Talon (R.M. Engelhardt) Featured Poet At Inquiring Minds On August 26th

POETRY NIGHT (and Prose) @ Inquiring Minds Bookstore Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 6:30 PM Inquiring Minds Bookstore 68 Partition St., Saugerties, NY Currently Hosted by Brian Dorn FEATURING: R.m. Engelhardt is a veteran poet-writer whose work over the last 20 some years has been published in such journals and magazines as Thunder Sandwich, […]

via Talon (R.M. Engelhardt) At Inquiring Minds Bookstore August 26th – Featured Poet — The Troy Poetry Mission Troy NY

In The Dysfunctional Poetry Super Market

In The Dysfunctional Poetry Super Market

Oh what fresh
New hell
Is this?

Looking at the expiration date I
Pick it up and then just as quickly
Put it back upon the shelf,
Leave it for some other poor
Bastard to find.

Besides, I’ve already got a poem
Just like it

At home.



~ R.M. Engelhardt



If tragedy = permission
If love = desire
How much we could have learned.

If knights could have defeated dragons,
steadfast, strong and true, I would
have been all of these things for you.

But love thee, love thee not,
cancel my thoughts beside the vast
cataclysm of unwanted dreaming.

And here in the dark my existence still
lingers for the spark which you have
ignited once more “abandoned”


Everette Maddox : Poet

maddox                                                                             (1944 – 1989)


After everything quits,
things continue
happening. The phone
rings. A knock comes
at the door. Lightning
flashes across the bed
where you bend, looking
at the dictionary.
Asleep, you keep waking
from dreams. The surface
of your life keeps
being broken, less and less
frequently, at random.
Raindrops after a storm:
surprise: the ghost of awe.

He’s been called the unofficial poet laureate of the French Quarter. Everette Maddox (1944-89) was a native Alabamian (Montgomery-born), who, like so many complicated literary souls, made his way to New Orleans to better commune with his muse. While there he taught for a few years at Xavier University and the University of New Orleans, hung out at Uptown’s Maple Leaf Bar (where he founded a reading series that is still going strong) and gradually descended into homelessness and alcoholism, all the while churning out verse on scraps of paper. He published two books of poetry during his lifetime, as well as dozens of individual poems in newspapers (including Mobile’s old Azalea City News) and magazines, which helped secure him a devoted regional readership.

Now, a wonderful new volume collects a nice range of Maddox’s verse and presents it for a new generation of readers. “I hope it’s not over, and good-by” (UNO Press, paper, $16.95) edited by Ralph Adamo is as good a one-volume introduction to this compelling poet as one could wish for, and every lover of Gulf Coast literature will want a copy on his or her shelf.

In his brief introduction, Adamo, a Crescent City poet and journalist, explains that this volume “is intended as a showcase of his [Maddox’s] styles, concerns, his wit, and sometimes dazzling sensibility.” Clearly, Maddox’s devotion to his art, to the detriment of his health and, in the end, his very survival, will be difficult for most readers to fully fathom. But the intensity of his experience and his gift for communicating it come through very strongly in this book.

Several of the poems reference locales around the South — Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile among them — but New Orleans is by far the dominant presence, and it is beautifully evoked time and again. In “2900 Prytania,” named for Maddox’s first New Orleans address (pictured on the cover), he wrote: “These top few/ lines sagging/ with words/ like ennui/ lagniappe/ crème de menthe/ constitute/ the wrought-iron/ balcony/ of a poem/ shaped just like/ my new 120-/ year-old house/ in New Orleans:/ a wooden lime/ peel hanging/ out of a lightning-/ murdered tree/ 2 stories/ down to knock/ against/ a honeysuckle-/ scented neighborhood/ of weird readers.”

In “New Orleans,” the city’s watery nature is to the fore: “From the air it’s all puddles:/ a blue-green frog town/ on lily pads. More canals than Amsterdam. You don’t/ land — you sink.” It concludes, “I’ll never write another line/ for anything but love/ in this city where steam/ rises off the street after/ a rain like bosoms heaving.” And in “Front Street, New Orleans,” place and history intermingle: “… Only Governor/ Bernardo de Galvez who played/ ‘so decisive a role’ in the War/ for American Independence/ just off the ferry from Spain/ on his horse looks indecisively/ over my head up Canal Street/ as if to say Where can a man get/ a drink in this part of History”.

Getting a drink was certainly a significant concern for Maddox. In the introduction, Adamo writes that the poet was frequently “under the influence (from drink served in places that would not be mistaken for glamorous),” and poem after poem references alcohol and drunkenness. In “Urban Maudlin,” Maddox wrote: “Is it the accumulated/ effect of the screwdriver,/ bourbon on the rocks,/ Dixie beer and three brandies/ I’ve had today that/ has caused the first/ g to be torn from the/ Pi gly Wiggly sign across/ the street from this bar?” And in “Drinking Glass,” he composed a poem in praise of an empty glass: “Pick it up and hold it/ to the light — / a repository of dust,/ hair and lipstick.//” But, he continues, “Dump it out/ (salvaging the butt),/ rinse it, twirl it/ once on a cloth,/ and look! how Clarity/ Rides Again.// Raise it now in a toast/ to Friendship,/ and observe,/ deep in the amber booze,/ the old bright planets/ winking.”

If ultimately careless of his health and worldly prospects, Everette Maddox was fortunate indeed in the devotion of friends like Ralph Adamo, whose determination to share his extraordinary poetic voice will keep his memory and his work evergreen.

~  John Sledge


The Poem Remains ...








The first song

Is innocence.


The last song

Is dirt.


And the summer

Is now gone along with

The heart and the flesh,

From diseases known & unknown

Which constantly

Remind us that

If we are anything

We are flawed.



Human in the eyes to be inhuman

Noble to all our fellow creatures

Except our fellow man,

Woman or child, reporter



“Or God”


And when I was a kid

Isis was a superhero on television,

A Goddess who fought for truth & justice

That now the pathetic

Have now turned

Into a bitch



And the open light

Is now once again

Vanishing from

Our very souls


Yes, the summer is over

The summer is gone


But in the end of all ends

It is the light that depends

Upon you no matter

How dark it gets


Keep fighting.




~ R.M. Engelhardt


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And now alas yet another poem from my destructions,

You, witness to and here in new flesh and new skin.

The skin of hero, the skin of snake, the skin of monster, the skin of saint all

Gradually and eventually shedding piece by piece living and dying and

Reinventing the world. Poems, photographs, enemies and the catastrophes

Which perish into the void. Paper, undigested words, mute horses and mad

Nostalgic whores, all reality deficient and nocturnally deaf to the unpure beating heart of man and muse. Reason-religion-idealism-theory …and shit.

The perfect and critical butt-flight of monkeys and the cacophony of idle

Crows who sit upon the fences of eternity passing judgment upon our souls

Until we give in…to emptiness.

But let them all know this;
That Jesus came unabridged with two fish and a loaf of bread, more a poet

Than a precise carpenter and he fed multitudes

“With hope”


~ R.M.