Funky Monk Live

Video clips from the Arclight book launch at Studio 107-B in Taos, NM (3/12/19). Performing “Funky Monk” w/ Ben Wright on the bass.
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Haiku in honor of Charlie Parker’s death-day (March 12th)
Yardbird’s singed solo,
wings crisped to perfect measure–
fly now, pray later.


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Happy birthday (March 12th), Jack Kerouac! My poem from Arclight honoring the man behind the mythical scrolls.
When I was a young man,
a budding scribe
eager to blossom white fire,
and scabbed lotuses,
you meant the world to me.
You exposed me to velocity bop
and piggyback rhythms,
to apple pie windowsill jazz
and summer light porch swings,
to mesmeric wreaths of pipe smoke
and the windswept skulls
of railroad Octobers
in brown, turning earth.
You soul eased
in such a relatable way,
the freight of boyhood
infused your eyes
with saloony verve,
your fingers jitterbugged
across enormous swaths of whiteness
and void,
you bootlegged
just to keep yourself
in the running with
Hemingway’s bulls
and Joyce’s Dublin,
white whale hunting
came second nature to you,
some people do impossible
like half-made angels
leveled by mortal booms.
Their very gimpness
the purest translation
of Heaven’s perishable blooms.
was the religion
of sweet, sad farewells,
the capered goofs
of little boys spitballing
I love yous
to girls in pinafore dresses
at Sunday movie matinees,
or profane leerstruckness
at the silver crucifixes
between ripening mounds
of sweat beaded cleavage,
was the racket of vaudeville,
commingled with a fanatic’s
fairground zeal,
the Zen weatherman
who once proclaimed:
The taste
of rain—
why kneel?
it wasn’t long
that highly-sought-after
in a mink stole
and white-hot spray
of jewels
came along
and cornered you good,
and the Shakespeare of Lowell
quickly became
Little Boy Blue,
nowhere to turn,
as the flesh eaters
closed in,
and all you could do
was blow wild, careening
solos through your trusty horn,
and pour
rivers of whiskey
over your soul’s
god given.
Recognition didn’t kill you,
alcoholism did,
but let’s just say
mixed with booze
in the redlight district
and pinkened sensitivity
of wounded souls
and humors itself
through the gallows.
When names
balloon too big,
when the print is lettered
through the Hypemachine,
it is easy
to lose sight
of what it is we’re reading,
Fame’s overlay
the distorting veneer
so you are no longer reading
what you see or feel
but rather what you’ve heard
from a hivemind,
secondhand rumors dispel
direct engagement with mystery,
what others know
and say
becomes the order of the day,
and that long day’s journey
into night
is, by definition
and default, history
(its winners wearing blinders
while leading the blind)
but before the siege,
and after the deluge,
Jack Kerouac, Ti Jean, Sal Paradise, John Duluouz,
and all the other names that became you,
there were the words, the holy writ,
the godblasted scrolls of one man’s
self-speak upon the earth,
that rabid seeking
as gilded sibling
to Dylan Thomas’s hilltop cloud cry—
Oh, as I was young once,
and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying,
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Mr. Kerouac,
were one of the wind-twisting
frothing fringed baubles of sea
at the mouth,
as if to prove
you were nature herself
(this the way of angels, the way of children)
and when I look back,
I am immensely grateful
that you took the time
to give the spirit of boyhood,
its vim and keyturned sorcery,
as well as music’s
plasmic alchemy,
its reverential due
in a society
where doped dreams
way too much sleep
to ever claim their meek
as soundly vital
and golden.

jack kerouac II






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The Smoking Bluebird

In honor of Charles Bukowski on his death-date, March 10th.
Bluebird in his heart,
caught in the cross-hairs of vice–
Fuck pretty, sing life.


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After Party – John Biscello

“After Party,” a poem from my collection Arclight, appearing on Free Verse Revolution. March’s theme: “Redemption.”


She, Lazarus,

back from the dead,

with a musical vengeance—

A beat, Christ, please,

she asks of her martyred D.J.,

half-light, half-man,

and out climbs her voice, grinding

through rubble, a dark velvet toy

wound up for centuries, released,

on behalf of every last blue girl, unannounced,

notes from underground

unfurling a cortege of white ribbons,

grace lost

now found

among trespasses.

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, author, poet, playwright and performer, John Biscello has lived in Taos, NM since 2001. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn TaleRaking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His debut poetry collection, Arclight, is scheduled for a February 2019 publication (Indie Blue Publishing). His work can be found on his blog/website (, and more info on his books on his Amazon author page ( 

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The Emissary

My review of Yoko Tawada’s dystopic delight, The Emissary, a.k.a., The Last Children of Tokyo.
I have seen the future and it’s murder — Leonard Cohen, “The Future”
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Death walks into a bar, wielding a scythe, which he intends to use in shaving God’s face. Death, in his wanderings, has been hearing rumors about the wooly burning bush that covers God’s face like topographical phenomena, and he has made it his self-directed duty and obligation to give God a clean shave. The thing is, Death doesn’t find God in the bar, so he begins using his scythe on all the people he encounters in the bar, and then continues his bloody shave-fest out in the real world, as he continues searching for God’s hairy, burning beast of a face. In the end, Death is a misguided barber, and God an absentee with bigtime street cred. To dance the razor’s edge between vaudeville and nightmare requires a certain sense of marvel and precision, a certain joie de vivre to keep one company while suspended over an abyss, and this is the sensibility that Yoko Tawada exacts with finesse and fluency in her satirical timebomb, The Emissary.
Read the full review in Riot Material.
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Seven Ways of Looking at a Starry Horse

A poem written in response to Izumi Yokoyama’s “Wild Horse,” for an upcoming ekphrasis event.

wild horse

The cosmos has no time
for serious thought.
Only horseplay,
amorphic in a milkbath of dark matter.
A noun fashioned
from the symmetry of wind.
They shoot wild horses, don’t they?
Hungry ghosts cannot be broken,
only fed light
from unknown sources.
Close your eyes. There is no horse.
Only a horse-shaped teardrop
running infinite lengths
to touch grief, its course
the majestic blood-let of dying stars.
If you stare into the horse’s moon-seed eye
long enough,
eventually the horse’s eye closes.
This is not rocket science.
Eternity, a rocking horse,
hinged on the fasting threads
of music unending.
Am I a horse dreaming myself the cosmos,
or the cosmos dreaming through the equine bones
of a wild snorting god, patient and noble?
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Raking the Dust

Raking the Dust featured on Snowflakes in a Blizzard. Synopsis, sample chapter, reviews, where to buy, back-story info, etc. Thanks, Darrell!

Snowflakes in a Blizzard

THE BOOK: Raking the Dust

PUBLISHED IN: April 2018

THE AUTHOR: John Biscello

THE EDITOR: Sophia Noulas

THE PUBLISHER: Unsolicited Press

SUMMARY: In this rogue’s tale, full of sound, fury, and surrealism, we meet Alex Fillameno, a writer who has traded in the machine-grind of New York for a bare bones existence in the high desert town of Taos, New Mexico. Recently divorced and jobless, Fillameno has become a regular at The End of the Road, the bar where he first encounters the alluring and enigmatic D.J., a singer and musician. Drawn to her mutable sense of reality, the two begin a romance that starts off relatively normal. When D.J. initiates Alex into the realm of sexual transfiguration, however, their lives turn inside-out, and what follows is an anti-hero’s journey into a nesting doll world of masks and fragments, multiples and parallels, time-locks and trauma; a world in…

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Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews John Biscello’s Arclight

I am thrilled and honored by Candice Louisa Daquin’s review of Arclight.


What an incredible and irreplaceable collection. John Biscello has already earned his stripes with the first poem in his book Arclight. Biscello has that very rare quality of being a natural born poet. His use of words is so sublime and striking, it has the power to cast into shade, most other poets. Such is his radiance, I find the consideration of light for the subject matter of this book to be very apropos. Biscello understands words and language, his mind is vast and deep and he is able to mine the very depths and bring to the surface language that takes your breath away. It has been a very long time since I have sat quietly entranced by a poet. Usually, we dip and feel certain poems acutely but for the entire experience to sweep us into silence, where nothing we say in response could ever articulate the…

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Henry Valentine Miller

Because his middle name was Valentine, a V-Day tribute poem to that “boy from Brooklyn,” Mr. Henry Valentine Miller,  from my book Arclight.
Some men rattle their chains and wonder, some sing them.
Then there are others who spray paint their chains rainbow siege
and dance a jig like a peacock on fire, and when someone asks
Isn’t it hard to dance around with those chains weighing you down,
the man laughs heartily and responds—What chains, my dear lad,
these are feathers. Listen to the way they jangle and clink when I dance,
have you ever heard feathers that sound like that? Miraculous and unusual, yes?
You, Henry Miller, were one of those men.
You turned wrought-iron links, Brooklyn-made, into loafer’s foam,
into dreamfaring plumage, unabashed in its frisson and vainglory,
smeared bottom’s up in in deep semen envy, angel’s spit, and stolen honey.
Vagabondage was your claim, but not your master.
Though you did have many teachers—bilious clowns, crowded streets,
torn trousers, children’s capered faces, gateless barbarians,
your mother’s frigid ruler (and how you learned the only thing
worth measuring was love, that which belonged to the immeasurable).
A lusty little scamp at heart, eyes unpopping buttons
and sailing seas of skirts in parks, you were literature’s answer to Charlie Chaplin,
with an unzipped mouth and cracked tower of seismic songs to yawp,
the world needed a Henry Miller, because you said so,
and in cement that remained eternally wet, you signed your name
and sang, Whitmanesque, of yourself, again and again and again,
an explodingly insistent echo,
and the sincerest of forgeries,
because, for those dwelling between lines,
a signature verifying an identity—
I am he, he is me, he is he, I am I, etc.,
never does true justice
to the multitudinous at work
in the playing of one’s self as instrument
upon which God’s deep welling nothingness
meets and mates with one’s youthingness,
and from there, bang.
Just bang and wow and let’s make radical inscrutable love,
music, art, whatever.
You, “Henry Miller,” wink-wink,
gave us your pulsing timepiece of whatever,
and you, Henry Miller, as my Brooklyn soul-chum and compatriot,
separated by age but not spirit,
granted me amnesty
and helped me to unlock my own
bang, wow, and whatever
resounding yes

henry miller

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