Past Tents Press

The Province
of Literary Cats
by Melba Joyce Boyd

Online preview
O’ Sodom and Gomorrah
Bin Ladin
Past Tents Press is a non-profit small press founded in 1985 by Dennis Teichman, Paul Schwarz and Deb King to support and publish writers who live, work or have a history of involvement in Detroit's cultural communities. Melba Joyce Boyd
Bill Harris
Kim Hunter
Ken Mikolowski align=
Kofi Natambu
Chris Tysh
George Tysh
Dennis Teichman
Mick Vranich

to save space
where our light
can open into stars
requires the smashing of clocks,
the broadening of smiles
and the severing of knots
tightening at the nape
of the neck.

in this country
freedom comes
like a cactus flower,
ripe and succulent,
protected by the thorns
of resistance.

About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page
see also: The Province of Literary Cats
drawings by the author
ISBN 0-9622474-1-3
64pp; 1990

Coleman Hawkins, BackStage, Ellenville, N.Y., 1956
...the almost
Hawk turned from America,

as he'd turn while soloing
to signal his pianist; or
while humming along with some
string quartet on the turntable, or
turn to turn
up or down the flame
under a pot of beans. Ex-

as easy as
running a scale;

shucked America

like charred husks from ears
of roasted Kansas corn...

...they far exceed the off-hand quality that a series of impressions might suggest, because Harris is rarely content to skim the surface of his sources...he "reads" these visual and musical icons with a clear eye and an abiding respect for the rich confluence of African American cultural streams...- Ted Pearson, Trait Magazine

About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page
ISBN 0-9622474-7-2
72pp; 1997

the police have slowed
the police have slowed
down to inspect the clouds
for genetic information
about my car

inside the single light bulb
interview without windows
they cue me with truncheons
yet my lines elude me
in face down daylight

somewhere before
i've seen this show
but managed
to waste all television
watching the day
learning to swallow the rain
and return as a river

About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page
ISBN 0-9622474-8-0
96pp; 2001

FOR C.L.R.JAMES (1901-1989)

The World is only a crazy concoction of
all our most frenzied dreams played out
on a cricket field. An intricate history
of desires fighting their graceful & clumsy
way toward the Goal. Only the play is what
we REALLY came to see & join in on. That &
the exhilarating movement of the players gliding
like aristocratic birds in flight
O great seer & prophet of the Real
we miss your scintillating ideas of the Present
We miss your scholastic & Jazzy tone poems to the
Future. We miss your spaceage theories of this very
moment oscillating in our everyday historical memory.
C'mon back & play with us some more!
We need your amazing skill & ancient widom
We need your brilliant logic & sci-fi insight
We need your limitless truth & quirky understandings
We need you out here on the edge of our liberated lives
way out here "beyond a boundary"

THE MELODY NEVER STOPS is a luminous zone like the haze of a spotlight
in a jazz club or the beam of the cursor flying across the terminal screen
of a new guide to the apocalypse. Here are new voices and modes, scary
supposings about what reality is in a world hidden from itself
by "communication." -Lorenzo Thomas
About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page
ISBN 0-9622474-3-x
72pp; 1991

16 car men rondo

car men dog the step of every class
softly swear under alphabet that blasts
the book of nature, the rest--harder to read--
allows itself to be bought or consumed on the spot
car men dig the slip, more than a few trips
spare the detour, forbidden any thought about
instrumentality's jealous use, mimicry and verdict
which fall overhead, over the market, darker
car men draw arms, say, young fellows for the most part
no affinity whatsoever with methods of reproduction
different strokes for knots of hair
much less difficult to miss netless hoop which seems higher
to the thrower squeezed hardest by phony license
to trim down language, something that clamors at birth
car men draw blood along the way there lies a pit

Chris Tysh's performative texts, her transformative theater oeuvre, her splendid plays of poetry that lift off the page into the reader's desirous voicing and machine...all these are one and the same in IN THE NAME...I would recommend to any performers interested in end of century subversions that they use these works as launchings. -Carla Harryman
About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page Temporarily out of print
please check again
drawings Cay Bahnmiller
ISBN 0-9622474-5-6
81pp; 1994


impales us

on the one sword

...reminescent of Japanese haiku and makes use of concepts from art history, narratology, psychoanalysis and Zen. His poetry encourages to explore and
re-explore image and text, challenging our interpretations of both.
-Greg Wittkopp, Cranbrook Art Museum
About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page
in collaboration with Cranbrook Art Museum
88pp, 1999


Bromide times for weathering
the testimonials to Teller et al.
Crazy ink stipend proverbial page,
Hubristic society all over noting.
Well, the wide toasty message
has endured, and now
for the miraculous abstract
called sequel. Silent Dot Imbalance

More lore for the embarcadaro minded.
Pirate flick initiative means sky
with moon sections put back firmly
into the howling doyenne's pocket.
got a future beyond the stars?
Forget it. We'll plane this mineral
deposit until our shoes rust.
So, please excuse the living material,
and do not disturb
the falling sub-orbital parts.

About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page
photographs by Paul Schwarz
ISBN 0-9622474-0-5
64pp, 1989

islands of pain in a sea of skin
spontaneous combustion of voice
in the vastness
no matter the size of your room
your shelter the way you like it
the things you end up with
when you close the door on earth
will sink into the soil
like you
when you close all the holes
the voyage gets boring.
idol worship soul diversion
forget the original shell
you are a shell of flesh
a snake on legs
some misfit of anatomy
reduce your stuff to fit.
About the Author Past Tents Press Home Page Temporarily out-of-print
drawings by the Bradley Jones
ISBN 0-9622474-2-1
64pp 1989