Monday, October 01, 2007

The Beat Goes On: Janine Pommy Vega, new from Longhouse

I haven't had a chance to explore it yet, but this is news worth passing along right away -- Here's Bob Arnold's latest groundbreaking offering from the noted California poet:

28171. Vega, Janine Pommy. "Across the Table (CD)". Janine Pommy Vega, 2007. Audio CD. Signed by the poet. Exclusive distribution from Longhouse: full color glory booklet, poems & music of Janine Pommy Vega with friends Across the Table (CD). Twelve poems - the first seven recorded in Woodstock, NY. by the poet, the last five pieces recorded in concert in Italy and Bosnia from 2002 through 2005. With photographs by Pier Paolo Iagulli. The musicians at the table are Nina Sheldon, piano; Betty MacDonald, voice; Michael Esposito, bass; Maurizio Carbone, percussion; Ferdinando Gandolfi, flute; Carmela Cardone, harp; Gaspare Di Lieto, piano; Giovanni Amato, trumpet; Gianluigi Goglia, bass; Stefano Tatafiore, drums, Riccardo Morpurgo, piano; Marco Collazzoni, sax; Luca Colusi, drums; Almir Nezic, bass; Janine Pommy Vega, shaker & voice. The ultimate poet troubadour's show of many shows! The poems performed: Habeas Corpus Blues, There Was A Woman, Madre di Tavolieri, Food Song, Mean Ol' badger Blues, The Green Piano, Across the Table, Mad Dogs of Trieste, Ode to Slippers, The Draft, Musician. Come gather. . Music / Poetry / Compact Disc. $15.00

Check Bob's shop of poetry at

And here's a recent one of Pommy Vega's poems as it appeared in an issue of Big Bridge:

Mad Dogs of Trieste
( for Andy Clausen)

We have never been in a war like this
in all the years of watching
the street at 3 a.m.,
kids lobbing cherry bombs into garbage cans
the last hookers heading toward home

It used to be, stopping in Les Halles cafes
after a night we could find the strong
men from the market
and the beautiful prostitutes
resting in each other's arms
Le Chat Qui Peche, Le Chien Qui Fume
alive with Parisian waltzes, his hands on her ass
We could pick up raw produce from discard bins
and have lentil stew for tomorrow

Things have never been like this.
Cops square off against teenagers in the village square
take the most pliant as lovers, and re-rout the rest
into chutes of incarceration
The mad dogs of Trieste
we counted on to bring down the dead
and rotting status quo, give a shove here
and there, marauder the fattened and calcified order,
have faded like stories

We used to catch them with their hat brims
keeping most of the face in shadow
and sometimes those voices
one by one
turned into waves
like cicadas in the August trees, whistling
receding, and the words crept under
the curtains of power, made little changes,
tilted precarious balance, and brought relief

Those packs don't crisscross the boulevards
now in the ancient cities, no political cabal
behind us watches the world with
eyes entirely
the lyrical voices rainbow bodies
your friends my friends nobody left
but the mad dogs of Trieste as we
cover the streets.

Willow, NY, August 98.

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