Kyle Chase Poems

This issue’s poetry section features the work of only three poets – Jim Davis, Ben Simon, and Kyle Chase. Davis’ contribution is “Set that on Fire” – a beautiful song that captured my attention from its first reading with its magnificent lyricism. Ben Simon’s “Generation Y” grabbed me by its anger and energy than its rhythm or beat. There is wisdom in those words, and a passion that captures the very essence of the Beat Generation.

Over the page you’ll find four poems by Beatdom regular Kyle Chase, whose first book, The Clinic and Other Poems, was released earlier this year by City of Recovery Press. Kyle’s work made a tremendous impact on my life, and has come to be almost inseparable from this magazine. His poetry captures not only a Beat spirit, but a terribly human spirit. His work speaks to us not as readers of literature, but as human beings. He is truly a poet for his age, and one who would have found an audience for his voice in any realm of history.

Kyle Chase is a poet and writer born and raised in the City of Sin. While still in high school, he got his start in journalism by writing book and music reviews for his hometown alt-weekly. Since then, he’s worked as a freelance journalist for such news organizations as the Associated Press, Liberty Watch Magazine, Las Vegas CityLife and many others. As far as his poetry goes, Chase’s poems have appeared in a number of print and online publications. He’s a regular contributor to Beatdom Magazine and his upcoming collection, The sickness which started him typing (City of Recovery Press), is expected to hit shelves sometime in the fall of 2010. Currently, Chase lives in Minneapolis with his wife and cat.

The final pillage of America

A sharp, mad stare

bloodshot eyes, crumpled brow

—an introduction to the madness we seek

as we boom, restless and reckless,

through Midwestern cornfields and winding

Rocky Mountain roadways;

A trek at terminal velocity

for a trio of terminal f(r)iends

Hovering a half-foot above hell-bound highways,

veins overflowing with nicotine and vials

of truck stop speed,

our travels are as much about finding home

as they are about finding hope.

Still, we would inevitably find neither,

though blasting our way past Nebraska coppers

and the warp-speed lights of Ike’s Tunnel

we would at the very least find escape:

escape from the sun,

escape from fools, and finally,

escape from our former selves.

For one wondrous week, we were not the weak

and we were not the worried or the wary.

We were the wild and the wicked;

we were the warriors!

And with my compatriot’s

stupidly sentimental desire

to soil the soil of every single state

through which we sped,

we left our stain—just as conquerors

once left their flags!

Until, at last, we stood atop a final hill

to behold the Apocalyptic red glow

illuminating the clouds above our

final destination: The City of Sin.

And like a sudden change in the direction of the winds,

my young friend’s face shifted from that mad stare

into something overtly innocent but with an

underlying deviousness.

His breezy blond hair and piercing blue eyes

combined with a half-cynical smile and, at once,

he took on the look of a twenty-first century Rimbaud

—fitting, as he was our token L’enfant terrible.

The other, that tiresome ogre whose only

contribution to the trip was about two hours

of driving time, and a seemingly non-stop supply

of grunts and complaints—enough so that his whines

became a regular joke shared by myself and the Kid—

He stared smugly at the glowing sky and said nothing.

In fact, none of us did; crashing hard and fast, we silently

loaded ourselves back into the car, and at long last,

we made our way into the light.

—For Adam Sward and Scott Holmstrom


Dying Star

For once in my life, the cosmos aligned

in my favor—oh! but that was years ago.

For six years we orbited each other—

I was just a moon, but you should have seen her

planetary beauty.

But just as we came out of chaos

We were thrown back into it—suddenly, violently.

Such tragedy—such universal destruction—and

in the vacuum of space, all cries fall on deaf ears.

The universe cares not of our tears.

Has our star burned out and was its death an

awesome explosion, vibrant and magnificent—cosmically glorious?

Or did it simply flicker and fade into

the darkness without any effort to speak of to

let the heavens know it ever

even existed?


Arrogant dead youth

When we were young

we arrogantly cried the Who’s

“Hope I die before I get old,”

and we meant it, Goddamnit.

But now our wishes are coming true

and I can’t stop thinking of you

—Will, Travis, Elliott, Mike—

and wishing we weren’t such snotty brats,

for we knew nothing of time

and not much more of death,

yet we stupidly welcomed it

with open arms—even summoned it.

Even those of us who’ve survived

—so far—

have wrinkles far beyond our ages, and

wake up to brittle bones and swollen, painful knees.

I only wish we’d have celebrated life

in the same way we did mortality.

Oh, we had our fun; in fact, we had a blast,

but at what cost? I ask.

Those of us still above the grass

have ravaged livers and collapsed veins.

We’re reaping what we’ve sewn,

but who is left to save us now?

Hearts of stone still break like hearts

My heart, it has been filled

with so many poisons—so many

solid rocks

that you’d think by now

it would be made of pure stone.

Yet, it’s not, and in fact,

it breaks easily—just as easily as

it ever has

—only now it does so

with much more frequency.

It crashes like and old, hole-filled dam,

like waves against a rocky beach wall,

like the test planes that once filled my dreams

until those dreams were replaced by her.

When she leaves for good

—as, in time, she inevitably will—

I’ll know not how to live,

nor if I’ll have any desire to do so.

I doubt I’ll smile again

—at least not sincerely—

and, no that’s not melodrama;

that’s literally as real as I can get.

She changed my dreams forever,

so much so that I’ve forgotten what I dreamed

before her

and now those dreams are falling

apart like pieces of an unglued puzzle.

If I could, I’d sing her

every lyric which ever made her feel

sentimental about me,

but as I reach these lines, every time,

my voice breaks in lock-step with my stone heart.

Taking stock

Negative two hundred and thirty-seven dollars. This is what my life has become: an overdrawn bank checking account, a stack of past-due bills taller than I am and a first name-basis relationship with the associates at my neighborhood pawn shop.

I can count among my assets a couple pieces of pass-me-down furniture, an almost empty refrigerator whose contents include bread and food-shelf peanut butter but no jelly, and—if you can call a woman an “asset”—a wife of whom I’m no doubt grossly undeserving.

My liabilities are many—perhaps too many to count—though I’ll try nonetheless. For starters, there’s my hereditary inheritance of a slew of neurological heirlooms; from bi-polar to autism, and from attention deficit to schizophrenic disorders, I’ve traces of each. Much worse, however, is my junk habit, the size of which is comparable to whichever Central American narco-state that happens to be supplying it at any given moment.

I’m twenty-four years old and, indeed, this is what my life has become.

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the founder and editor of Beatdom magazine and the author of The Dog Farm. He travels a lot, and is currently working as a professor in China. His latest book is called Scientologist! William S. Burroughs the Weird Cult. You can read more about and by David at his blog, www.davidswills.com or on Tumblr.

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1 Comment

  1. Enjoyed the excellent review of Kyle’s poetry.. and loved “The final pillage of America”! good stuff!

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