Oh, for the democratization of poetry! For the populace, for the youth, for the wild boys and girls of every generation! Let us celebrate direct emotion, purity of expression, raw feeling represented with the rawest of words. Let us celebrate New York, with its Beat Generations, its midnight cafés, its solid and sordid history of every type and era of class revolution. And let us not forget the individual artists and activists who spend their lives keeping New York's perpetual revolutions alive.
Anne Lombardo Ardolino (Oct. 1944 - Sept. 2014) embodied this spirit: in her presence, in her life, in her songs and art, and particularly in her poetry. In I Can Sing Fire we were able see what she'd been working on for decades: an aesthetic that was base but never banal, crude and sophisticated, and counterculture in a way that embraces the poetic tradition. In short, she brought us a book which was pure rock 'n' roll.
I Can Sing Fire was an easy read: it slammed through us like a concert, leaving us pumped for more art, unable to distinguish words from action. Despite it's immediate clarity, it wasn't simple: it was strong enough to pull us back in many times over.
I Can Sing Fire
I can sing fire
I can speak in over fourteen different colors
I can paint with words
which could never be seen
by the naked eye
black rainbows at midnight
trees that can dance without moving
smooth black leopards
wearing smooth black spots
running through a white night's light moon
their shadows of a weightless blond silence
hanging like vapors beside them
and so then why am I not a poet?
I never use words
but tell me why
is it even necessary
to be so fucking ar ti cu late?
I know how to bleed in the dark
without making a sound
without spilling a drip
you don't like blood
how it flakes when it dries
but this is my poetry
and I only feel obligated
that it stains.
all pink and wrinkled
puckered as if for a kiss
ah but don't be fooled
Ode to Marty Matz (R.I.P)
Whenever Marty spoke
bright flames curled
like peacock plumes
from his tongue
on the walls he passed
of every color
he climbed the Indian rope
where he learned from magicians
how to weave red poppies
between the letters of his words
but perhaps breathing life
into the un enchanted
who could not understand
finally taxed the poor man
now who will there be
to cook dinners of roses
for the spiritually homeless
God's un chosen people?
Now who will there be
to sing musical speeches
that the tin ears can hear
for once in their song-less lives?
Now who will there be
to make the promise
God WILL say
to the souls that lay
"Okay—time served—you can come home now."
What people are saying about I Can Sing Fire:
"Anne Ardolino has the authentic voice of a woman who has survived the life with intelligence and wit. She has listened to the sounds of life and now is our chance to listen to her."
—Jerome Poynton, literary executor of Herbert Huncke
"Anne's poetry sing songs it 's way thru the dark alleys of sin-stained reality. Brightly-colored words from deep in the jungle of the mind. Striking images forged in furnaces of trancended pain. Anne give voice to truths that are rarely heard and almost never available for reading."
—Penny Arcade, author of Bad Reputation
"If Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell, Anntelope's poetry is for those who have already been there: haunting and brutal but also tenderly redemptive—Sylvia Plath meets Mary Oliver—her poems flicker and gleam in the dark like switchblades, or candles..."
—Alan Kaufman, editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and author of Jew Boy: a memoir
"Pure Anne Ardolino is the Joan of Arc of the Lower East Side riding her charger on the hot steamy summer streets on a perpetual vision quest. She is seeking the growing strength of her words woven through the silken veil of her life and times. She is a complex woman with a powerful voice who should be heard."
—Jeremiah Jay Newton, editor of The Letters, Diaries and Drawings Of Candy Darling
"Anne always seems to hit a home run with her poetry. She's down to earth and reaching for the heavens at the same time. Anne has survived a life on the fringes and come back with literary treasure. Buy this book—you won't be disappointed."
—Jason Stuart Ratcliff, author of The Books of Angelhaunt and Rites of Passage