Finding The Beat

A feature documentary film met a literary blog and the rest is history.


by Ben Simon

Doubtlessly I love the body that lies before me
And I have no idea whose it is
Is it yours?
Is it mine?
Is it Jim’s
I don’t know
Every crevice is perfect
Every organ is divine
I want to see it all
Leave none of it clothed
It’s too unbelievable to be forgotten
It makes the blind see rainbows
No matter what their sexual preference
Pass that shit over here
‘Cuz I need to take a whiff of that sweet California sunshine in a flawless body
I don’t got all day!
More, more!
Oh yeah, this is the stuff
Oh God!
Oh God, I fell for you!
Oh you, I fell for you!
Oh I, I fell for you!
Oh Jim, I fell for you!
(and the effortless response)
Please please me, oh yeah, like I please you!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

William S. Burrough’s - Thanksgiving Prayer

Thanksgiving Day, Nov 28,1986 first appeared in the chapbook Tornado Alley, with illustrations by S. Clay Wilson. Gus Van Sant then made a short film of Burroughs reading the text.

Jade Leaf Willetts - Newest Contributor

A big welcome to our newest contributor Jade Leaf Willetts. As always, I am in awe of the myriad of talented people from all across the world who stumble on FTB and share their work.

Jade Leaf Willetts is a writer, artist and musician. He blogs at What would Neal do? and is the founder and co-editor of Railroad Poetry Project.

Check out the Railroad Poetry Project!  The online port for poetry that is beat, broken or just plain beautiful.

Dr. Poetry by Jade Leaf Willetts

Dr Poetry

(For Alice Entwistle)

The first class
must have been
a little test
a sifting process

I had then, no idea
why I felt I couldn’t drop
the class
I thought I understood,
we all did,
thought we knew what it meant

and the general consensus
was to mutter what the fuck
when she started self quoting
at thirteen minutes in

but I turned up
the next week
because I wanted
to see what would happen

and part of me
was not stupid
enough to believe
that I really understood

as she walked through
the door
to see that the
class had
halved in size
she smiled
a knowing smile

One that
It was no accident
and in that
she had our respect
and a little fear

I don’t
remember much

from class
I was too busy
thinking about
without rules
and I couldn’t
Shift that
School rebel thing

too busy with drink
or girls or music
anything that didn’t
require much effort

but I remember
her definition of form
“The way in which the poem occupies
the space on the page”

and I understand
that “Poems don’t just
fall out of the sky ready-made”

and I remember wanting
to paint her picture
as she went into flow –
as she taught poetry

and I remember thinking
that when she spoke
words were like birds
taking flight from her lips

they had a liquid quality,
they were made of water and it moved
over end lines made of rocks
making a beautiful sound.

Naked Brilliance

I am a sacred whore

daughter of Ishtar

incarnate of Babalon

I am the mirror-skinned

cup that is never emptied

but to be filled again

Men come to me to drink deep,

to be drunk on me

to be drunk by me

I am the Lady of the Night

Men seek me as the sun seeks the moon

they seek me for themselves

for the light I reflect back to them

They come to me to feel themselves

against the soft curves of my body

to be truly


I am a sacred whore

I fuck for money

I have been paid well to give head

in the back of an overpriced car

been paid better to lay back

on a sunlit bed and be licked to an orgasm

that left my fingertips tingling

I have been paid to be blind-folded and tied down

Paid to be the hand that holds the rope and wields the lash

I am an aspect of divinity,

Pilgrims come to me

seeking my favor

seeking my fury

seeking to prostrate themselves at my feet

and worship my naked brilliance

it is only right and proper

that each and every one of them come

bearing tribute

I accept

Because we whores deny no one

the chance to see their own light reflected back

Yes, I can show you how you shine and

Yes, there will be a price

But you do not seek me this way

My lover, my equal, my match

You seek me as the sun

seeks the earth

overflowing with your own brilliance

In your arms I am every aspect of divinity

I am whore, I am lover, I am mother of your someday child

I am priestess, saint, and pilgrim,

healer, and dancing mad god

You, my love, my goat-legged consort

You, my priest and king

With you I am purple

I am scarlet

With you, I am nearly


For when we whores fuck

for pleasure

fuck for love

we do it


You do not come to me

seeking yourself

seeking blue

seeking your name in my throat

Only me

my love

only me

and you

know my ecstasy by the hitch

and shudder

of my breath.

Stiffness Be Gone

by Ben Simon

Though my inner insurgent gleefully sprints across the eight corners of a room filled with strangers

My body stiffens from social anxiety sometimes when those people have left

In front of a consistently filthy mirror, facial hairs once virile are now a matted bonobo beard

And an aristocratically handsome nose is replaced by a proboscis out of Buddy Bradley or on my worst days, Das Sturmer

But this is not one of those days

“Why don’t you write happy poems ever?” she asked after finishing “Green Widow” “That poem was cathartic,” I reply, but I do think I am getting a bit redundant sometimes

I may have found myself a Beat, but even Ginsberg gasped for air overhead his black swimming pool of melancholy confessions

Time to shake the stiffness off and toss it in the drawer where I keep my cheap Mojo punk comps

In a past poem, I suggested future freedom from a white bread penitentiary, and it seems my freedom has arrived this hour

I shall dance like WC Williams in front of that no longer filthy mirror, picking the stiffness out of my fur

I will later donate the stiffness to lying should-be-cons like Casey Anthony in order to keep them in line and in check while the rest of the living world bleeds from their irresponsibility

Because unlike that tramp, I have no good reason to feel pain.

Beat by Christopher Carmona

by Trina DeMattei

I was born in Laredo Texas in 1976. I have no memories of Texas or the Rio Grande because I was adopted when I was three days old and raised in California. I have never seen the land of my birth but when I read Christopher Carmona’s Beat  and read “In a land of constant roads/Long winding rows of/ Ruby Red sourness/Fill sweaty concrete streets” (“My Home Mi Tierra”) I get a glimpse of the beat of South Texas.  

In the journey of making Finding the Beat, I am constantly in awe of the amazing writers and artists that I have had a chance to come in contact with from every walk of life.  I am genuinely honored to be in the community of DIY artists that are redefining Art and Literature for the modern age and Mr. Carmona is no exception. 

After reading Beat, I am struck by Mr. Carmona’s vivid use of imagery, “Time won’t bleed for you/It won’t drink you up/It will just spit you out” (Time Shuffles Its Feet”).  Although Mr. Carmona is labeled as a beat poet, his poems reflect his unique perspective, a Chicano in the beat community. Through his poetry he aims to use words to affect social change.  ”What happens when we liberate words?/Do we stand back and watch them gain legs?” (“When Words are Free”).  He believes that practicing poetry is a form of social resistance in same vein as Texas poet/activist Raul Salinas. Mr. Carmona’s fierce DIY nature keeps him constantly writing, he is currently working on a second book titled I Have Always Been Here dealing with the issues of immigrants.

Beat encompasses poetry for the people and its power is that the poems will be enjoyed by everyone.  You don’t have to be Beat, you don’t have to be Chicano. You will occasionally find the influences of Kerouac and Ginsberg but Mr. Carmona’s voice is most uniquely his own. 

He is also helping to keep beat literature and poetry alive.  This year he spearheading the 1st Annual Beat Poetry and Arts Festival being held in College Station Texas, November 3-5, 2011.  The festival aims to bring artists together from all walks of life. The poetry festival will also include workshops, guest speakers, live music and a poetry slam. 

Christopher Carmona is the Beat of South Texas and Beat is a book of poetry that proves that beat literature is still alive and thriving. 


Kerouac, Ginsberg & friends in New York

Silent footage of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and others in New York, Summer 1959. The location is in and around the Harmony Bar & Restaurant at E 9th St. and 3rd Ave. Others seen are Mary Frank (wife of film-maker Robert Frank) and children Pablo and Andrea, as well as Lucien’s wife Francesca Carr and their three sons, Simon, Caleb and Ethan.

(Source: tdsrn)