Wednesday, April 30, 2014

National Poetry Month: Fred Nettlebeck


"Bang a Gong" 
to Paul Harrison
(Fred Nettlebeck)

3 or 4 bottles of tussin
and a couple vics I'd
be good to go taking
down a bank on new year's
eve all those fat tellers
already dripping juice
in anticipation of that
greatest night of pre made
margaritas and maybe a
dildo stuffed with coppertops
if the greaseball they
came with keeps singing
fucking karaoke as the
clock strikes twelve but the
last time I borrowed a
pistol the crankster got pissed
because I didn't even
blow my brains out just kept
writing insipid poems and
he trusted me man and that
was his first mistake so
if you ever do get a piece
just put together the puzzle 

"Bang a Gong" by Fred Nettlebeck was originally posted on the poet's website, Sewing Memory. Nettlebeck [1950-2011] might have been an American poet in the style of Han Shan (Cold Mountain), describing a world of jukeboxes, booze, and sand instead of rivers, villages, and mountains. An observant reader gets the idea that Fred really wouldn't care for that comparison, though -- Fred was too much cantankerous flesh and bone and blood to be quiet about such things. His self-published collections include No Place Fast, 1976; Bug Death, 1979; Americruiser, 1983. His literary magazine, This Is Important (1980–1997) published Bukowski and a rising generation of west coast poets. His final book, Happy Hour, was published in 2010: as his own poetic epitaph puts it, "2009 marks four decades of me being a published poet in this once greatest country so try and find any of my books in your local bookstore and you’d be shit out of luck yet if I had similarly wasted my life doingalmost anything else I could be retired by now with a modest check and better teeth but all I’ve got to showare consequential words across an empty white space." Fred's manuscripts, poems and papers are now at the Ohio State University archives.

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