Start in the meadowlands
or the Turnpike
or on the Turnpike driving
through the meadowlands
in a car, a fast car
with a broken muffler
and faulty air conditioner.
Wind up down the shore
listening to a bar band
drinking beer in a plastic cup.
Have a secret rendezvous
with a beautiful girl
or boy (your choice)
Born to Run plays in the background
or Sandy or My Way . . .
anything but New York New York.
Working class roots
must be explored in depth:
Factory work, waitressing
while attending state college,
convenience store clerkery,
and drunken poetry readings
in extraterrestrial bars
topics worthy of consideration.
Wax poetic over holiday celebrations,
Fourth of July fireworks,
suburban Xmas light displays,
Thanksgiving homecoming games,
blaring salsa street festivals
Memorial parades with hobbled
veterans and firetrucks,
inebriated St. Patrick’s bar crawls
feasts for saints, brass bands snaking
through streets with statues
carried on ancient Italian shoulders.
Go sparingly on the adjectives
and adverbs, the grammar
of New Jersey is built
on nouns and verbs.
Scatter the ashes of a loved one
in the Hudson
the Atlantic Ocean
according to temperament.
Occasionally, write about family,
the family you grew up with
or the family you raised:
A daughter talking to a god
beheld in empty hands,
a malingering son
slapped on the cheek,
the tears that follow,
your Dad the Jersey City cop
who dragged you off the shadowy
streets and thereby saved your life.
Journey though ravenous tunnels
with the promise of strange music,
glamour, adventure in the night.
Rail against, but accept corruption
for what it is—employment
opportunity for the village idiots
of your town and county.
Keep open relationships with
our friends from the South (Jersey),
an exotic people
whose antic descriptions
of devils, piney woods,
crosses burning in moonlit fields
Atlantic City hijinks provide
fodder for many a homey tale.
Mourn the suicides and overdoses
of friends and lovers
who ventured to the City
with oversized dreams.
Record your melancholy
as the casket rests in the
ripped green grass.
Admire the gleaming Gotham
skyline from a distance.
Remember, it was erected for us.
Let the unknown unfold organically.
No matter what Camus says
New Jersey is the birthplace of existentialism.
Who can argue with a pair of longhaired
boys smoking Winstons
in front of 7-11 on a Saturday night?
Buy before publication day and save 30% directly from the publisher.
Come on out and hear Danny Shot read from his long-awaited book!
March 11 Hoboken Historical Museum w/ Eliot Katz, Joel Lewis, Alicia Ostriker
March 25 Bowery Poetry Club w/ Marc Williams, Bob Holman, Nancy Mercado, Timothy Ree, Melissa Goodrum
Monday April 9 Black Sheep Pub Philadelphia w/ Ernest Hilbert
Tuesday April 17 at Calamari’s Erie PA
Wednesday April 18 White Whale books Pittsburgh w/ Karen Lillis, and the dirty poet
Friday, April 20 Poetry at the Barn, Huntington Long Island
Sunday, April 29 4:30 pm Hudson Valley Writer’s Center w/ Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Howard Levy, Tina Kelley
Friday, May 4 at Grolier Poetry Book Shop, Cambridge, MA w/ Melissa Goodrum (tentative, could change to Friday 4/27)
Tuesday, May 15 9:30 am at Kaplen JCC on the Palisades 411 E. Clinton Ave, Tenafly, NJ 07670
Wednesday, June 13 Barron Arts Center 582 Rahway Ave, Woodbridge, NJ 07095
Friday, June 30 The Beat Museum San Francisco, CA
Danny Shot was a longtime publisher and editor of Long Shot arts and literary magazine, which he founded along with Eliot Katz in 1982 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Born in the Bronx and raised in Dumont, New Jersey, by German Jewish refugees, Danny graduated Rutgers College in 1980 with a B.A. in English. Shot’s poetry has appeared in bum rush the page (Def Poetry Jam), Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (Henry Holt), and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (Thunder’s Mouth) among other anthologies and numerous journals. Shot has read his poetry throughout the United States and appeared on television (WNBC, New York) as part of Felipe Luciano’s Wordchestra. He has spent over 30 years as a NYC public high school teacher, serving in the South Bronx, Harlem, and Brooklyn. Mr. Shot lives in Hoboken (home of Frank Sinatra and baseball) where he is the poet-in-residence of the Hoboken Historical Museum.
[…] came across a post on Facebook the other day titled ” ‘How to Write the Great Jersey Poem’ by … Now, since I’m always on the lookout for anything new and different that pertains to the arts […]