
now packs two water guns, earning her name:
Helena la Loca de Dos Pistolas.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Nana's Kitchen #2 (Texas #11)

Keepin' It Crill
(Real + Connecticut = Connecticut Real)

This morning I left
the hotel to go to
the house of Seven AMz.
As I pulled

down the road
the sun was coming up
and I leaned down
to turn on some Christmas
on the radio.

As I looked up from the radio
I saw a chipcrunk
dart under the car and
heard a "thrunk"

indicating a fatal encounter
with my back tire. (3rd Coast Stylin'!)

What a Christmas morning omen.
All I could think of was the song

"Please Christmas Don't Be Late"
for the rest of the roll to the house.

Nana's Kitchen: Texas #10 (Live from Port Isabel)

Refugio Is the Mysterious Beginning of the World

Near Refugio:
my brother and I
talk calmly
about the rest of our lives:
I will support these people;
these people will support me:
a reflexive honky equation:
(honky + honky = honky/honky + honky - 1)
where 1 = common sense.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Grandma's House #3 & #4 (Texas #8 & #9)

Dividing With Fractions

The irreducable truth
is: most women
in my family
find mathematicians
irresistable. Witness
this scene in the kitchen:
cousins and sisters
and mothers gather around
to watch my brothers
and my grandfather
playing some sort of

I bowed out
because I couldn't remember
how to divide with fractions.


My Asterisk Divides

To tell an eyeball
how to move down:
break a line, or break

a stanza to move
further along. An asterisk
says "it's over."


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Grandma's House #2 (Texas #7)

The Cloyingly Sweet

Shirley Temple you are slugging
down while watching the live nativity
procession -- none of these five-year-olds
are professionals -- will choke you
with its sugar, and as you drift off
into your Jesus sleep (look at your toes --
they are crossing) you will pray
for just a glass of water
from Santa this year. (Honky!)

Houston, TX #6: Grandma's House

To Drink A Cloyingly Sweet Shirly Temple

I just spent a weekend
pretending to be older/
pretending to be younger
than I am. At the high school
keg party on Saturday night,
the five-ohs showed,
and the honkies went scattering.
So I just stood there and pretended
to be a someone's dad
looking all over for his daughter.
None of the pounders seemed
to notice the beer in my hand.
But that's life on the edge for ya,
as anyone on the edge will tell ya.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Live from Texas: SW Geo #2 (Texas #5)

Stop Here for Quality Products

I was trying to remember something that day,
and today I will try to remember something again.
I was in love with this memory long before I had it;
this memory scares me; this memory pleases me.

On a train ride through Copper Canyon
I never took: I remember this Mexican
in a cowboy hat hooting at honkies;
I remember this waystation where I never stopped.

From the Esteemed Offices of Southwest Geo: Live from Texas #4 (Lubbock)

Memoirs of a Honky

My mother raised me;
I raised my mother. We
were the ones who really
did not want to move
to Lubbock, Texas and
fifteen years out now
none of us can imagine
another place in the entire world.

She's over my shoulder now:
she says "crops are raised,
children are reared." And
I only get my top cropped
at Christmastime.

The John Cotter/Shafer Hall Haiku from Memory Project #3

College football roars:
Stateside: Texas Longhorns hope.
It's against all hope.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

DePoWriMo: Live from Junction, TX, home of 93.5 KOOK!

The Famous Flaco Jimenez / Peter Lorre Connection

In Texas we talk about Flaco Jimenez,
and when my father tells me "Hey, Flaco
looks like Peter Lorre," I say "Yeah,
kinda," even though Flaco Jimenez
looks exactly like Peter Lorre, and
it's been like that for me for years;
Flaco would say "You honkies,
you love each other," and he'd be right,
but I shouldn't say that -- I don't know
exactly what Flaco would say.

Chet Atkins would say "every boy
wears a hat," he'd say,
"a hat to look like his father,"
and he's right, of course:
I wear my cowboy hat every day in New York,
but in Texas my contrary self goes hatless.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

From a Wooden Bunker Somewhere on the Surface of Austin, Texas

The White Rose of the West

The heliotropic nature of the
world at large turns our faces to the West
so some of that warmth will find us: Maureen,
urging us to behave and write our best
because her favorite species: the crested
poetry: flowers cannot bloom on rain
alone, and all living things are nestled
in the caesura of her verse, where cranes
of progress cannot drop things on them. Shame
on ourselves when we're not being rosy,
but we know how to turn it around: shame
itself finds itself shamed by her poesy.
And if anyone tells her she's wonky,
please remind her she's my fav'rite honky.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Live from Texas: DePoWriMo


Where did you get that
grill? Your lip detests it --
it wasn't tested
for a small-mouthed honky;
Texas industry's
toxic epoxy
will slick it up nice.
No chafing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Big Saturday

Elves, Reindeers, Snowpeoples,

Lend us your ears. Sam Amadon and Shafer Hall will be reading at the Four-Faced Liar this Saturday. hosted by Miss Christmas 2005: Marion Wrenn. That'll take place around 5PM at the bar, and then at 8PM we will retire to greater Bed Stuy/Clinton Hill for the Montechillo Christmas Party at 162 Clifton Place (a.k.a. Lucas and Shafer's apartment.) There will probably be an after- after-party at Sputnik, so keep in touch.

To get to the Four-Faced Liar go to 165 W. 4th St. in Manhattan.

To get to Montechillo take the G train to Classon and walk against traffic on Classon. Take your first left on Clifton Place and our apartment is on the right at 165. It has three stone lions in front of it.

Call us if you need Sputnik directions. 917-714-4196.

Much Love and Merry Christmas,

Haiku from Memory #2

Air today is cold.
On every corner today:
bland popsicle gas.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Inimitable Richard Hall

DJs at Rice Radio. I will keep you posted about his DJ slots; in the meantime y'all should stop by and enjoy one of the better free-form radio stations in the country (they stream live on the internet.) Hoot 'em Owls!

Now Begins

a new series of John Cotter and Shafer Hall poems -- Revisited. John and I have written hundreds of haiku word by word, which I will occasionally reproduce here. The kicker: I will not actually open the Word file where our haiku are archived -- I will attempt to reproduce them from memory, with what I assume will be varying degrees of success. I may even ignore the 5-7-5 format, to which John and I adhered quite fiercely. For instance:

What season is it
that makes you all a-flutter?
Winter from here. There?


More So/Less So

My outstretched toes
have all of the mystery
of the less fortunate --
Mister Blister Masochister
keeps the illusion of me
up, and --oh-- it's no illusion
these tireless creatures
work powerfully for balance.

Just like romance --
Allie and Dean Wareham
are such mighty fans
of those headless necks
-- rooftop water towers --
wrapped now in the mock
turtlenecks of snow.
But I am not immune
to their lonely pull,
and --ah-- I am not immune
to such a cool drink of water.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

(loosely from Allison)

Armadillos and Mexicans Make the Best Texans

The Mexicans are re-making Texas,
and the oldest Texans, the armadillos,
are not complaining one bit. Mexicans
and old Texans have a lot in common --
thick skin and litters of lucky number
seven; siete being the most heavenly
word in the Mexican lexicon.

Warren Zevon and Jackson Browne
sing this song about an armadillo
named Carmelita, who will hold
you through the hard times;
hold on to her (your armadillo
or your tough Mexican) when
Texas becomes California and
California becomes Texas again.

Please join us

for the 12 Pubs of Christmas.

Goin' Home Soon

Image hosted by

Photo by Grant Hall


The Fat Lazy Tiger Battles The Sloth

From your forced perspective
my paws, face, and feet meet
to make you look just like me,
sloth, but our fate will be found
in the strange angles of uneaten
Trident and pennies dumped from
the bottom of my shaving kit. Each
stretch of my striped muscles
will intimdate you further
as I laze across this living room floor.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

By Request from Michael Schiavo

Pamela Prefers Rolex, Cartier, and Breitling

Rolex just for the
Ottoman extravagance of it, tacky but
Lovely just the same.
Even in her sleep, the ticking clinks like

Cartier will
Always have her heart; diamonds have a
To beat the blues band.
In comparison
Every other stone can just

Breitling brings to her a new
Respect for time's nautical nature.
Every time the hour strikes,
It strikes her that on the ocean
Time is pure. Rise to set, sailors
Look unencumbered at the sun.
In the sun, she sees herself -- there's
Nothing a sailor would like more.
Get home quickly, boys.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Seasonal Discontent with Tom and Shafer

Now Tom's winter is made warmer
with baseball's meetings, where
men in suits will converge on Dallas
to lament the fact that baseball season
is still many wide months away.

Spring's hope comes late for Shafer
in December with the Bowl Championship Series
laid out before him buffet-style.
And Monday Night Football comes just once a week
this time of year. Shafer shudders
to think of the "S" seasons, sans football.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

December is National Poetry Month!

Don't Worry, I'll Be Right Beside You the Whole Time

Sarah from New Orleans tried marijuana
for the first time in twenty years. This was
last night, and when New York went off the air
for a few hours, her date was so proud
to be elected guardian angel of and by
this spacey chick who he had met
on the internet the week before
while he was surfing strange websites
calculated by programmers
to blow his fucking mind.

Now he was in charge, and the simple job
of escorting her arm
through relatively harmless downtown streets
made him feel like a man. From the first
"I'm feeling a little paranoid"
to the last "Oh god, I'm so embarrasssed,"
he was a clean-cut spiritual advisor,
ethically free to occasionally clear
his throat and say
"don't worry, don't worry, don't worry."

Recent Publications

Discover (or re-discover) more Shafer Hall poems at Kulture Vulture, at No Tell Motel (archive) and at Ducky.

You can also find some new poems in the current issue of the Indiana Review and in the upcoming issue of Jubilat.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Very Freqy Holiday


Please join us tomorrow at 2:30 PM at the Four-Faced Liar for the last Freq of the season and the official Freq of Good Cheer, aka Christmas Freqy or however you celebrate the Holidays. I do it with Bing Crosby.

So c'mon out to hear Carey McHugh, Oni Buchanan, Tom Hummel, and Allison DeFrees, who is moving back to Texas so I added her to the bill without consulting my co-curator, (can you say Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire? I am gonna be in trouble.)

I do hope to see you all there. Snow is in the forecast so let's drink Irish Coffee (or Kentucky Coffee) and get our final Freq on.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Image hosted by

Tonight Lucas Said

"You know, I guess at some point I knew that there was actually a person inside of R2-D2, but it seems strange to me now."

Another Scott Challenge

The G Train Waits Patiently For No One

The patient wait for the G patiently,
which is the only way to wait for the G --
Subway Steve at Rosemary's will tell you stories,
but don't believe him -- the lonely G
is not the object of bad civil planning;
it is predicated only on its own lonely
inclinations: to rumble low
past the closed eyes of these commuters
earnestly praying to get to work on time.

Anatomy of a Poem

Here is the IM conversation that led to the below poem:

Scott: how you doing
Scott: too cold for tennis
Scott: ?
edmonshafer: No I was supposed to meet Jeff but I woke up late.
edmonshafer: Damn me!
Scott: what ekse are you doing
edmonshafer: Doin' a little writing.
edmonshafer: Anything you'd like to have a poem written about?
Scott: hhhmmm
Scott: not being able to profess my true love for tj
edmonshafer: You know, I almost said "anything except being gay." You need to change up your material a bit.
Scott: how about apoem about wine tastings
edmonshafer: OK.
edmonshafer: Maybe I can work both of those into the same poem.
Scott: co-ed naked wine tasting where the grapes dangle from your midsection
edmonshafer: OK maybe YOU should write this poem.
Scott: or a poem about marco and his danglign berries
edmonshafer: Definitely your territory there.

Poem Challenge from Scotty

Where the Grapes Dangle from Our Midsections

At the coed naked wine tasting last night
Columbian Jews leered curiously
at the boys from the 'burbs.

"I'll just flip a coin," Scott said,
"and heads I'll be straight tonight,
and tails my grape stained feet
will be feather-light."

The coin flipped gymnastically
in a grateful arc, and landed
in the museum's vice-president's
wife's wineglass, where
it was determined to predict
that Scott's sexuality for the evening
would be "ask me later."

So Scott ambled aimlessly around
this party that started out pretty fun,
and T.J. shambled home
another lonely Rockland County undone
by the wide vagaries of the City.

The Durge Report

Sybil Durgin is very jealous because Lucas and I spent all night at Sputnik without her. We missed you, Sybil! It's true!

Now maybe I should write a poem or something...

One Thousand Naps Later

It was the Thanskgiving of One Thousand Naps, but I am back now. I missed you.