Publisher’s Blog

157 posts

Moving Past Prejudice

One of my favorite bumper stickers… “I support gay marriage, if both chicks are hot.”

I live in what I often refer to as the “northern tip of the bible-belt.”  I grew up in a catholic family, was sent to a catholic school for eight years, and live in a town where high-school football is god and homophobia is considered the norm.  Needless to say, as a youngster, I too thought “gay” was “wrong” and “not the way things are supposed to be.”  I wasn’t ever as hateful as these so-called “love thy neighbor” religious types, but I was homophobic enough that I would never have been able to have a conversation with someone I knew to be gay.

Back in the days when Usenet was used for more than pirating DVDs and porn, I was involved in a conversation about graphic novels and comic books that could be used in a college course.  The lists people posted included the usual “Watchmen” and “The Sandman” and the occasional “Lone Wolf and Cub.”  One other book kept popping up on people’s lists: Howard Cruse’s “Stuck Rubber Baby.”  Then one week I was picking up my usual stack of comics and I saw a hardcover copy of “Stuck Rubber Baby” on the shelf.  “Yeah, Diamond (Distributions) shipped that here by mistake.  You can have it for five bucks.”  Sold.  I hadn’t noticed the words “Gay Literature” on the spine of the book.

It sat at the bottom of my book pile for a while, until late one night I wasn’t tired and decided to start reading it.  That was when I noticed the words on the spine.  “What the hell is this?”

I decided to read it anyway.

It is one of the best damned books I have ever read.

I quickly found myself relating to and empathizing with Toland’s experiences.  The book begins with a young man growing up as the civil rights movement of the 1960’s is underway.  As he becomes more involved with the movement, he is also confronted with his own homosexuality.  As he travels his life’s journey, he discovers and accepts who he is.

I am not going to write a full review here, but I will repeat: It is one of the best damn books I have ever read.  (And if you know what I do, you KNOW I’ve read a lot of books.)

As I closed the book after reading the last page, I noticed that the sun was already up.  I’d read it cover to cover in one night.  I wasn’t able to read anything else for over two weeks.  Every time I tried to open a book, my mind just went back to “Stuck Rubber Baby.”  I’d found myself relating to and understanding the emotional journey of a man discovering that he’s gay.  If I could relate to it, it couldn’t be “wrong,” it couldn’t be “not the way things are supposed to be.”  It just simply was.  It wasn’t something someone chose, it was simply the way nature had created them.

That’s not to say I was cured of all the homophobic tendencies I grew up with.  I was confronted with my own knee-jerk discomfort the first time someone submitted an erotic poem to The Poet’s Haven that was clearly written by a man to a man.  After clearing my brain and thinking past it, I did publish the poem.  As the years have gone by, it has become easier to think past it, to the point where it is no longer a conscious effort and my thoughts just adapt when they need to.  It doesn’t bother me to see two guys holding hands or kissing in public.  (As a straight man, it has NEVER bothered me seeing two women kissing in public: Hence the bumper sticker quote at the start of this essay.)  I still get very uncomfortable in a situation where a guy is hitting on me or flirting.  (Strangely, or sadly, though, while I can count the number of times a woman has hit on me or flirted with me one one hand after an accident with a power saw, I’ve lost count of how many times a man has hit on me.  I’m a large, scary looking dude who grew up in the world of auto racing.  This has never made sense to me.  Then again, writing that out, I’m a large, scary looking dude who works in the world of art and poetry and listens to bands like The Cure.  So maybe it does make sense.)  But the discomfort isn’t that different from what I felt when an underage girl was stalking me.

What this nation needs to get us on the path to proper, equal civil rights for gay folk is a generation of people who can move past their own unease like I have.  The generation that follows will be the one that progresses past all the hatred.  The civil rights movement of the 1960’s succeeded in getting equal rights under the law for African-Americans.  The laws that made this so were passed by white dudes who were able to look past their own knee-jerk reactions and see what was RIGHT.  That generation’s children (and, yes, grandchildren) have elected a black man as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.  There is still racism out there, but with each new generation of citizens, it grows smaller and smaller.  Now it is time for a new civil rights movement.  It is time for marches in front of government buildings demanding that legislation be passed ensuring that people of all races, genders, and ORIENTATIONS have the same rights under the law, including the right to a state-issued marriage license.  It will be a long battle, but it will eventually be won.  The question is whether my generation has the courage to put us on the right path.

Last Night’s Poet’s Haven Open-Mic in Akron :-)

We had a great turnout tonight!  I’d like to thank Dianne Borsenik, Christopher Franke, T.M. Göttl, Sarah Lambert, and Jen Pezzo  for coming out and reading tonight, and a huge THANK YOU to Geoffrey Landis and Mary Turzillo for being tonight’s featured authors.

The wonder of modern technology also allowed Katherine Zaleski to read at the open-mic, while she was in Philadelphia, PA.  This wasn’t something I planned, but during the night’s readings the idea of a “long-distance open-mic,” a poet reading over the phone to the live audience, clicked in my mind. I might try this again in the future.  Thanks, Kathy!!!

The next Poet’s Haven open-mic event is coming right up on November 1, at Muggswigz in Canton.  This one’s a Halloween event.  A camera will be rolling to capture any poets who come in costume for a special video edition of the podcast.

I’m looking forward to getting started on the podcasts from tonight’s show… just as soon as I get a few hours sleep. 🙂  The first episode including tonight’s readings should be online by Monday, November 3.

Thank you.


Vertigo Xi’an Xavier
publisher, The Poet’s Haven

My Letter to the GOP

FYI:  The spam e-mail this was in response to was sent to my old “” e-mail address, the one I used when I designed websites for companies in the world of auto racing.


I’m kind of curious as to how I, a registered DEMOCRAT whose political views include Socialist reform, ended up on the GOP’s spam list?  The only thing I can think of is that because I use this e-mail address to do business in the world of auto racing, you assume I must be a redneck (which I may well be), and therefore assume I must vote Republican (which I certainly do not).  It has been entertaining seeing what new out-of-context misdirections and even outright lies your campaign wishes to spread.  This whole “Joe the Plumber” thing has been hilarious.  How am I like “Joe the Plumber?”  Well, I am NOT.  See, I am NOT like “Joe the Plumber” because I am not working a day-job that requires a license without having said license.  See, I am NOT like “Joe the Plumber” because while I may write and publish under a pseudonym, when it comes to my day-job, I use my real name.  Hell, even in my publishing work, when it comes to money, I use my real name.  And see, I am NOT like “Joe the Plumber” because I actually pay my taxes.

“Spread the wealth” does not mean taking your rich buddies’ money away and giving it all to poor people, no strings attached.  It means fixing it so that this country can once again have a strong middle-class.  Right now, 5% of this nation’s people control 95% of the nation’s wealth.  1% of this nation’s people control 90% of the wealth.  The last eight years have seen to it that this country no longer has a middle-class.  There’s the obscenely rich, and then there’s the rest of us, struggling poor.  This has to end.

How do we “spread the wealth?”  We stop giving tax breaks to companies that send jobs overseas.  They want a tax break, they have to hire American workers.  Plain and simple.  The more new, full-time jobs a fortune-500 company creates, the bigger tax break they become eligible for.

How do we “spread the wealth?”  We close the loopholes that allow the richest people to pay a smaller percentage in taxes than the rest of us.  These loopholes are commonly called the “Bush tax cuts.”

How do we “spread the wealth?”  By getting this country’s head out of its ass regarding socializing health care.  Even Barack Obama is wrong on this issue.  This is the ONLY western country that does not socialize health care.  I am a type-1 diabetic.  I have private health insurance through my day-job.  The insurance is the only reason I have to work my day-job and the need for the insurance is the thing that keeps me from living my American dream of being able to run my own business full-time.  Even with my private insurance, my out-of-pocket expenses for my insulin, syringes, lancets, and test strips comes to over $240 a month.  Three years ago, my out-of-pocket expense was less than $120 a month, and that was taking a newer, more effective yet more expensive type of insulin.  Last year, the copay for that insulin went up so high (over a $200 copay for a one month supply) that I had to change to a less effective alternative.  The cost of this insulin has not changed over the last three years, as a matter of fact it is cheaper now than it was three years ago.  What my “wonderful” private insurance provider is willing to cover has changed.  The private insurance industry needs to be shut down.  The government already has the best and most cost-effective insurance program in place.  It is called Medicare.  It needs to be expanded to cover everyone.  The increase in taxes this would require would be FAR LESS than what both I and my employer pay to the private insurance companies.  C’mon, America, time for that rectal-cranial separation.


Chris Draime
also known as Vertigo Xi’an Xavier
owner, The Poet’s Haven
registered Democrat, state of Ohio

> Team,
> We’re now 11 days out from Election Day and I wanted to give you an
> important campaign update.
> An Associated Press headline said the other day that this race is “All
> even in the homestretch.” All indicators point to this race coming down to
> the wire, so it’s extremely important to reach out to undecided voters –
> the key to winning this election. The election is in your hands and I’m
> asking you to make the case to undecided voters for John McCain and Sarah
> Palin. Here’s what you should tell them…
> Instead of spreading wealth around, John McCain and Sarah Palin will
> spread opportunity.
> Recently in Ohio, Senator Obama finally broke down and famously told “Joe
> the Plumber” that his economic plan is to, “spread the wealth around.” Joe
> is working hard to realize the American dream, as are millions of other
> people who work hard, pay taxes and dream of owning a small business one
> day. Barack Obama will raise taxes on hardworking Americans to give a
> government handout to the 40% of Americans who pay no income taxes.
> Thanks to “Joe the Plumber,” voters are starting to see the clear
> difference between John McCain and Barack Obama on taxes. Joe’s story is
> your story … the story of hard work and the American dream. “Joe the
> Plumber” isn’t just one man in Ohio … it’s every person in America with
> hopes, dreams and the desire to work hard with the opportunity to succeed.
> John McCain and Sarah Palin have an economic plan that celebrates the
> American dream of opportunity, not government giveaways. In this country,
> we believe in spreading opportunity, for those who need jobs and those who
> create them. That’s why their economic plan – Jobs for America – is so
> important for the American people in this time of economic crisis.
> While Barack Obama is ready to “spread the wealth around,” John McCain has
> a plan to get our economy moving so everyone has access to good jobs, a
> quality education and the opportunity to succeed.
> John McCain and Sarah Palin don’t just talk about change … they deliver.
> This election is certainly about change – there’s no doubt about it. But
> that’s why we’re talking to voters about the difference between lower
> taxes and the opportunity to work hard for the American dream … or
> higher taxes and government giveaways with Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
> You can trust John McCain and Sarah Palin because they are the real deal;
> reformers with a record who stand by their words and will always put their
> country first.
> Time and time again this team of mavericks has stood up, taken on tough
> issues and delivered. They’re the real deal. They have a clear record that
> can deliver results, not just rhetoric that delivers votes.
> In the last 11 days of this campaign, we want voters to hear the story of
> “Joe the Plumber” to understand the important differences between John
> McCain and Barack Obama. Please take a minute today to watch videos
> submitted to our “I’m Joe the Plumber” video contest to see how people all
> across America recognize that they too are Joe the Plumber. Then forward
> this message to your friends with a personal message about why you’re like
> Joe the Plumber and why you are supporting John McCain and Sarah Palin on
> Election Day.
> Thanks,
> Rick Davis
> Campaign Manager, McCain-Palin 2008
> Please visit this page if you want to remove yourself from the email list.
> Paid for by McCain-Palin 2008

WHOTTA DAY! Show cancellations, new booking, more…

These are the kinds of days that you wish you could just hit the RESET button on…

Okay, the two open-mics I just announced a few days ago at After Dark have both been canceled.  Blame the state of Ohio for not renewing the club’s liquor license.  They are closing down after this weekend.  I can’t be pissed at anyone at the club, I do know enough of what had been going on there before I booked July’s open-mic.  The owners are great people, and Paula, the manager as long as I’ve been going to the club, is wonderful.  I’m hopeful that the issues that caused all this to happen will be cleared up soon and they can reopen next year.  I don’t know that that’ll happen, but I can hope.

But anyway, that leaves me with two holes in the open-mic schedule…

I’m still working on finding another venue for the November 15 show.  I would like to have a show on that same date, however it may not be in the Summit County area.  I’ve got several possibilities in mind.

October 18 is off the table.  It is too close to effectively promote a show.  October 25, however, is still four weeks away.

There will be a Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven open-mic at the Angel Falls Coffee Company, 792 West Market Street in Akron, OH on October 25 at 8:00 PM.  This will be an ALL AGES/UNMODERATED event.

Yes, I realize that this means there will be Poet’s Haven open-mic event two weeks in a row!  Yes, I realize that this will start me on a path to crash and burn.  Ya know what?  After the December 6 show, we’re done for the year.  The next date I’m working on booking isn’t until late January.  I can get my head back on straight over the holidays.  Then again, maybe not.  LOL

Also, today’s events put me behind on completing the next podcast.  It’ll go online as soon as I have it completed, but it most likely will not be up on Saturday.  I’ll try to get it as close to finished tomorrow as possible, but after my day job (which I have to be up for in less than five hours), I don’t know how strong my brain will be working.  I already had things scheduled to do all day Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon, so I may not be able to complete the podcast until Sunday night.

More will come as I can get things finalized.  Stay tuned… 2001 vs. 2008… Be Frightened…

After receiving an e-mail from someone who did not remember submitting poems to the site (in early 2001, I still have his original e-mail archived), I found myself looking at an copy of the site from more than seven years ago.  This was from before 9/11 happened, before the site found itself collapsing under hundreds of submissions every week from inexperienced poets who were jumping on the poetry bandwagon as this nation struggled to deal with its newfound rage and grief.  This was before the site had to be closed to submissions and rewritten from the ground up thanks to the sudden closing of our original host server, basic page formatting that was written exclusively for the original host server and was not compatible with any new host, and an update system that could not be maintained under the surge of traffic and submissions that the site had begun receiving.

It was a very different time, back then.  I’ve always been very hands-on in building the site.  Even today, while I may not have written the programs that operate the site, I have read through every script and studied every line of code to make sure it all operates the way I want it to.  But back then, the pages were created in Notepad (with occasional help from Netscape Composer).  Each page was its own creation, hand-crafted to take the reader on a journey through various emotions.

Comparing the site then to today, the best analogy I can come up with is this: 2008 is like the perfect cake bought at the best bakery in town.  It is nearly perfect.  The edges are straight, the frosting is even, and the decorations are photo-realistic. 2001 (and earlier) is like the homemade cake.  Some parts are thinner than others, but where the cake dips you get a thick gob of rich icing.  It’s sometimes imperfect, but heart went in to every bite.

The site is drastically more professional today.  While I would certainly never go back to running the site the way it was run back then, there are aspects of it I miss.  Back then, I could name every poem and author I had ever published.  I could even recite a good 40 to 50 percent of the poems on the site.  Today, I find myself unable to remember how to spell the name of a writer I only published a few weeks ago, and unable to remember the titles of the poems I published by that author.  I no longer have the personal connection with every item I publish.  I review the work, decide if I want to publish it or not, and then click “Accept” or “Delete.”  In the drive for professionalism and efficiency, have I lost the key aspect that made the site my labor of love for the art?  Is my professional detachment from the work being published part of what is driving me to build a new, more personal experience with the Poet’s Haven open-mic events and the podcasts?

Check it out for yourself: 2001 2008

My mind is still racing, and now I want to go bake a cake…


Scribbles Open-Mic Results…

It was a pretty good night at Scribbles Café in Kent.

Dakota Kincer played some tunes, not all of which will be in the podcast.  (“Myself and I” was previously featured in the podcast, and his cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” cannot be used due to licensing restrictions.  This is why you gotta be there!)

A handful of talented poets read, including a pretty amazing NINE year old girl!  While I have knowingly published writers as young as 11 on, young Miss Campbell Budzar is certainly the youngest poet to have read original work for the podcast.

Just a side note: This is why, despite the number of venues The Poet’s Haven is scheduling “yellow” unmoderated events with (as well as a few adults-only “red” shows), we will still have “green” moderated events from time to time.  I’ve always taken pride in The Poet’s Haven’s openness to young poets who are just getting started in “the scene.”  The “green” shows not only allow poets with families to perform in front of their kids, they also allow the youngest writers a chance to share their work.

It will be a few weeks before any of tonight’s (or last night’s, depending on how you interpret the clock) material will be featured in the podcast.  The next two weeks will see more material from the August 23 Phoenix show, including John “Jesus Crisis” Burroughs, Parker Amsel, Robin Crawford, and more.

Plenty more shows are in the works.  I’ve got something cooking for mid-October that I’ll be announcing as soon as the details are worked out.  November 1st will be the special Halloween event at Muggswigz in Canton, OH.  Something else may be happening later in November, as well.  December 6, we will return to the Phoenix in South Euclid for the first of three open-mics booked there, the others coming up in February and May.  Several other gigs are being lined up for the first half of 2009 that I cannot yet reveal.

Stay tuned, space cowboys!


Vertigo on Politics…

Anybody who has visited my profile on MySpace has probably noticed that I’ve got “Obama for President” at the top of my “friends” list.  Anybody who knew me offline four years ago saw the Kerry / Edwards stickers all over my car.  It’s no secret that I’m pretty much a true-blue liberal.  Sure, I differ with the Dems on quite a few issues. (For a big one, I believe abortion is murder.  However, I do not want to see it made illegal, just unnecessary thanks to widely and freely available birth control.  I also think most of the new Dems elected to Congress two years ago have proven themselves to be a bunch of worthless, spineless pussies who are too afraid to speak the truth and stand up against the Executive Idiot and his puppet masters.)

That said, I’m about to admit to something surprising.  Eight years ago, I voted for Bush.  Yeah, yeah, I know, stop screaming…  Lemme explain…  See, out of all the inalienable rights I hold true and dear, the ones I believe are the most important are those guaranteed by the First Amendment.  Freedom of Speech.  Freedom of the Press.  Freedom of Assembly.  Freedom of Religion.  (Bet ya thought you’d never see me capitalize THAT word!)  And no matter how much I knew Darth Bush and Emperor Cheney getting elected would fuck up this country on a financial level, I could not bring myself to vote for Al Gore, champion of censorship in music, and especially Joe Lieberman, champion of censorship in EVERYTHING (most notably video games and film).  Nobody could have expected something like 9/11/2001 to give the reds free reign to throw out any rights they didn’t see the need for.  (Ya know, the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment, Eighth Amendment…)

That said, here’s what frightens me now.  Since John McPain (who I wouldn’t have minded 8 years ago, but like the Dems the past two years, he has spent two Bush terms being a spineless follower, NOT the “maverick” his campaign wants us to think of him as) announced his VP candidate last week, we’ve seen plenty of stories about her political record (and about how little a record it is) in Alaska.  Out of it all, one very frightening detail jumps out at me.  To quote Time Magazine:

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

If I wasn’t already decided on the Dems this election, this would seal the deal!  CENSORSHIP AND BANNING BOOKS IS THE CALLING CARD OF FASCISM!  We can NOT allow this Republican party to maintain any control over the government.  It is time for the people to take back the rights the founding fathers deemed so incontrovertible that they had to add them to the Constitution as Amendments, they so believed the rights to be self-evident that they originally did not believe they needed to be written out.

Vertigo’s Poetry Overload…

Since I was unable to make it to the Deep Cleveland open-mic Friday night, and since I need to spend a weekday in Kent, here’s what I’ve planned for this week:

Thursday, I’ll be heading to Brunswick for the Brunswick Art Works Open Mic at Insights Coffee at 7:00.  The featured poet will be Natalie Palmieri.

After that, I’ll be dashing up to the Tremont district of Cleveland, for the Literary Café’s monthly poetry extravaganza at 9:30.  The featured poets will be David Hassler & Michelle Krivanek.

Even with gas back down around $3.60 a gallon, it’s still cheaper to get a hotel room than to drive back to Massillon and then back up north the next morning.  I’ll probably crash for the night somewhere in Fairlawn or Stow.

On Friday, I’ll be zipping around Kent distributing fliers for the September 6 open-mic at Scribbles Café.  I’ll also be stopping at a café in Akron that I won’t name at this time, in hopes of getting a meeting with the manager to schedule a Poet’s Haven open-mic there in October or November.  I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing Friday night, but I do know of a few bands playing shows that I would like to see.

Saturday morning I’ll be sleeping in.  LOL  I’ll probably still be wiped out from Thursday, starting at my day-job at 7:00 AM and ending at the Lit well after 1:00 AM.

Saturday night, I’ll be heading to Lake Anna After Dark in Barberton for Nadelaine’s Poetry Nite.  I’m telling everyone, you need to check this place out.  It is phenomenal.

Then by Sunday, I should be at a poetry overload.  I’ll probably spend the day watching Law & Order and CSI reruns.

Then Monday, its back to the day-job and time to start the countdown to Saturday Night With The Poet’s Haven at the Phoenix Coffee Co. in South Euclid on Saturday, August 23!

The Cleveland Shuffle…

Okay, personal blog entry here.  I know I don’t do many of these.  So much of my life is tied up with Poet’s Haven related stuff, that the promo posts pretty much sum up what I’ve got going on.  But when I have a weekend night that isn’t tied up with open-mic stuff or website work (and you’ll soon be seeing a promo post about why I can say website work is tying up a chunk of my time right now), I try to go out and have fun.  Whether this is seeing a band play somewhere, going to a movie, or just hanging out in a club with a DJ spinning dance music, I like to go do something.

This past Saturday, I went to a dance-party-slash-boat-ride on the Goodtime III.  (This was after spending Saturday afternoon zipping around Cleveland distributing fliers for the August 23 open-mic.)  The boat has three levels.  The lower level had a band playing.  They were okay, pretty good when they covered blues tunes but not so hot when they covered 70’s and 80’s disco dance music.  The top level was just for hanging out.  The middle level was a dance club.  The DJ was okay, though I was slightly annoyed when he started repeating songs during a short 2-hour trip.  Okay, Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” twice I could see, its still a hot dance song, but playing Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl” three times?  Anyways…

Now let me tell you about the Cleveland Shuffle…

About half-way through the trip, the DJ spun the Cleveland Shuffle.  (Or would it be clicked, in this day and age of using a laptop with MP3s instead of vinyl or CDs?)  Every time I’m somewhere, be it club or concert, if the Cleveland Shuffle comes on, there will be a fight.  EVERY TIME!

My new-year’s eve, I got to experience mace.  I went to a club with a hard-rock/metal band playing.  After the ball-drop, the band took a break and the club’s DJ started spinning tunes from the likes of Snoop Dogg and the aforementioned Timberlake.  Not quite the music that the crowd that was there for the rock band was expecting, but nobody complained.  Hell, there was even a few hot chicks dancing on the bar.  Then the DJ turned on the Cleveland Shuffle.  Two minutes into it, the fight broke out.  Some drunk dude said something stupid to another drunk dude, and fists started flying.  One of the guys got shoved into the bar, knocking one of the hot chicks down, smacking her face as she fell.  These guys were right in front of the entrance.  The club security reacted quickly, spraying them both with mace and kicking them out of the bar, and I imagine into the custody of the police who were sitting in the parking lot most of the night.  Problem was, there was now a cloud of mace filling the bar, and I was trapped on the other side of it.  I finally pulled my shirt up over my face and darted through, out to the smoker’s patio for the fresh air (that’s funny, coming from a staunch NON-smoker).  That was my new year’s.

Couple months go by, then I’m out with some friends at another bar.  There was a DJ playing music for people to dance to, nothing big.  The DJ played the Cleveland Shuffle.  Five minutes after the end of the song, two drunk women start trying to pull each other’s hair out.  A bartender and the bouncer at the door quickly separated them and kicked one out, then the other once the first was gone.  Hey, it’s drunk people on a Saturday night, nothing unusual, but still, it was right after the Cleveland Shuffle.  This is just a goofy dance song where the lyrics are the steps for the dance.  You think if people were gonna fight, it would be during something with violent lyrics or something fast and heavy.

So there I am Saturday night and the DJ spins/clicks the Cleveland Shuffle.  My eyes go wide, and I have to get as far away from the dance floor as possible.  Nothing happens.  Hey, okay, it’s all good, right?

An hour later, the party’s over and everyone’s getting off the boat.  And that’s where the fight was starting.  From what I could see, it looked like two drunk women starting it, and then their boyfriends getting involved too.  Cleveland police were there, and separated the two groups, friends of the people fighting also helped keep them separated, and then a bunch of guys from the boat’s staff came out and assisted the police.  Drunk people on a Saturday night, whaddya expect?  One side got driven off by their DD, the other side got put in a cab and sent on their way.

This is the third time I’ve witnessed a fight start somewhere this year, and all three times it’s been somewhere where they played the Cleveland Shuffle.  So here’s what I’m calling for:  All clubs and bars in north-east Ohio (or at least the ones I visit) should put a moratorium on playing the Cleveland Shuffle!  Despite the innocent nature of the song, it must have some sort of subliminal messages, if every time I hear it I then get to witness violence.

And now it’s Monday, time to start another lousy work week…  Ugh…  G’nite all.


What Y’all Missed!

You know, not everything that goes on at a live Poet’s Haven open-mic event gets to go in the podcast…

Last night’s open-mic included an amazing reading by T.M. Göttl, an amazing performance by Mike and Abe of Split Pea/ce, and amazing readings by La Princesse de L’amour, Elizabeth Hendricks, and Mello (a poet featured in episode four, except I fucked up his name; I’ll post about that soon enough).  But that wasn’t all.  We were also treated to a surprise concert by John Anderson!  In addition to some of his original songs, he also performed several covers/reinterpretations.  It was a spectacular performance that, sadly, won’t all be in the podcast!  You had to have been there!

And you also missed out on me DeeJaying before and after the poetry!  (Well, after was only until the slick DJ VEL arrived and took over.)

A huge THANK YOU to all last night’s performers and to Amanda and Ninja Joe for being the street team, handing out fliers at the Lake Anna Arts Festival.

Our next open-mic events will be August 23 at the Phoenix Café in South Euclid, OH, and September 6 at Scribbles Café in Kent, OH.  I’m also working on booking an event in Cleveland on September 20, as well as more open-mics in October, November and December.

As for the podcast, I’m taking a couple days to catch up on some house-work.  My randomly scattered work areas are all being collected together into one nice office area.  No more running between three rooms to go between my primary system, audio system, and hardware workbench.  I’ll start putting the next episode together Tuesday or Wednesday, and should still have it ready for downloading by the end of next weekend.  (Okay, I may also be slightly delayed by the new Batman movie, and I’d like to maybe go to the regular monthly poetry night at Lake Anna After Dark on Saturday…)

Y’all’ll be hearing from me soon!


SCENE MAGAZINE!!! (And Please Note Corrections…)

Hey, everybody!!!  (Or at least everybody in north-east Ohio…)

Make sure you pick up this week’s issue of Scene Magazine.  The Poet’s Haven gets plugged on page 15!!!


The Poet’s Haven is not doing monthly open-mics at Lake Anna After Dark.  Our open-mics are traveling all over north-east Ohio.  Lake Anna After Dark DOES have a regular monthly open-mic, produced by a woman named Nadelaine.  July’s regular poetry night at After Dark will be July 19.  The Poet’s Haven will be back at Lake Anna After Dark for another one of our recorded open-mics in October or November.  I may also be promoting some other events at this club.  Nadelaine can be contacted on MySpace at:

The DRESS CODE for July 12’s open-mic is a venue restriction.  No plain t-shirts or hoodies, no ball caps, and no sagging jeans.  The reasons for this dress code are two-fold.  One, the place is a high-class joint.  This is NOT a dive-bar, this is one of the classiest night clubs I’ve ever visited.  Two, yes, apparently the new way gangs identify themselves is by what color plain t-shirt they are wearing.  While the Lake Anna district of Barberton is definitely not gang territory, nearby Akron has seen a recent resurgence of gang activity.  As a preemptive measure, the venue instituted the dress code.  This is something I have no issues with, as polo golf shirts are easy enough to change into.  It is included on the flier so that everyone can be aware before making the trip to B-town.  (I do not want to hear that poets could not enter the club because they were wearing a plain black tee.)

MATURE THEMES AND ADULT LANGUAGE WILL BE ACCEPTABLE AT THIS EVENT!!!  Anyone who is at all familiar with this website knows I have no problem publishing work that contains words like “fuck,” “shit,” etc.  Language at our ALL AGES open-mics must be kept within PG-13 boundaries, because the audience is not limited to adults.  Our April 4th open-mic had a 3-year-old in the audience.  The all-ages shows are safe to bring your kids to if you cannot get a babysitter or if they enjoy seeing mom or dad perform on stage.  The July 12 event is 21-AND-OVER.  This is because the event is taking place in a bar, a place that serves alcohol.  Because the audience will be adults-only, there will be no restriction on language or content, within reason.  The content must pass the same guidelines found on this site for text submissions.  Nothing more.  Racism will get you bounced.  Being vulgar just to be vulgar will get your poem cut out of the podcast and might result in you being asked to leave the stage.  Using R-rated words?  Not a problem.

The WEBSITE ADDRESS should have been just, but at least I found out about the strange way they listed it soon enough to verify that it would load okay.  So you came right to the forum and not to the home page?  Shouldn’t be a problem, the links to navigate the site can be found on the left side of the screen.

Also, the phone number they printed is for the night club.  DO NOT call that number to contact The Poet’s Haven.  (My number can be found by clicking Contact Publisher.)


July 12 @ 7:00 PM – Lake Anna After Dark in Barberton, OH  (21+)  Featuring T.M. Göttl and Split Peace
August 23 @ 8:00 PM – Phoenix Coffee Company in South Euclid, OH (east of Cleveland)  (ALL-AGES)
September 6 @ 8:00 PM – Scribbles Coffee Co. in Kent, OH  (ALL-AGES)  Featuring Dakota Kincer and TBA
September 20 – TBA (Cleveland)  (TBA)
Mid-October –  TBA  (ALL-AGES)
October 31 – TBA  (TBA) – Halloween Poetry Bash
November 1 – TBA  (TBA) – Halloween Poetry Bash
Mid-November – TBA  (TBA)
December – TBA  (ALL-AGES)

The Halloween Poetry Bash will be Friday and Saturday nights, one at an ALL-AGES venue, the other at a 21+ venue.  Poets should come in costume, and these open-mics may be released online as a video or videos in addition to the normal audio podcast.

Thank you.


Vertigo Xi’an Xavier
publisher, The Poet’s Haven

It is 4:00 AM, do you know where your podcast is?

Okay, the podcast is complete and assembled.  I could probably write ten pages listing everything that delayed completion (some good things, like booking another open-mic, details announced soon) (some bad things, which I won’t go into for fear of actually writing those ten pages).

I will have the files uploaded and the feeds updated tomorrow (Sunday).  I’ve been jumping between two computers since 10 AM and can barely keep my eyes focused.

This episode contains poetry from the June 21st open-mic at Muggswigz.  Dakota Kincer is the guest musician.  One phone/e-mail submission from Michael Lee Johnson was able to be included.  Those of you waiting for your phone submissions to get into a podcast, please be patient.  With the expanding number of open-mics we’re doing, there will be plenty more podcasts coming in the weeks and months ahead.

BTW, you do all know about the podcast phone line, right?  Toll-free, records your poetry reading and sends it to me so I can put it in the podcast or even play it at an open-mic if I need to schedule a break…  If you’re too far away to attend one of the open-mics, you can call 1-888-811-0041 to read for the podcast.  If enough phone submissions come in, I’ll even put together a podcast with all phoned-in poetry.  🙂

Okay, I need my 6 hours sleep so I can start updating XML and compressing audio…

–Vertigo / out


Several people have reported issues with the CAPTCHA image when submitting poetry or registering for the forum.  My observation was that several numbers look suspiciously like letters in the displayed images.  As such I have changed the font to something easier on the eyes.  If anyone continues to experience issues with the wrong characters displaying or characters displaying that look too much like other letters or numbers, please let me know.


Rant Time…

Just a quick rant, then I’ll be on my way…  This isn’t directed at any one person, but rather at, well, several people.


I don’t mind having to make the occasional typo fix or having to correct some text coding.  I can handle that.  My problem is when every second or third line has a word spelled completely wrong, or the wrong version of a word used (their/there), or pure nonsense where I can’t even GUESS what the line is supposed to say.  I don’t care if you’re the next Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Charles Bukowski, or Maya Angelou.  If you can’t be bothered to check your spelling before submitting work, I can’t be bothered to do anything other than click “delete.”

Okay, rant over…  I now return you blog readers to your normally scheduled shameless self-promotion.

Open-Mic Turnout :-)

Turnout for last night’s open-mic event was spectacular!  The café was so crowded that there were people sitting on the floor.  Enough poetry was recorded for at least two podcast episodes, which I am now working on putting together.  The next podcast will go online some time this coming week, with another to follow the week of the 14th.  Stay tuned for more details.

We still need musicians or bands to perform on the upcoming podcast episodes!!!  Contact me if you’re interested.

President Numbskull NOT Smarter Than a 5th Grader

President Bush has proven once again that he is a fucking moron.

I spoke to President Musharraf right before I came over here to visit with President Sarkozy. And my message was that we believe strongly in elections and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform. You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time.

So I had a very frank discussion with him.

Look, our objective is the same in Burma as it is in Pakistan, and that is to promote democracy.

There is a difference, however. Pakistan has been on the path to democracy. Burma hadn’t been on the path to democracy. And it requires different tactics to achieve the common objective.

And as I told you, I just spoke to President Musharraf before I came here and my message was very plain, very easy to understand, and that is, the United States wants you to have the elections as scheduled and take your uniform off.

Just in case you didn’t catch that:

You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time.

As everyone knows, since they teach it in 4th grade social studies, the President of the United States of America is, in fact, the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces.  Apparently, President Numbskull doesn’t believe that the President (him) can be the head of the military.  So that leaves me wondering one thing:  WHO THE FUCK IS RUNNING THE MILITARY IF DIMBULB BUSH “CAN’T”?