Tuesday, January 24, 2023

DC reads from Anvil Tongue online editions (YouTube)

For Stark & Saint Redwood's YouTube channel, I read some poems last night. Opening with a reading from this website, which is followed up by readings of past online editions of Anvil Tongue, including poems by: Joshua Merchant, David Hay, Anthony Seidman, Rusty Morrison, Angela Acosta, Paula Cisewski, James Cagney, Heller Levinson.

Anvil Tongue, a small press and online poetry publisher, can be found on the web, here.

Sunday, January 22, 2023


One true glimpse of this candle
Is more philosophy than thousands of words from Wittgenstein

I spit at the books of each & every dead philosopher
(except for Nietzsche who is alive, bless him)
Too many words, too many thoughts
You bastards did nothing!
But think about thinking!
You sicken me more than red spiders hatching eggs behind my eyes!
You sicken me more than people portraying snakes!
You sicken me more than money! More than myself!

Someone please forgive me
I'm bored with the poets
Constantly on about what is and isn't poetry

This morning reading Jim Harrison again:
"One day my love I'll see your body from the left side of my face"

I'm going to sleep, not at all right in the mind
Wake me up with a philosophy that reckons with the primacy of experience
Wake me up with a philosophy simple & to the point

One true glimpse of this candle
And I touch the ashes these words are destined to become—

A RELATIVE MADNESS © 2023 Daniel Cyran

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

DC Reads Michael Lee Rattigan, Alejandra Pizarnik, Barton Smock, and Charles Simic

Fuck it, I'm doing this. This time around I will try my best to not delete my channel, ha.

The truth is I was struggling with my art, with my poems for the better part of 2022. So one way I figured to lend myself a bit more kindness, and patience; is to record some of my time with other poets and their work. I hope documenting this in a readings series will be beneficial, both to myself, and perhaps, to anyone out there who may stumble upon these videos.

Please forgive the rambling, as speaking on camera is not exactly my forte right now, and I think I woke up a bit towards the middle of the reading. One problem I had with my previous video readings is that they felt too scripted. Too mechanized, so I wanted to try an impromptu reading @ 10 p.m. -- going off the cuff and just riffing a bit. 

Anyways, I chose to group these poets together because they seem to be of similar ilk. There seems to be a common thread woven throughout the poets presented here tonight. Since this was totally impromptu, it is highly possible that further meditations will likely happen off-camera. 

Without further ado though, here's the video of my reading of Michael Lee Rattigan's Liminal, Alejandra Pizarnik's Extracting the Stone of Madness, Barton Smock's rocks have the softest shadows, and Charles Simic's The World Doesn't End

Friday, October 14, 2022

I wrote a poem after seeing a friend's artwork...


Untitled, by Koss

after Koss

is it the rage of the gods 
or is mother Earth simply a woman who won't be fucked with
the drunken gods mad with humanity
this planet Earth at the brink of inhabitability
an alien species siphoning oxygen from the soil to study on a distant planet
the engine of time & space reckoning with parallel universes
dust in the wind candles in the mind fortresses in the hidden air
clouds made from fists in circles drumming dust on the moon dust in the air dancing thorn’d music
dust yet to become reigning limitation
i feel my own size everywhere standing breadth depth everywhere circling revolving 
orbiting the unbegun
i'm begging! 
the sky is the window to the soul!
with my eyes two overflowing begging bowls
the sky is the window to the soul!
who's inside looking out who's outside looking in—
owl eye sees it coming from miles away
knows what will happen before it happens
owl eye seized in becoming 
cloaked in reverie
stillness overthrown omni 
2,000 hands in the sky drumming cyclones birthing magnanimous 
a headless chicken in a cosmic yard of ascension
the air prefers swarms of altitude
Kali flowers build & destroy middle paths a peeling back of the senses' white knuckles 
on the wheel of good fortune
on guard the god of thunder tired of heard not seen like a dumb thief surges of wind unforgotten 
the mind of universal wisdom
the unseen's lifting the air with the same wisdom woman is able to lift a car for child
two invisible hands in the sky above the clouds kneeling to nothing singing crumbling 
overthrowing stillness 
cyclones orb across landscapes cycles writing on the wall civilization ain't civilized
signs of the times signs of the ages from blue to gray blink betrayal of gilded reverence 
the rainbow's totem invisible crown of nature
womb of creation  
oscillating crumbling the tight rope between known & unknown 
listen to crow raven dirge proto crown rain dance epitome 
surges of silence darkness proto 
gray is the color of boundless gray abundance gray in between gray the middle path gray the living through experience gray the answer to the question in the form of a question Gibraltar will heed 
Stone Henge will weep the way you approach gray is who & what you are

INCARNATIONS © 2022 Daniel Cyran

Koss (she, them, they) is a poet, writer and artist. Their work can be found on the web via https://koss-works.com/.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Review: Verna Hampton's Sister FM Diva


“I’m a daughter, a sister, and a mother

Both grand and great

And I am here to enlighten, entertain, and educate”

-        Verna Hampton, What Is A Name


The poems in Sister FM Diva celebrate, sing, rap, bless, curse, revel, and ultimately reveal a poet who is devoted. This is a poet devoted to her community, to her love of humanity, to her love of justice, of truth. These poems are anti-apathy, anti-delusion. I have been encouraged by the poet Sean Thomas Dougherty who once said (paraphrased): I try not to use the word brilliant or great when describing a poet or poem, but instead try to look in the direction that the poet is pointing. With this in mind, it is clear that Verna Hampton is pointing to the human heart.

In these wild & savage times, with the new millennium not even mid-way through its third decade, this heart energy is needed. The poems in this collection are teeming with so much heart and soul, it’s nearly impossible to walk away from time spent with this collection and not be encouraged, challenged, changed; each and every time. At times I was inspired to weep, at other times I was filled with so much anger I wanted to break something. The poems in Sister FM Diva encourage sincere responses, it is clear, because they are coming from a sincere place.

Another thing I noticed while spending time with Sister FM Diva is that the poet is committed to the real. Verna Hampton is a poet of reality. She sees clearly the situation at hand, the on-going crises that human beings are faced with; and does not shy away from delivering her assessments as far as what is required of us, of human beings, in order to truly be free. As well, these poems are unapologetically Black. Hampton is a member of a cohort of Black story tellers, poets and griots with a rich tradition of truth telling.

While reading Verna Hampton’s collection, I was reminded of Wanda Coleman, and her one-of-a-kind delivery of her poems. When I first heard a Wanda Coleman poem recited by the poet herself, I had heard nothing like it before, and have heard nothing like it to this day. Similarly, I would be eager to hear or see Verna Hampton recite her poetry in a live setting. From what I can tell on the page, the poet has given herself much room for song, much room for her own human uniqueness to shine through—in a way that I think Wanda Coleman also wrote to ensure that nobody was as capable of delivering the power, insight, and beauty of her words like she herself was able to do. I see this possibility in Verna Hampton’s work as well.

I will also argue that it is largely due to Hampton’s knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the past; and due to her being grounded, not unlike the grounding of a majestic oak tree, with its deeply rooted foundation in the Earth, in the present moment; which makes these poems so enjoyable, enlightening and entertaining.

I see Verna Hampton's poems as a reminder for these generations. In a world that seemingly continues ever spiraling towards forgetfulness, delusion, poets like Hampton, who enlighten in their reminding, are healers. To witness the truth of the past and present being told with so much strength and courage is a healing endeavor.

While reading Sister FM Diva, I was reminded of a quote from Jonas Mekas, who said: In the very end, societies perish because they listen to their politicians, and not to their poets. I hope this review serves as encouragement to those with open hearts, with open minds; Verna Hampton’s voice and poems are saying something we need to listen to, attend to, and carry within that sacred human heart-space I believe she is pointing towards.

To order copies of Sister FM Diva by Verna Hampton, click here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


Rains move in from the north
and somewhere in my home town
someone is playing the final trumpet.
This planet has taken about as much abuse
from human hands as it can fathom, I'm afraid.
If you place a penny on the cool bent steel of 
railroad tracks, it is only a matter of time
before the thing is heated and flattened.
In the end you will have a neat looking souvenir
and only be a penny the lesser. All my suffering
has led me to this. To be a mortal thing,
one must shine in some brief and unmistakable way. 
Like glimpses of daylight receding across a puddle. 
The last funeral I attended was for a soldier. 
Tears and tears and tears and yet we still allow 
rich and greedy men to keep sending our brothers 
and sisters back home in closed coffins. I listen to the 
pitter patter of water against concrete blocks, a motorcycle 
in the distance, probably a Honda, faintness of birdcall—
love is in the air now—I'm remembering the last time 
I made love: we were too exhausted for fucking 
so we laid on our backs in bed, hand in hand, reading our 
thoughts to each other. For a long time, it became
quiet and we laid next to one another in the silence of night, 
I would squeeze my left hand, she would squeeze her right hand
in intervals to keep each other awake to the moment. 
We went on like that for hours, and woke up the next day 
hand in hand. The rain has stopped. Smoke pirouettes 
from my exhales, a lit cigarette, like a lantern surrounded 
by a phalanx of black crows gathering in droves, a reminding 
of the truth: darkness surrounds us and we don't even know it, 
the weight of the world.

© 2022 Daniel Cyran

Wednesday, July 20, 2022


You look up and it's suddenly 4 p.m.
in the tragedy of lives in constant motion
in the heat of mid-summer, body & mind somewhere else
completely, a grasshopper on its hind legs 
somewhere in the tall grass 
an unintelligible prayer in its being,
humans and what they've made
of each other's presence,
nuclear fallout endless wars toxic oceans,
eminent catastrophe at every turn,
erratic step by erratic step
gecko making mockeries of the walls 
which act as barriers for
curiosities of the neighbors—
their lives too in constant motion,
their lives too touched by an endless drama of confusion,
it's been more than a few months since I've stepped outside
my own shoes, though light through the window pane
still does something wordless to my spirit,
the candles still sing, voices in the head
still console, what more can I say? Our problem
isn't too much desire, our problem is not enough
desire. Our species doesn't know what is needed and
on a macro level we're lost because individuals do not know what they want.
Give me a cup of tea and a cool shower in the summer,
and the thieves can keep their money tables in the temples.
I wouldn't be surprised if by 2032 every church bell on both sides 
of the Mississippi rang and rang and rang to no one at all beneath them.
Give me my lady's hand on a wind washed tree-lined street with our joys intact
and I don't give a fuck about celebrity news, whom said what to whom,
four-star generals, the apocalypse. While I believe the Buddha was right when
he cautioned against attachments; being in love is not for the emptied mind, 
nor is she meek. I've seen her lifting the same one-ton from the weight 
of her babies’ crying beneath it on this block each and every morning since 2009.

© 2022 Daniel Cyran