The Upstart Scarecrow

(Listen to the spoken word track here.)
There he goes
um-humh that’s him
Willy Shakes
the upstart scarecrow
and derelict poet
of the barrio and bodegas—
gin rummy seizures
and shaker of visions—
hangnail to a scab
dude rips it up
like a disco physician.
You don’t believe me, sssshhh, listen:
Of time and punishment
let us whip the eyes
into form-fitted shape
a poem
a sonnet
or screeching of blown-out tires
and backalley rants
sealing redbrown bricks
with hothouse excrement—
in other words
if someone gives you shit
spin it into gold.
Take it from me
Willy Shakes
No Holds Bard
when I say—
Ask not what your poem
can do for you
but what you can do for your poem.
See what I mean?
Judge not by the blade of his bones
Willy jockeys the disc of moon
between digits
scratching psalms
into any and all hearts
eager and ready to receive communion.
Willy’s the original Google.
He knows witches, wenches, Olde English cursive,
midget clowns, and who’s your daddy Patricide.
On top of that
dude’s a deep sea diver
and high gravity romantic—
every night he revives
his lost love, Ophelia,
with a fifth and a kiss.
Willy knows the blues ain’t meant to be swept under the rug.
Fulla sound and fury and a pinch of salt
Willy runs numbers
and lyrical discounts—
a penny for your thoughts—
is what he hustles,
the Upstart Scarecrow
ripping off the big bad Raven
who flies the coop, squawking: Nevermore, nevermore.
Willy’s bones might look stiff
but he knows how to get down
between breaks of line
and schisms—
You could say he specializes
in gray matter
and razored drizzle.
Hold up, hold up, he’s coming to—
The Revolution will not
appear on your iPad
or be an intravenous vision
administered via Facecrack—
The Revolution will
be the dream-child
of Love’s Labor Regained
and fractures mended.
Grief hidden from the ages
will take its rightful place
at the head of the banquet.
And I’ll be there, pom-poms and manna,
cheering on the voiceless and unsung,
the merciful meek and the time-worn orphans.
I’ll be there in spirit
and in flesh,
counting blessings
among the roundness of dreams.
See what I mean?
That’s the found stuff
Willy spoons up from what dreams may come—
No virtue, No sin
just grace-slicked dignity
banking on the capital of

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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