Ragtime Society

From Classic Ragtime Blues Folk Skiffle R&B Soul We Derive Our Lives

Poetry by Carl Hultberg: sugar for salt, next to no one, wet like what, make do, silver cars, rice and beans, bowery flowers, gungewam (May 2012) poetry books available for $10

Ragtime Society 113 US Rte 4 Danbury NH 03230
from wet like what:
freedom machine

it’s not called freedom
if it always needs gasoline
that’s why my two wheeler
is called the rice and beans

it tears up the pathway
running from here to town
the roadway nearby is crowded
on the path there’s no one around

observing shiny projectiles
frantic road racing not far away
through the tree screen protection
folks out driving on a nice spring day

kids on video in the back seat
drivers distracted on the phone
seen from the solitary bike path
slaves of freedom driving home

from next to no one
:
agreevation


perhaps
is all the poet is
answering ancestors after all
is all we know it is

no one admits to anything
after all the arguments agree
the poet is impossible
and that would be me

awkword

rhyme or reason
take your pick
make your choice
and make it quick

beholden to
the male ideal
but men don’t agree
and so life is unreal

reason’s the reason
we resort to crime
just to be unreasonable
choose rhyme

blame

don’t blame the brute
just doing as he’s shown
history of man
bad to the bone

don’t blame the woman
left all alone
forced into the gutter
from off of the throne

don’t blame the children
who are not yet grown
where the seeds of stupidity
have yet to be sown

don’t blame the black man
with no power of his own
james brown bo diddley
sly and the family stone

look to the man
who is no man’s clone
blame the poet
he should have known

from bowery flowers:
legend of adam purple

there once was a city so grey and square
that everyone had a headache there

a man in purple on a purple bicycle
hauling the horsepoop and dirt to recycle
in his special trailer down to the lower east side
by the ruined buildings where the economy died
he shoveled brick dust with the pure horse
and made great soil of course
he planted flowers white and purple
his garden was a perfect circle
each year it grew another round band
all built with his labor no motors by hand

in the ground floor of an old deserted building
he lived a simple veggie life fortune willing
he hauled up water from underground
he heated with wood he found around
he stored materials in hundreds of closets
he cashed in bottles for deposits
everywhere he went he went by bike
covered with bells so he could ride where he liked

people came to pick the berries as they sweetened
everyone liked adam purple’s garden of eden

each year the garden grew another band and
the bands got bigger this was getting out of hand
you could see the growing circles on a satellite map
this was the round garden in the square city trap
either the city had to change to let the circles grow
or else the garden of eden well you know

so they came on one cold winter morning
and bulldozed the garden of eden without warning
the people were sad the beautiful garden was gone
the city was relieved they couldn’t have stood that

very long

street painter

it would be poetic
to say we met
in the garden of eden
but of course it was true
she in my photograph
and me and the cat
in her painting and
the pictures she drew

an eye for the classic
the landscape she is in
the old ash can school
is now a recycling bin
her pallet getting lighter
her charming car caricatures
even a painting from photos
rudi and niki the past endures

sleeping on her divan
window overlooking 2nd avenue
the intoxicating smell of the oil paint
a dream of my past come true
somehow we keep dancing
each with each other in the city place
each in our own life and space
our hard earned village freedoms
hers the purest of all so gained
from her eye in the beauty face

of all the old familiar neighborhood
some of which might disappear
but not while the politician of beauty
the street painter is here

from gungewam:
horse/woman

first the young girls rode the horses
without a record still without a doubt
amazing feat the result of course is
history when men all figured it out

on their mounts the indian forces
the parthian bow and arrows attack
once the men controlled the horses
too late to take all those arrows back

the horse woman knows it all
how we live now under a spell
but her bond is with the animal
and the horse won’t let her tell

riding the show circle successful
see the children on the carousel
the trotters and the draft horse pulls
language of horses she knows so well

riding rememberance radius
and for the thrill out on the track
then the day one of the horse ladies
turned her steed around to lead us back

penned in horse

the horse that would set her free
but free himself he would never be

when she’s ready he goes somewhere
the rest of the time six thousand foot square
backwards and forwards and still going nowhere
three hundred and fifty five days a year who cares
no rider or visitor comes down to see him there
sometimes not even a bale of hay to spare
the horse in the electric fenced in yard

no fair

from silver cars,
fruitsellers mother

nobody’s
going to tell her
she’s just the mother
of a poor fruit seller

he was a good boy
never a cause of trouble
but every man has a limit
his dignity is his double

the order he refused
and died on the spot just one
that millions rose up to follow
the fruitseller’s mother’s son

map to the treasure

personal perennial
home for those who care
the center of the universe
in the middle of nowhere
small town america
urban rural country blues
in the computerized city
take a walk in my shoes
ignorance is universal
location shows no gain
wherever you are you are
in the breakdown lane
for the hidden clues
history humanity misled
compass of the human heart
still found but lost instead

from sugar for salt:
community service

it won’t take you long
and it won’t cost a lot
whatever you did
you got caught

now everybody sees you
working around town
with the cemetary custodian
you shovel the ground

sorting cans at the transfer station
someplace you’re not usually found
you could be just a volunteer
but you don’t see many of them around

except of course the man in charge
who keeps the graveyards neat
he works hard everyday
for a price that can’t be beat

for fifty years a teacher and a worker
most of his type now long gone
digging a grave by hand in winter
giving guidance to those gone wrong

many a poor teen with trouble at home
no father to follow except into crime
community service gave them experience
because the cemetery custodian gave of his time

from make do (poems for younger kids):
make do

mommy said the food was through
and no money until april 2
that was just what happened to be true
so she said we were going to have to

make do

make do with our old clothes
make do even if no one knows
make do with the stuff we own
make do we’re not alone
make do but share with friends
maybe find where friendship ends
then return to make amends
make do borrows then it lends
make do with a heart that’s true
make do with an I love you
make do with a game of share

make do you know we still care

bully

moving menace
words that sting
bully’s what’s wrong
with everything

threatened by change
people they’ve heard about
fear is the reason
the bully strikes out

fear in the home
fear in the world of men
the bully looks for a victim
but the bully needs a friend


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