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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bob Anderson 1950-2015 R.I.P.

May your spirit live on brother!

Photo Oxford Park- Bobby, Gidge, Shirl

To respect Bob's wishes and that of his family, there will be no funeral service. At a later date, there will be a memorial service at Bob's school in Montreal where he worked as a P.E. teacher for more than 39 years. Click on the message below to enlarge:

View Bob’s Montreal Gazette obituary:

Update: 1 May 2015: Here are the details regarding Bob's school memorial:

Update:26 May 2015

More than 500 people attended Bob's memorial at John F. Elementary School on 21 May. A plaque was officially presented in the gym for Bob's service to the children of the school & his community over four decades:

Update: 20 March 2016

Bob, thinking of you on the first anniversary of your death. Ride on brother!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

RD Armstrong Tools of the Trade…Lost. Casa de Cinco Press, Pueblo, CO, 2014 (20 pages)

These are gritty, colloquial blue collar poems reeking of the sweat of hard physical labour and also of the fear & dangers of being on the job. The cover photograph is by the poet RD Armstrong & upon close examination reveals a parody of a circuit board. As the title of the chapbook suggests, the traditional manufacturing 'tools of the trade' which have built post war America have now largely been lost and have been replaced by a global technological market- which we know has suppressed wages & has seriously compromised job security.

The chapbook contains eleven poems, including ‘Post Hole Digger’ which was the winner of the 2014 Joe Hill Poetry Award. As is explained on the publishing details page, Joe Hill was a radical labor activist who was executed by firing squad in Utah in 1915 after copping a suspect murder conviction. The award is presented each year at the Great Labor Arts Exchange by The Heritage Foundation.

‘Post Hole Digger’ is broken into three parts and is interspersed with the other poems in the collection. In the opening stanza of Part 1, the speaker, presumably Armstrong, clearly establishes his working class creds by listing some of the tough, physically demanding work he has slaved at for over three decades & the many injuries he has sustained:

I’ve dug a few holes in my day
I’ve sunk hundreds of postholes
Run thousands of feet of fencing
Laid thousands of feet of decking
Built, repaired, remodelled, demolished,
painted, hauled, moved and
refinished furniture, doors, mouldings.
Gotten a score of splinters
Gouged and scraped my limbs
smashed fingers and thumbs
taken the tips off fingers
using table saws and belt sanders
Inhaled enough solvent to stay
high for several lifetimes.

Part 1 is a kind of anthem to working class ideals- keep it simple: work hard, don’t expect great financial rewards and the notion that we cannot know where our chosen path will lead us. In contrast, Part 2 expresses a disillusionment with blue collar work and explicitly cautions the reader in the last stanza:

But, friend, unless you have
a fondness for the low road,
I suggest you leave now while
you can do it gracefully and
don’t trip on that bucket of
tools on your way out.

In Part 3, the speaker realises the limitations of his work and desires a way out to connect more fully to his creative side:

I knew then that I
didn’t want to die with
a hammer in my hand that I
wanted more that I
desired the creative path
that led beyond
my immediate locale.

As Armstrong mentions in his Afterward, 'Post Hole Digger' doesn’t fully represent Armstrong’s working life but it provides us with a clue as to why he established his small publishing company more than twenty years ago. As he writes in Part 3, he is still firmly committed to his literary journey:

Ten years later I am
nearer to but not
close enough to cease
my expectations.

The focus of many of the other poems in this chap is on the occupational hazards- both physical & psychological faced by low paid, manual labourers. In ‘Slice of Life’ the speaker graphically explores the lethal trajectory of a spinning blade, “without a cool precision/ fate punishes distraction.” In ‘Tank Farm’ a spark ignites a vapour which blows Lou, a fellow worker, in half. In ‘The Bastards  Are Waiting’ a paranoid worker rightly fears that everyone out there is trying to deprive him of his job. In ‘Building Blocks’ the speaker's obsessive preoccupation with  his job intrudes into his daily life to the extent that it deadens his imaginative thought & desire.

Armstrong isn’t making this shit up. As he says in the Afterward, “ I spent thirty plus years doing the manual labor dance. I had to stop eventually but I always figured it would be from DUI or heart attack or something cataclysmic…something terminal. But it wasn’t that at all, the damn body wore out but didn’t take the mind.”

Tools of the Trade...Lost is a short, solid collection well worth the read. Buy the chapbook here:

The sequence of poems in this chapbook first appeared in RD Armstrong’s Fire and Rain, Vols. 1
& 2 Lummox Press, 2008 and 2009 which can be purchased here:

For a recent list of writers published by Lummox Press books find it here:

Authors Den:

Some Authors of books published by Lummox Press

Authors are from USA unless otherwise noted

Billy Jones (Australia)
Glenn Cooper (Australia)
Henry Denander (Sweden)
Lisa Zaran
Leonard J. Cirino
Brigit Truex
Laurie Soriano
Tony Moffeit
Taylor Graham
John Yamrus
Rob Plath
William Gainer
William Taylor, Jr.
AD Winans
Scott Wannberg
Rick Smith
Pris Campbell
John Thomas
Philomene Long
Rebecca Morrison
Todd Moore
John Bennett
Mike Adams
Lyn Lifshin

These are just a few of the 100+ books, chapbooks, anthologies and zines Lummox has published in the last 21 years.

Featuring Doug Draime

A Bird’s Gift

A big red
breasted robin

flew into
the back yard

and landed on
a 2 foot high

stone wall
that surrounds

the scrubs and

and without

on the lawn

like she
owned it

and then flew
away up

out over the

It was the most

thing I’ve seen
in months

Flashback: Moonshine Blues

we sipped
from the
Mason jar
in front of
in Phil’s old
’57 Mercury
smoking our
Pall Malls &
to Randy’s
Record Shop
from Nashville
Jim got
pissed off
at me
not sure
why &
to fight
we all got out
of the car
& he
missing me
by a foot
I swung &
he went
down hard
we got back
in the car
(except for Jim) &
listened to
Big Mama Thorton
( & Jim crying )
as we drank more
of the
moonshine &
waited for the
next rush

Over At Facebook

The self-proclaimed
outlaw poets
are all over at
snuggling up and
sharing photos
of their kids and pets,

exchanging recipes,
and juicy tidbits
of their
and pseudo-non-
conformist lifestyles.

Which goes to
prove that even the
most superficial
among us, have not
lost the basic need
to communicate
with like-minded

A Hoot

Give it to the black sun
of Harry Crosby.

Give it to the Nomads of Niger
        dancing in jagged pairs.

Give it to the hollow dead eyes
of Goya.

Give it to the dust blowing westward
constantly in the
Grand Canyon.

Give it to the blind watch maker laughing
 insanely on 43rd street.

I don’t care. I don’t give a shit any more. Give
it to Kerouac’s last
                                     fucking death binge.

Poetry Promoter

A writer, working with a
well known booking agency,
emailed me from the Bay
area with a friendly invitation
to come and read, along with
several other poets. Writers
and poets from all over the
country were showing up. A real
big shindig, he said. He made
mention of the booking agency at
least 3 times in his short note.

I wondered about the other writers,
coming from all over the country,
paying their own expenses to get
to California to read their poesy
for 10 or 15 minutes, tops, for no pay.

How could these writers afford to do that?

I’m sure some of them had jobs,
and families like me. And a booking
agency? There had to be some kind
of liquid money flow, otherwise a booking
agency wouldn’t bother getting involved. So,
I emailed him back telling him the
truth, that I just couldn’t afford the trip.
But, I asked, if there was any extra cash in the
booking agency’s kitty, for a motel for my
wife, my dog, and myself - along with
some gas money - then we could take
care of the eating expenses ourselves.

When I didn’t hear back from him after a month,
I felt like writing him again to say that I was
only kidding around about the money, just fucking
with him. But that would have been a lie,
because I was as serious as a hard attack.

Stardust Club

She said she had
my number. But
I told her
my number was still
being calculated
by numerous
committees of
and a large
assortment of
Vegas odds makers.

In other words,
the beads were still
flying up and down
the abacus
at incredible speeds.

She giggled
seductively, smiled
and moved in
closer, her hand
rubbing my dick
through my jeans.

Her mouth
and tongue on my neck,
“You know what number
I’m talkin’ about.”

Earth Is A Drunken Cyclops

Earth exists in a spiritual squalor;
it is a drunken Cyclops,

perpetually a monster, sea sick with
a single purpose :
a tunnel vision,

to murder us all.

Constantly on the turbulent waves
of ordinary and catastrophic

sailing through the profusely bleeding
eye of human madness  


Purple faces
eating rotten Spam
and drinking

gasoline. You
paint and write
what you think

is there. Not
what catches
your eye.

The world is
fucked up
enough. Even

mangy old dog
knew that.

They Are Slaughtered Still

Older hookers on 44th Street
Still proclaim that he was just
A kinky, foul mouthed john
From the baby killing Pentagon
They laugh about him now
That his money is going to the
Escort services suggested to him
By a well known congressman
And the slaughter of babies still goes on

They are slaughtered still
As the prices of the call girls grows higher
Without a thought he fucks his girls, and kills
Those babies, his hand in the cookie jar in the kitchen
Of his mansion, his wife chattering on
About her tedious day talking to the PTA
One son is home from Princeton eating
Breakfast at the kitchen table, another
Son is just coming down the stairway
As the babies keep on being slaughtered
They are slaughtered still

As he prepares to go to bed that night
After a long day in the War Room at the Pentagon
He sees decomposing bodies in the mirror but
None of them appear to be his own, so he takes
Two sleeping pills, climbs into bed next his
Snoozing wife and falls fast to sleep like a baby

As real babies are slaughtered still

Red’s Tavern

Pete’s stab wounds
were a badge of honor.
Pulling his beer stained
Dodger t-shirt up,
showing me
a 5 inch scar
across his huge
beer belly

That’s something, man,
I said

He jumped up from his stool,
turned around and
with both hands
pulled his t-shirt
up to the back of his neck,

revealing a large, embedded,
nasty looking gush
in the middle of his back
clear down to
the cheeks of his fat ass.

He turned around with a goofy,
drunken smile on his face,
pulling his shirt down, “The x done
that, with a broken beer bottle,
night she left and went to Tucson.
They say I lost 4 pints of blood.”

That’s something, man,
I said again and bought him a

beer for that one.

Doug Draime emerged as a presence in the literary ‘underground’
in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s. Most recent full-length collection
of poetry is More Than The Alley, released in 2012 by Interior Noise
Press. Also, available are five chapbooks: In Back of Madam Wong’s
(Tree Killer/Epic Rites Press), Dusk With Carol (Kendra Steiner Editions),
Los Angeles Terminal: Poems 1971-1980 (Covert Press), Rock ’n Roll
Jizz (Propaganda Press), and Speed of Light, an online chapbook from
Right Hand Pointing. He currently lives and writes in the foothills of the
Cascade mountain range in southern Oregon.