Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic
Hosted by Christopher Luna and Toni Lumbrazo Luna of Printed Matter Vancouver
Featuring Rod Nelson
Thursday, November 14
Open mic sign up begins at 6:30 and closes at 7
$5 Suggested donation
1015 Main Street
Vancouver, WA 98660
Food and libation provided by Niche Wine Bar,
1013 Main Street
Sound provided by Briz Loan & Guitar: http://briz.us/
LGBTQ+ FRIENDLY, ALL AGES, AND UNCENSORED SINCE 2004
Rod Nelson is a spoken word poet in Central Washington. Rod Nelson’s work focuses on modern day social issues and addresses the divide between rural and urban America. He was born in Kansas but grew up in Selah, a small town in Central Washington. After completing his education in Seattle, he returned to the Yakima Valley and has lived and worked here since 1979. He was the first- place finisher in the YVCC Black Box Poetry Slam in 2017, and finished second in that contest in 2016 and 2018. He was the first- place finisher in the Litfuse Poetry Slam in 2018 and 2019, and finished second in that contest in 2017. He was a presenting poet at the Ellensburg Poetry Prowl in 2018. His poem “ A Note From Mallory’s Progeny” was one of the winners in the Yakima Coffee House Poet’s Poetry Contest in 2017 and was published in its chapbook that year.
A Failing Grade in Right and Wrong 101
Fifty-eight dead in Vegas
the Dow gains a hundred -fifty
bump-stock sales soar
Senators send thoughts and prayers.
Fifty-eight glass-eyed corpses,
on blood-soaked pavement.
the Hobbesian contract broken again
interview the girlfriend
talk with the brother
autopsy the brain
dissect for answers
but no lobe of morality
no Center for Right and Wrong
just indifferent gray matter
upon indifferent gray matter.
500 years after the birth of the church of reason
evil fairies gone from the town well
demons removed from the plague
but where is our heart?
Our ministers recite Psalms:
Lean not on your own understanding,
but trust in the Lord with all your heart.
conceived in mysticism,
chipped in stone,
gave the world faggots for the bonfires of medieval Christendom.
An eye for an eye,
a lie for a lie,
and soon the whole world was ignorant.
Seventeen dead in Parkland
Ten dead in Santa Fe
the sabbath brings eleven dead in Pittsburg.
Our leaders serve lukewarm soup to the survivors,
mirroring our lack of empathy.
And when you stare into the abyss,
the abyss stares back.
But, hey, the bulls are running hard down on Wall Street.
Adam Smith rolls in his grave,
Kant’s categorical imperative rolls its eyes at charitable deductions,
and Jesus asks, where is the love brother?
In an affluent society,
goodness only comes baked in a Sarah Lee Pound cake.
Perhaps Vonnegut was right,
it’s all about moiling for more money,
lusting for better copulation.
harnessed by the Id,
to gang-rape the Ego,
outfox the Superego.
Mill’s Utilitarianism blushes.
Gin and tonic golfing
and Wimbledon watching
on the working man’s dime.
College admission bribing
gas lighting cover-ups,
cram the victims face in the vomit of her own sorrow,
drag the spouse on Oprah’s stage,
blinking in the glare of the apologetic melodrama.
Just like the johnnies-come-late -to -Jesus
in the God squad pod at the County jail.
Lost in the wilderness,
where is our compass?
Another head -chopping video on the ‘net,
our politicians promise revenge.
An eye for an eye,
and soon the whole world is blind.
In heaven, Jesus and his faithful scribe Mathew shake their heads,
the Dalai Lama grimaces,
and Gandhi’s ghost cries in the night.
500 years after the birth of the church of reason,
the boy who paints rainbows,
the girl who tends her own garden,
still live with the stink of burning flesh.
with Mr. Smith’s prophesized wealth
but this pearl
as cold and hard as a bullet.
Where has our heart gone?