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Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

“Whiskey River,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Creativity, Humanities, Poetry on July 22, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

Whiskey River

Willie committed to stay after every show
on stage, signing autographs until the last
item was signed. My wife’s merch hat cost dough.
50 bucks?!” She was mad at my gift. I sassed
her stinginess, hurt, sipped my pricy whiskey.
Our tix, an in-law’s X-mas gift. Will ancient,
but Shotgun stepped on stage, nailed a couple nifty
licks on Trigger. T-shirt black, skin crepe. Patient,
the packed, tiered casino venue breathed as one.
Then his voice, his band and Whiskey River broke
open the roar. The room lifting: people up! Cheering his runs
on that battered guitar. The troubadour smoked
out riffs like Hendrix would’ve in his eighties. Will played long.
My wife, joyous, alive! Will signed her hat, then was gone.

“Branson,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Creativity, Humanities, liberal arts, Poetry on July 15, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

Branson

The Live Music Capital of the World wasn’t good.
We were stuck in one spot. Artistically,
it sucked,” said Mickey Raphael. Willie should
not have committed months without simply
talking to Mark, his business advisor,
but Tillis brought tequila, weed, smiles. Shotgun
signed to play the venue-town for guitar survivors
in need of steady short sets, repeat forever. Fun
for some, sure, merchandise, tourists, but for outlaws?
No freedom. Still is still moving for Will, but no bus
was a cell. In the Ozark motel, Mark saw
the sleeping bag, the tent pitched on carpet. This deal’s a bust;
rust, not freedom. “Get me out of here!” Willie blamed
the road for his pain, but Branson was prison, just loss, just fame.

“Pancho & Lefty,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, liberal arts, Poetry on July 8, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

Pancho & Lefty

Willie and Merle were compared to bookends. Look
at the two brothers…and their shelf of music history!
They had a tour planned before Merle shook
off the world on his birthday. Penitentiary
life marked him early, double pneumonia stole
him from fans and family, 79. The Hag kept
on the fighting side until the end: playing shows,
recording Django & Jimmie with Will. His lungs ripped
from hard-living’s disease. Back in the Eighties, sleeping
in his tour-bus, Pedernales studio, 4:00 am, Will knocks,
needs Merle for a last tune. Not later, now. One take. Meeting
Shotgun the next day, Merle thinks about his vocals, talks
to Willie. Can we do another take, get it perfect? Will grins
The tape is sent. Townes Van Zandt’s song hits #1, wins.

“Mentors & The Road,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry on July 1, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

Mentors & The Road

Willie Nelson and the Record Men drove
from Stamford to Los Angeles, thirty-two
hundred miles for one gig — sixty-nine hours. Rode
fifteen-thousand miles in eighteen days, tunes
on the AM dial in the Merc’ station wagon.
Willie promised Paul, “I’m going to make it
up to you.” Cash did TV with Dylan.
Waylon sold more. Willie played sad tunes, no hits.
Sinatra fan, he chose shifting beats, tried
jazz-style vocals to country crowds. Proven band
guys mentored unproven: “…that shit ain’t gonna fly.”
We were learning cool tunes.” Bee said. “…jammed
jazz. Older guys taught the younger guys.” Soon
Will bought an Open Road Camper. They kept paying dues.

“Paul English — Leadership Lesson #2,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry on June 24, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

Paul English — Leadership Lesson #2

Paul & Willie looked in Devore’s on Vine and Sunset:
Willie with long hair, Paul with black ‘burns, black beard.
They saw a black cape. Will said, “You have to have that!”
“The devil was the prettiest angel in heaven,” leered
Paul. That night in L.A., drums circled with dry ice,
Satan hammered his kit. Fifteen girls wanted his autograph.
The angel that fell from grace was a good fit. Vice
paid bills in Waco, but now music was the path.
The two friends had loyalty & style. “We dressed hipper
than most in Nashville…that’s what I liked about Willie.”
The plan? “…being with best friends.” Values? “A character,”
Paul said, “means exactly what he says.” Reliability.
“A character has got to have a lot of character.”
It means respect. Treat people right…& carry revolvers.

“Charlie Pride,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Poetry on June 10, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

Charlie Pride

Charlie’s first night was in Dallas. Pride
joined the Willie Nelson package tour.
Marty Stewart told Willie: hire him! To ride
with the boys, Pride’d work for change. Still, you’re
hiring a black country singer…Crash asked, “Don’t you
worry about taking him into Dallas, Fort Worth,
San Antone…all those places?” Redneck rooms
aren’t gonna be happy on (non-Austin) Tejas turf
for Country Charlie from Mississippi.
But Will liked the man’s music. Piss folks off?
“I don’t know,” Shotgun said, “Let’s go see.”
Charlie, at the mic: “Don’t let this permanent tan fool you.” Tough
work to win that crowd, but Pride was strong & good. The South
was his home, too. Post-show, on stage, Willie laid a kiss on Charlie’s mouth.

“The New Path,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Poetry on June 3, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

The New Path

In the middle of the night, he saddled up his pony
& went for a ride. Willie’s Red-Headed Stranger,
1975, burns with vengeance, loss, hate. The story,
blended tunes, sparked on the road, compiled at home. Murder,
a preacher tormented. “Love is like a dying ember…” Crying
blue eyes, a now famous cover from the 15 tracks.
Raw production worried everyone. Who’s buying
this? “That album isn’t going to sell shit.” It’s a fact.
“Did he make this in his living room?” Career-ending
mistake! But outlaw Willie trusted himself. Bee Spears,
bassist, believed the boss’s instincts, not second-guessing
the man. Blue Eyes was a smash! Willie had traveled, performed; years
of living hard. Booze got him mean. Couldn’t quit tobacco. His fate?
Filled his empty cigarette pack with joints. Lung cancer took his dad in ’78.

“The Lamp & the Rider,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Poetry on May 27, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

The Lamp & the Rider

Out my window is San Jacinto, the snow
sharp, peaked, crisp-white at pandemic
lockdown, Day One. Five weeks later: the peak glows,
pale white, at dawn, past my curtains. Anthemic
sirens insist someone has another crisis:
fire, crash, crime…our other tunes of bad news.
My wife said only 26 in our town, so far, have the virus.
This COVID concept album won’t stop the blues
of yellow desert birds in Coachella. They fly,
sing: “Eat, live, Saturday!” Tuesday, my sons camped
in our backyard tent — just boys. Me on the lawn under the sky,
old, but happy & know I’m lucky with Sherelle. The lamp
I lift as people die? Teach, write, help young heroes fight failure.
But who is the rider that cries like a baby, screams like a panther?

“Lost After Willie: The Show,” A Poem by Bruce Craven

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Poetry on May 13, 2020 at 6:45 am

Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.  The book is currently being translated into Russian and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter will be published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Coachella Valley in California.

 

Lost After Willie: The Show

Roger drove us in his Pinto to Universal
Amphitheater, North Hollywood, to see Willie.
1980, before Roger’s second year in the universe
Of Texas A&M. Two women from New York City
Sat beside us. We were drunk, Roger & me.
Forty years later, I still remember bugging
the women, who were quiet, distant, looked Jewish.
“New York?! Really? Hilarious!” Forty years later, judging,
Is what I think I never did, remembering innocence.
How could north eastern women get references
Of the West? I was blind to my blindness, nineteen.
Roger and I must’ve talked ‘bout College Station. Hurt
The enemy! Roger wanted Apocalypse Now. He’d seen
The future. War. He wore creased Wranglers, Western boots, ROTC shirt.

“Saint Stephen,” A Poem by P.W. Bridgman

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Poetry on February 26, 2020 at 6:45 am

P.W. Bridgman is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer of poetry and short fiction. His most recent book—a selection of poems entitled A Lamb—was published by Ekstasis Editions in 2018. It was preceded in 2013 by a selection of short fiction entitled Standing at an Angle to My Age (published by Libros Libertad). Bridgman’s poems and stories have appeared in The Moth Magazine, The Glasgow Review of Books, The Honest Ulsterman, The High Window, The Bangor Literary Journal, The Galway Review, Ars Medica, Poetry Salzburg Review and other literary periodicals, e-zines and anthologies. Learn more at www.pwbridgman.ca.

Saint Stephen[1]

Did he doubt or did he try?
Answers aplenty in the bye and bye
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills
One man gathers what another man spills.

“Saint Stephen”
by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia

Stephen embraced an old word, dredged up from obscurity by chance:
a word encountered in the florid prose of Edward Bulwer Lytton.
It lodged in his mind, fastened itself to his meditations.
Despite its modest provenance, the word captured just what he was seeking.
Indeed, it was le mot juste, the inevitable word. The word was ‘pellucid’.
Its crystalline perfection scorned all that his murky faith held high.
Clarity was what was missing. As conviction rises, so falls mere belief.
But mired in mere belief (a qualified belief at that), he longed for discernment,
for the bright line. Stephen’s tiresome questions made his priest wonder and sigh:
Did he doubt or did he try?

The agile mind is an unruly horse. An honest priest will admit as much.
This was Stephen’s conundrum. He yearned to rise above mere belief.
He sought conviction. He pursued a considered acceptance of doctrine.
But his unruly horse’s hooves kept kicking up dirt, leaves and twigs.
Between him and the bougainvillea beyond—so rapturously beautiful—
his agile mind always interpolated a dusty thicket of doubt and, try
as he might, it would not clear. Far indeed from a pellucid view!
Did God expect him simply to check his intellect at the door?
Stephen’s priest shushed him with the same, drooping battle cry:
‘Answers aplenty in the bye and bye’.

A more-than-usually-competent London solicitor, Stephen had nonetheless taken
a modest position with a not-for-profit. He wrote scholarly articles
on the law of trusts. His treatise in the Modern Law Review urging
a more liberal use of the cy-près doctrine was cited by the House of Lords
twice in decisions worth millions to struggling charities. NGOs were elated,
residuary beneficiaries dismayed. Evermore like Blake’s ‘dark satanic mills,’
the banks were overdue for a reminder that Law comes qualified by Equity.
Stephen was quietly pleased to have prompted it.
Long live principles first set down with quills!
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills!

It was his beloved Forster’s Howards End that confirmed Stephen as a small-s socialist.
Mr. Wilcox’s portentous words to Margaret caused the book to tumble from
his twenty-year-old hands: ‘The poor are poor, and one’s sorry for them,
but there it is… As civilisation moves forward, the shoe is bound
to pinch in places.’ Bloody, bloody hell. He set his face, indeed his life, against all
the Henry Wilcoxes, in time using Equity to thwart them, to challenge their wills.
Now, there was a confirmation worthy of the word. Law and Equity gave him nuance
and subtlety to be sure, but unlike scripture, they supplied some bright lines too.
And tools to make the shoe pinch where it should. Scalpels. Mallets and drills:
One man gathers what another man spills.

 

 

[1] This decidedly English glosa takes its source poem quatrain (its cabeza in Spanish, from whence the glosa form is derived) from the song, ‘Saint Stephen.’ The song appeared first on the Grateful Dead’s album, Aoxomoxoa, and then again on Live/Dead. Both LPs were released in 1969 (the year the present poet turned 17).

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