They Went Their Ways

Featured here is a collaboration between poet TJ Kearney and musician Alex Floor. Alex wrote, performed, and recorded a song for TJ’s poem.

They Went Their Ways
by TJ Kearney

Down by the hill, or lower down,
The larks and lizards built a town.
They sang for fun and lay in the sun
And life was easy.

Seasons came, and came, and came,
And some were different, some the same;
The flowers grew, and blossomed, and blew,
And life was easy.

But a lark grows bold to stretch its wing
While a lizard sleeps and dreams of spring.
So the larks forgot – what the lizards did not –
That life is easy.

Then they went their ways, no one knew why,
Some to the desert and some to the sky,
With the turning spheres and the passing years,
Like life, so easy.

 

Download They Went Their Ways or click below to listen.

A Greening

Featured here is a collaboration between poet Laurel Nakanishi and musician Joe Robinson. Joe wrote, performed, and recorded a song for Laurel’s poem.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Laurel Nakanishi received her M.F.A. from the University of Montana. She is the recipient of the Richard Hugo memorial scholarship, the Wrolstad travel award and a Fulbright scholarship to Nicaragua. She is the author of the chapbook, Manoa Makai, and her poems have appeared in The Black Warrior Review, Bayou Magazine, and The Yemassee Review. She currently studies non-fiction at Florida International University.

Joe spends his days educating young children. He documents some of his more ambitious classroom projects here. Lately, he has experimented with new ways of teaching his students to think scientifically.

 

A Greening
by Laurel Nakanishi  

As if this hair I have dropped
is arranging itself into an elaborate design under my bed.
As if the trees on my block
are orchestrating to drop their leaves all at once,
which the wind,        in collusion, will blow into subtle arrows.
As if my own shadow were stretching so far         in front of me
that it becomes its own path.         I would follow it.
I would take the map of my own dead hair.

 

Download A Greening or click below to listen.


Black Friday

Featured here is a collaboration between poet Kathleen Kirk, musician Suzy Erin, and musician Ben Grigg.

Kathleen’s previous Ham Kicker collaborations include “I woke in grief and beauty” and “Heartbreak: Purple, Yellow.” She is the poetry editor at Escape Into Life. Her own work can be read in Blood LotusFloor PlanPoems & Plays, Poetry East, Waccamaw, and other journals. Her chapbooks include Nocturnes (Hyacinth Girl Press) and Interior Sculpture (Dancing Girl Press), and you can follow her blog at Wait! I Have a Blog?!

Ben and Suzy’s previous Ham Kicker contributions include “Antheraea Polyphemus,” “Hell And Higher Water,” “Immortality,” and “The Progress Project.” Together, they comprise the band Deathsnack. Ben is also a member of acclaimed Chicago band Geronimo!, who are in the midst of their final performances.

 

Black Friday
by Kathleen Kirk

Tiny lights twist up the tree trunks,
sparkle in the branches like clichés,

a snap in the air as cold as longing
or a command no one can obey.

Occupy the traffic circle,
watch the honking cars go round,
everybody’s shouting,
everybody’s shopping
but not me, I’m out of town.

Tiny lights in all the windows,
blinking blue, our hearts attack

a snap in the air as cold as longing
but snap and snap, I won’t come back.

Occupy the traffic circle,
look for a postcard or a souvenir,
everybody’s shouting,
everybody’s shopping
but if not, a happy new year…

Tiny lights quiver on the branches
like clichés, since we’re not very deep.

A snap in the air as cold as a lonely
resolution nobody can keep….

 

Download Black Friday or click below to listen.

I woke in grief and beauty

Featured here is a collaboration between poet Kathleen Kirk and musician Joe Robinson. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life. Her poems appear in print and online in a variety of journals, including Blood LotusFloor PlanPoems & Plays, Poetry East, and Waccamaw. She is the author of five poetry chapbooks, most recently Nocturnes (Hyacinth Girl Press) and Interior Sculpture (Dancing Girl Press). She blogs at Wait! I Have a Blog?! Joe lives in Chicago, where he spends most of his time teaching young children.

For this piece, Joe wrote and recorded a song for Kathleen’s poem, “I woke in grief and beauty,” which originally appeared in Right Hand Pointing.

 

I woke in grief and beauty
by Kathleen Kirk

In the night I had seen my sister
leave our childhood home

and a small tree in a small city garden
hung with monarchs.

Startled, they rose, then settled again,
revealing themselves in flight.

I could waste my waking life
reading dreams, and do, some mornings.

Wings closed—in floral disguise,
pale orange repose.

 

Download I woke in grief and beauty or click below to listen.


Deer-Dusk Of An Evening

Featured here is a collaboration between poet Charmi Keranen and musician Joe Robinson. Joe wrote and performed a song for Charmi’s poem. Charmi is the author of the poetry chap The Afterlife is a Dry County (Big Wonderful Press, 2011.)  Her poetry has appeared in Passages North, The Salt River Review, JMWW, Stirring, blossombones, elimae, The Dirty Napkin, Ouroboros Review, Sugar House Review, Inter|rupture, Grasslimb Journal and Hot Metal Bridge.  She and her husband live in Northern Indiana, where she works as a freelance writer and proofreader of court transcripts.  She digs nature and wild things and is attempting to save the planet by raising honey bees.

Read Charmi’s lovely contributions to the ongoing Pulitzer Remix project.

 

Deer-Dusk Of An Evening
By Charmi Keranen

I take Mother’s bones to town,
sell them to the lowest bidder,

pennies on the ounce. She calls
in the morning, inquiring about

her shoes, Grandmother’s Cadillac,
other forms of abuse.

I unpin my hair and launch
a pineapple grenade.

Washington State phones.
Apologies for the trains.

Grandmother, surely, won’t survive the ride.

A waterfall slices in behind the eye.

Cousin Jean’s red Mustang
rots beneath pines.

The ’51 Ford in the barn,
16,000 miles. No one ever

drives it. It’s never been used.

 

Download Deer-Dusk Of An Evening or click below to listen.