Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The above photograph was taken by local poet David "Sockless Joe" Beaudoin and posted on his twitter account while he was out buying a last bottle of kahlua at 6pm yesterday as Frankenstorm Sandy was unleashing some of her worst wrath. He has not been heard from since but we suspect he's taking advantage of this brutal act of nature to perform another chameleon-like identity change and will re-appear as a bouncer at some Battery Park dance club.

Normally you would associate Sandy with duckpin bowling or smoking a doobie with Springsteen in Asbury Park as Southside Johnny lay in a glue-addled state beside them inventing the "sleeveless t-shirt", but this Sandy came to rock far more than just Bruce's crowd. Thanks be to Allah and Pippi Longstocking that our little portion of Baltimore was spared great damage. Not at all like the Duracion storm where all our major streets were without traffic lights and half-blocked with fallen trees.

I am kneeling by my Francoise Hardy altar and offering up perverse secular prayers to the suffering folks in New Jersey and New York who got hammered. I imagine this is the face of the Future, especially since the right wing wants to pretend that we have no effect on the environment and that corporations come the ground we walk on and the air we breath. We'll all be getting our own chances to be hammered by a world way out of balance.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Perhaps This Is a Dangerous Fantasy, Booking A Show In Baltimore, City of Frankenstormshowflurriesclusterfucks

Fellow Cultural Warriors grappling with the loss of our dear comrade Chris Toll, the deluge of the last fiery lap of the presidential campaign, the rearing roaring head of the media-whipped-up-in-a-pricey-mouthload-of-gleaming-teeth frenzy known as "Frankenstorm", Dry Eye Syndrome, Too Juicy Orb Dilemma, Gretzky's Kneelock and other true and imagined heartbreaks, I am risking heartbreak and booking a new Shattered Wig Night in The City That Breeds Performance Venues.

Long ago, the sage Bald One, known as Buff Joe Medusa, predicted that soon Baltimore performers would have to pay audience members to get a crowd. I am gambling that it hasn't yet come to that if the show is ripe with delectable cultural essence! Plus, I got a beautiful letter from a young homie named Soft Serve who suffers from Short Arm Disease. He recounted how much The Shattered Wig has meant to him over the years and that he hoped I kept it going.

But the meat of this matter is an upcoming Shattered Wig Night on Friday, November 30th with the incredible poet Heather Fuller, author of Perhaps This Is a Rescue Fantasy and Dovecote. I first found out about her at one of the old sterling i.e. series readings, hosted by Michael Ball. I bought both her books and went home that night and read Rescue Fantasy straight through. Great stuff.

Also reading will be the noble and often darkly humorous (when not politically and socially fired up and righteous) Cort Bledsoe, who I first heard read at a refreshing Artichoke Haircut reading in the Dionysus on Preston St. Cort is the author of Anthems which has one of the darkest, most unsettling poems I've ever read.

And if you are a demanding, filthy whore (what the Republican party calls "woman", what we call a human of any gender who does not appreciate the good stuff ((well, at least what we think is good))), then you are saying "What else do you have for me?" We have two amazing musical guests lined up.

Headlining will be Good Guy Genius Nathan Bell, winner of the recent Baker Artist Award. His album "Colors" was my favorite album of the year that it came out and still frequents my turntable as often as a Ramone hits a glue tube. He plays solo guitar, banjo and bells, sometimes accompanied by cellist Kate Porter, electronics/theremin playboy Eric Franklin and enchanted warbler and banjoist Liz Downing. I'm not sure what all he's got planned for this night, but I'm sure it will leave your shorts fried in a pool of beer on the 14 Karat floor.

Before your shorts are fried, your ears will be hypnotized by solo guitarist occasional electronics musician Omoo Omoo. Here is his spot on Sound Cloud:

It all takes place at the legendary 14 Karat Cabaret at 218 W. Saratoga (not that far from the H&H, for you youngsters), the haunted mansion that Laure Drogoul built. Doors open at 9pm, cover charge is $5.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Purpose of Synapse by Tom Weigel

Purpose of Synapse

Fears of things

that never happen

are the greatest fears

the lesser fears

are special effects

& they belong to Satan

for man is born for


as sparks fly upward

--Tom Weigel


Tom Weigel is the editor of BURP magazine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Richard & Olga

Richard and Olga

Richard Nixon looked so lost among the beaming young  gymnasts, a hulking mushroom cowering before elves.  As if he was a different species from them altogether.  As if the B movie monster in the cheap gorilla costume stepped out of his tinfoil saucer into the Land of Oz. He shambled stiffly in a suit that wouldn't accept the gray body inside it.

If a bird would have landed on his dowager hump he would have crumbled into an oily lump of salt.

Feeling claustrophobic surrounded by all the apple-cheeked faces exuding lithe fresh energy, President Nixon accepted his Press Secretary's  idea to take them out to see the South Fountain on the White House lawn.  Young Olga Korbut, the astonishing gymnast from the Soviet Union, "The Sparrow from Minsk", was tickled by how awkward this ungainly American who wielded such power was made by her and her peer group's presence. The dappled sunlight on this beautiful day batted at his hooded eyes, causing him to sweep his left forearm over his face as if he was beating back flies.

Olga and the other gymnasts poured out onto the freedom of the White House lawn, released somewhat  from the gravity of the media staged moment.  Charming Olga broke loose from the group and performed a tuck back, followed by what came to be known as "The Korbut Flip".  Camera shutters whirred and snapped as if a giant sack of hummingbirds had been released into a small glass cage.

Olga came to rest only a foot or so from the gently cascading fountain.  She beckoned the American president toward her, holding up her one hand tipped as if in invitation to dance.  Nixon's temples buzzed in mild agony, his neck itched and nervous moisture worked down his pale leg.

"You're a little girl", Nixon stated, as if he had just stumbled upon her and this was the first unit of classification he could transmit back to the Mothership.

Olga giggled and everyone who watched her felt her effortless joy.  "You little boy," Olga said, utilizing what little English came readily at hand.  She then leaned down and plucked a random buttercup, held it briefly up towards Nixon's chin, then laughed, spun, and tossed it into the fountain.

Nixon's heart jumped watching the tiny yellow color spin toward the fountain.  What was he to do?  He couldn't break the code of all the smiling faces.  Mouths agape.  All the years, all the tense conference rooms, Kissinger's thick marceled hair spread out before him like an untouched golfing range - in this sunlight he couldn't remember the purpose following all the chains of demands.  One anxious trail led to another brief rest, then right onto another anxious journey and he could make no sense of all these delicate creatures whose smell was so light and beguiling, reminding him of walking as a child through his father's lemon grove.

 A low moaning sound was reported to come from deep inside him, but like a Tuvan throat singer, there seemed to be multiple voices in multiple pitches issuing from a basement radiator.  Reporters thought Nixon was hugging Korbut and there was an orgy of clicking cameras, but only the most astute and mechanical shutterbug blocked their human emotion and instinct and kept recording as the president attempted a muddled spin and threw young Olga from the height of his shoulders into the cascading shallow water of the man-made fountain.

Much more was ended besides Nixon's presidency when Olga was lifted like a wet doll by Russian security and loaded onto a nearby helicopter.

---Rupert Wondolowski

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Containers of You by Richard Martin

Happy Containers of You

I'm out of archetypes and crayons
and feel lousy for names
It's time to wait
Words for moon and the absence
of one in a solar sky
have been detained or lost
in a field of fragile mistakes
This is what orange has done to me --
why mechanisms of yesterday
plummet through wispy smoke
Porous mind wants in and glides
above an aftermath of symbols
Struggle predicted -
the honed bridge of desire
resistant to foot traffic
Sky ascends into still more sky
Looking at what is
(post-molecular floor plans)
in the presence
of a silent alphabet
Nerves of beauty
and abandonment
post notes for all to see
Crack codes for joy
Say no when
vacating premises

---Richard Martin


This piece is from a manuscript by Martin called Pulpit Commando. He is a Fell Swoop lifer and he has a piece in the new issue of Baltimore's own Artichoke Haircut.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

"A Visionary Friend Is Gone, Long Live His Vision", for Chris Toll

A Visionary Friend Is Gone, Long Live His Vision
for Chris Toll

Though not a licensed phrenologist and not able to afford calipers, I would have to start with his head, his majestic hairless skull. "Ambient light from a Lenin Lightbulb", is how Bed Bath Blavatsky and Beyond put it. He had thought it into a handsome planet of clearly defined paths, culverts and landing strips for minute travelers of all dimensions to set down on. His poems of quiet passion were the generator for untold powerful landing signals. Often when out at night he would gently bow his head and rub a spot, saying "I've brought many visitors with me tonight."

There are those of us who sculptors should memorialize into busts and those of us who would be more suited to jello molds. For the virulent, languishing in a potato sack as they bleed out in a donkey cart across the border as their captor bitches to a neighbor "No se puede vender el daƱado gringo", is the only proper final tribute to their cranium.

For my friend, Lost Astronauts Who Knew Too Much work in a sealed chamber in deep space with the DNA of Helen Keller, silky webs spun by spiders surrounding Poe's crypt and the tears of broken hearted catholic school girls to create the hands that will one day bring the dimensions of my friend's dome into such glory that Rodin's bust of Balzac will shrink into a PEZ dispenser out of embarrassment.

About his small smooth arms what can be said that has not already been stated by a multitude of paleontologists about those of the late lamented T-Rex? The surprising disproportionate strength of them could perhaps best be measured by the incident when he shared the dias with populist poet Billy Collins. My friend got up to read right after Collins had read his somewhat musty, frequently trotted out, "Mother's Day" poem. Shaking hands with Billy before taking his place behind the podium, the shake went a few moments beyond the norm and Collins' face contorted into a wide grimace before a small shard of bone pierced the skin of his forearm. I will leave it up to YouTube viewers as to whether there was a trace of a smile on my friend's lips as Mr. Collins tried to muffle a shriek of agony.

It would take a book to enter into his heart and do it justice. Nancy Drew in fishnets would find Jesus in there playing lightning bolt toss with Dr. Strange. Drinks hoisted aloft to the downtrodden in a vast castle filled with toys, Bob Dylan passed out on a giant feather bed covered with absinthe bottles.

I woke up to my friend gone from my planet this morning and the goneness had gained immense weight. Shrugging into a shirt my shoulders had an attitude - "Yeah right, go ahead, put a shirt on." Even my car windshield had tears on it on such a cruel sunny day. My friend you should hear this, this beautiful song that's playing. My friend you wrote such beautiful songs.

--Rupert Wondolowski

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Life On Earth", Commander Chris Toll's Beautiful Last Testament Has Arrived

This morning was brightened considerably in a heartachingly sad way when the postal carrier pulled out a priority box from New Orleans containing 30 copies of the new and tragically final beautiful testament of poet and astral traveler Chris Toll.

The cover is seltzer for the eyes, one of Toll’s most colorful, and contains a bright jack-in-the-box, which was fitting since the books seemed to literally jump out of their container, eager to be devoured by the world.

Instantly diving into it, I was struck again by how in touch Chris was with the painful aspects of life on Earth, yet so cosmically hopeful and tender. Here is the first poem:

Download Universal Anguish
for Joel Dailey

The sun sings

while it makes its rounds.

Why isn’t lunch in melancholy?

God is an atheist.

The moon and stars render tender judgments.

A woman stands across the street

from a liquor store.

Her red sweater is stained,

and there are holes in the knees of her black jeans.

She aims her XM25

at the locked door of the liquor store.

If a constellation were different,

lonely would be lovely.

Jennifer the Christ plugs in her purple guitar and says,

“Where two or more electrons gather in my name,

there I am too.”

The baby dinosaurs scrabble from their nest

as a flying saucer lands.

The circular hatch oscillates open.

A rabbi steps out.

His right hand holds a cutlass

and his left hand holds a raygun.


“Dear Universe, thank you for the kindness of the way and the beauty of the pilgrims.” (Chris, from the copyright page.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Remembering Chris Toll - Books - Baltimore City Paper

 I'm sure Chris is at this moment sitting down in a special screening room with Rod Serling to view a Batman movie that Bob Kane made just for them, Chris holding in his lap his Famous Cardigan Sweater that Sylvia Plath soaked with her tears.

Below is a beautiful piece written by Bret McCabe about him and his full life.  But how I already miss him.  We had a great show here at Normal's last night and I kept thinking especially during the theatrical accordion/trumpet vocal gypsy sea chanties for land lubbers of Dear Rabbit and Jon Lipscomb's beautiful rendition of Skip James' "Crow Jane", "I wish Chris could have heard that."

Remembering Chris Toll - Books - Baltimore City Paper

Monday, October 8, 2012

"A bit swollen in the pretend-area" by Megan McShea

As we wait for the beauteous A Mountain City of Toad Splendor by Megan to come out on Publishing Genius Press in December 2012, she continues on a roll with even more new great writing.


A bit swollen in the pretend area

He woke, bloated in his somber corner, hoarding the dark inside like a devil in his moat. A fish tuned in. It was just waking up, too. A style of sitting there as the day breaks. A made morning, like god would.

Drawers of tangents waiting in the next room, an embarrassment of socks. Somnolent arguers gathered at the edges, bleating like horses protesting. One sought after a close horse. One went broke clutching soggy testimonies. One went all out, made hay socks for nesting. One made it say how it felt again, and every day said it to no end. One was a stock mason, a supporting role. These strange innoculatiions.

A still broke out. Hard, waking possibility, independent of all temperatures, his, theirs, the day, the room.

More margin blast. A sash ceremony. A tempest.

It blocks this portion of time from the vacuum of unbecoming.