We each of us have a good “alibi”
For being down here in the “joint”;
But few of them really are justified
If you get right down to the point.

You’ve heard of a woman’s “glory”
Being spent on a “downright cur,”
Still you can’t always judge the story
As true, being told by her.

As long as I’ve stayed on this “island,”
And heard “confidence tales” from each “gal,”
Only one seemed interesting and truthful —
The story of “Suicide Sal.”

Now “Sal” was a gal of rare beauty,
Though her features were coarse and tough;
She never once faltered from duty
To play on the “up and up.”

“Sal” told me this tale on the evening
Before she was turned out “free,”
And I’ll do my best to relate it
Just as she told it to me:

I was born on a ranch in Wyoming;
Not treated like Helen of Troy;
I was taught that “rods were rulers”
And “ranked” as a greasy cowboy.”

Then I left my old home for the city
To play in its mad dizzy whirl,
Not knowing how little of pity
It holds for a country girl.

There I fell for “the line” of a “henchman,”
A “professional killer” from “Chi”;
I couldn’t help loving him madly;
For him even now I would die.

One year we were desperately happy;
Our “ill gotten gains” we spent free;
I was taught the ways of the “underworld”;
Jack was just like a “god” to me.

I got on the “F.B.A.” payroll
To get the “inside lay” of the “job”;
The bank was “turning big money”!
It looked like a “cinch” for the “mob.”

Eighty grand without even a “rumble” —
Jack was last with the “loot” in the door,
When the “teller” dead-aimed a revolver
From where they forced him to lie on the floor.

I knew I had only a moment —
He would surely get Jack as he ran;
So I “staged” a “big fade out” beside him
And knocked the forty-five out of his hand.

They “rapped me down big” at the station,
And informed me that I’d get the blame
For the “dramatic stunt” pulled on the “teller”
Looked to them too much like a “game.”

The “police” called it a “frame-up,”
Said it was an “inside job,”
But I steadily denied any knowledge
Or dealings with “underworld mobs.”

The “gang” hired a couple of lawyers,
The best “fixers” in any man’s town,
But it takes more than lawyers and money
When Uncle Sam starts “shaking you down.”

I was charged as a “scion of gangland”
And tried for my wages of sin;
The “dirty dozen” found me guilty —
From five to fifty years in the pen.

I took the “rap” like good people,
And never one “squawk” did I make.
Jake “dropped himself” on the promise
That we make a “sensational break.”

Well, to shorten a sad lengthy story,
Five years have gone over my head
Without even so much as a letter–
At first I thought he was dead.

But not long ago I discovered
From a gal in the joint named Lyle,
That Jack and his “moll” had “got over”
And were living in true “gangster style.”

If he had returned to me sometime,
Though he hadn’t a cent to give,
I’d forget all this hell that he’s caused me,
And love him as long as I live.

But there’s no chance of his ever coming,
For he and his moll have no fears
But that I will die in this prison,
Or “flatten” this fifty years.

Tomorrow I’ll be on the “outside”
And I’ll “drop myself” on it today;
I’ll “bump ’em” if they give me the “hotsquat”
On this island out here in the bay…

The iron doors swung wide next morning
For a gruesome woman of waste,
Who at last had a chance to “fix it,”
Murder showed in her cynical face.

Not long ago I read in the paper
That a gal on the East Side got “hot,”
And when the smoke finally retreated
Two of gangdom were found “on the spot.”

It related the colorful story
of a “jilted gangster gal.”
Two days later, a “sub-gun” ended
The story of “Suicide Sal.”

— Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Parker wrote two poems while she and Clyde Barrow were on the run from the law. This poem, the Story of Suicide Sal, was the first of the two. (The second poem is, The Story Of Bonnie & Clyde, or The Trail’s End.) Bonnie wrote this poem while she was held in the Kaufman jail in spring 1932. The poem was published in newspapers after it was found during the raid on Bonnie and Clyde’s hideout in Joplin, Missouri on April 13, 1933.

 

 

You’ve read the story of Jesse James
of how he lived and died.
If you’re still in need;
of something to read,
here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang
I’m sure you all have read.
how they rob and steal;
and those who squeal,
are usually found dying or dead.

There’s lots of untruths to these write-ups;
they’re not as ruthless as that.
their nature is raw;
they hate all the law,
the stool pidgeons, spotters and rats.

They call them cold-blooded killers
they say they are heartless and mean.
But I say this with pride
that I once knew Clyde,
when he was honest and upright and clean.

But the law fooled around;
kept taking him down,
and locking him up in a cell.
Till he said to me;
“I’ll never be free,
so I’ll meet a few of them in hell”

The road was so dimly lighted
there were no highway signs to guide.
But they made up their minds;
if all roads were blind,
they wouldn’t give up till they died.

The road gets dimmer and dimmer
sometimes you can hardly see.
But it’s fight man to man
and do all you can,
for they know they can never be free.

From heart-break some people have suffered
from weariness some people have died.
But take it all in all;
our troubles are small,
till we get like Bonnie and Clyde.

If a policeman is killed in Dallas
and they have no clue or guide.
If they can’t find a fiend,
they just wipe their slate clean
and hang it on Bonnie and Clyde.

There’s two crimes committed in America
not accredited to the Barrow mob.
They had no hand;
in the kidnap demand,
nor the Kansas City Depot job.

A newsboy once said to his buddy;
“I wish old Clyde would get jumped.
In these awfull hard times;
we’d make a few dimes,
if five or six cops would get bumped”

The police haven’t got the report yet
but Clyde called me up today.
He said,”Don’t start any fights;
we aren’t working nights,
we’re joining the NRA.”

From Irving to West Dallas viaduct
is known as the Great Divide.
Where the women are kin;
and the men are men,
and they won’t “stool” on Bonnie and Clyde.

If they try to act like citizens
and rent them a nice little flat.
About the third night;
they’re invited to fight,
by a sub-gun’s rat-tat-tat.

They don’t think they’re too smart or desperate
they know that the law always wins.
They’ve been shot at before;
but they do not ignore,
that death is the wages of sin.

Some day they’ll go down together
they’ll bury them side by side.
To few it’ll be grief,
to the law a relief
but it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

 

 

 

 


 

in a lonesome
hotel room in Paris, Texas
in exile from all that i love
apart from all that has left me drunk
staring into a Rusty Wallace Commemorative Can
of Miller Light as i begin to realize
how i’ve wasted precious time on sour desserts
like how much a gram of methamphetamine is worth
instead of how much the Dixie Chicks might love
a Texas Poet

and now it’s satori in Paris, Texas and i know it
because two roads have diverged in the woods
but only one can be chosen
and one left behind

after my woman done left me and my dog done died
and in the Texas penitentiary i spent some time
after i lost my house and my car and my mind
and finally i realize that i’ve wasted my time
on a monkey on my back that’s chasing a white line

and now this satori in Paris, Texas is mine
and not Jack Kerouac’s

so i drink down a tall can of Pabst and i swallow hard
and try to forget my book of blues and Big Sur sorrows
and how i almost lost my book of dreams
and my visions of Girard and Cody
to a silver spoon syringe sorority
and now my Maggie Cassidy wont even talk to me

so i need to kick soon or i’ll be kicked
when i find a final fifty-thick fix too thick

before i get to see my sweet baby sister again
or tell her and my Mom and Dad i love them again
or finally find me the house, the wife and two kids
or just get drunk at the club with my closest friends
or write more Texas Outlaw Press chapbooks to print
or i enter my poem in the poetry contest and win
or i get to travel the world and see other continents
satori is i refuse to be another fading trend
satori is to save my poetic life of sin
so that finally my hypodermic battle will end
and my new life can begin

then my triumphant return to Austin, Texas
can be penned…

© Jeff Callaway 2005

Click here to buy SATORI IN PARIS, TEXAS by Jeff Callaway on Amazon!

 

move this flesh

this soul at rest

this flesh unwed

this flesh utterly

yielding…

 

this flesh twice fed

and put to bed…

 

this weary worded unwinding of flesh…

 

this once or twice or thrice at best…

 

see me now at my best, so take me…

 

this binding of life and love

this leisure like hour

this school of thought

this principal of adhesion…

let’s soak it all in, let’s live deep from within…

 

let’s become

let’s get some sun

all in good fun

accept me for who I am

catch my drift

catch me falling off a cliff

you are the reason that I exist

the flesh is the key…

 

the adamant Atlantic

to the west I say in purest form

purest form, nature

the unbounded sea all bounced

unbound these curling waves

with their tongue to the beach

in the kiss of the tide…

 

old moon rising and falling

all sad song said and done

all to where these words become

this love of flesh and bones and words

this love to you with heart like doves

to you for whom this heart does yearn

this love does seeketh thee…

 

and finds me and flies and moves me…

 

moves the waves, moves this unlimited sea

uninhibited moves me, moves these…

 

fractions of time in rhyme with the time

in eternity…

 

move this rhyme, rearrange these lines

it’s the sign of the times and no I’m not fine

I’m moved…

© Jeff Callaway 2005

Click here to buy A PECK OF PICKLED POEMS by Jeff Callaway!

Dear reader,

it’d be so much

sweeter to me

if you’d be

a believer

a rhyme receiver

a grammar greeter

an attentive reader

and even a bringer

of listeners to poetry readings

to make my soul smile

to make my spirit sneeze

i need someone

who really listens to these

lines of poetry that i bleed

for that is what i long

for that is what i need

for that would be

a friend to me

in need

indeed

a dreamer

cheer up sleepy dreamer

like a leaping lemur

i’d be a sailor

of somnolent seas

as freely you

read free

my lines by design

have come clean

and come wild

and i’ve traveled many miles

to live in exile

and be reviled

for only to speak

here now to thee

so lay a good ear on me

and please

dear reader

read on

read loudly

read longingly

read long

all these my sadly

sweetly unsung

ever so softly

suffer unto me

songs

which vow

to never say so long

but only to safely say

that it feels so good

to be alive today

and to laugh

and to love

and to be in love

with you and you only

to say hey

i’m also lonely

so won’t you please

come out and join me tonight

to watch the panties

come off like a light

and to long longer

as the both of us hunger for

the butt-naked lunch…

© Jeff Callaway 2011

Click here to buy HENDERSON COUNTY BLUES by Jeff Callaway!

 

 

speed kills

but Dale Earnhardt Jr.

does it for thrills

and he does it on all four wheels

with balls of steel

he goes through all five gears

as his tires squeal

into turn two he steers

and the rubber he peels

reads Goodyear

but the car that he drives says

Budweiser is the King of Beers

as he faces 500 laps with

no fear

the power of 800 horses

wrings competitors tears

and adds one more win

to his fabulous career

’cause he’s a champion

chasing the cup

to the sound of the crowds cheers

but all 8 pistons firing

is all that he can hear

lap after lap

until the checkered flag appears

or Daytona burns

’cause he’s got some points

that he’s got to earn

and all the other race car drivers

got a lesson to learn

from Dale

and all of his fans

got different stories to tell

about how number 8

drives like a bat out of hell

in a red Chevrolet

and you can ask

any of the drivers

and I’m sure they’d say

that when the green flag goes up

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racing to win

the Nextel Cup!

© Jeff Callaway 2006

Click here to buy A PECK OF PICKLED POEMS by Jeff Callaway!

Click here for the official website of racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr!

 

 

the greatest poems

are never written down

but lonely and forgotten

before a pen can be found

the greatest poems never find the ink

in the time it takes you to think

slowly with time they fade

and face the guillotine

of jilted poems and unrequited lovers

or glued to my own vague memory

of what could’ve been

if only i’d had a pen

and the recollection to keep repeating

what it was i was trying to say…

 

the greatest poems are girls who pour Dewar’s on the rocks

down their breasts with a splash of water

as i drink it off…

 

the greatest poems lick the ink from the tip of my idea…

 

the greatest poems of all

get drunk from the bottle

straight no chaser

no requiem for a dream

no teen queen Chinese angels on the silver screen

no Hollywood Homecoming Queens

leaping side to side in ecstasy

or just beautiful girls who once gave me their phone numbers

or girls back in high school who kissed me

and later became strippers

midnight sirens to madness

mad drunker bar room brawls

bras, panties, imported beer…

 

the greatest poems of all

who put my drinks on their tab

and heavenly broads who brought me elixirs

which i did drink down into myself

the likes of absinthe sugar laudanum

or i read the Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner

mad at midnight

typing poems furiously

towards glory or mayhem or maybe

for nothing at all

or maybe just for

the greatest poems of all…

 

so here here to the greatest poems of all…

 

to bikini contests

to Bikini Kill

to Bukowski

to Rimbaud and other roughnecks

to the wet t-shirts at Cedar Isle

and to the Cedar Creek Lake rememberers

who still remember all

of the greatest poems of all…

 

to Siberian Huskies named Marley

who lived in Dallas, Texas with Dirty Phil

and to Dirty Phil

to pain and pills and poems

to words that slide into lyrical oblivion

sometimes these can be the greatest poems of all times

dare i say the better poems that can rise

from poets here today

like drunken ramblings

drunken one nighters

far beyond driven drunk drivers and Dracula

no more drama

but more hot actresses

sexy angel poetess

prostitutes

politics

to the Texas Outlaw Press

and to all of the greatest poems of all…

 

to Polly to Pam to the paranormal…

 

to the ghosts of the greatest poems of all…

 

to the ghouls

to the Grim Reaper

to death

and it’s poetic casting call to us all…

 

i’d like to give a shout out

to the gangsters of the ghettos of Grand Prairie

to the hypodermic hipsters of Plano

who never made it

never got to hear the greatest poems of all…

 

to poems that got kicked out of Magnolia

for chunking saltshakers

fat jokes

plastic chairs

who never sweat the petty shit but always pet the sweaty shit

from shinola to shangri-la

from 26th and San Gabriel

to the angel Gabriel

from trumpets to cherubim…

 

to these crazy insane hot American chicks

who love poets, poems and palm pilots…

 

to an Austin Poetry Renaissance or to purgatory…

 

how ’bout another round of drinks

to the greatest poets

and poems of all…

© Jeff Callaway 2005

Click here to buy PARTY FOULS & OTHER ATROCITIES by Jeff Callaway!

 

On a summer’s day if you head east from Waco on Highway 31

you’ll notice a change when you get near the Trinity River.

The open skied landscape of blackland cotton fields and

mesquite trees turns into a land of proud tall oaks that

hem the horizon.

 

By the time you reach Malakoff, a grander cathedral of life

surrounds and its lush abundance offers the promise of

Eden’s embrace.

 

But when the sun sets, the summer heat swells from the

ground and closes your attention from Eden’s promise to

just the beads of sweat rolling down your skin. The hopeful

proud branches to the sun bleed into a black silhouette

cage against the dying light. Confidence withers and the

light dies.

 

Its replaced with a particular fear and loneliness that to

this day I can only attribute to this area, but perhaps is

common to all hot wooded horizonless places, a desperate

feeling only partially washed away by music, inebriation &

passion.

 

You’ve entered an East Texas night. When the civilized

white columns of the Baptist church and Courthouse shine

less bright, other forces creep up from the rolling muddy

waters of the Trinity and in from the whispering stoic

pines around the Neches.

 

It’s the gentle hum of registers in Caney City when

Henderson County is buying their beer and liquor. It’s the

boisterous and seditious rancor of a bar-b-que joint in

Moore’s Station or a lakeside bar in Gun Barrel City. It’s

the defiant and reckless whiskey fueled Saturday night at

Coal Miners, the debauched drug fueled dalliances at

Tyler’s Time Out Club or the drunken fistfights in dark

fields around bonfires. Its the quiet wind and starry night

along a forgotten backroad.

 

And then the sun rises.

 

From this clamor betwixt light and dark the blood and sinew

of Jeff Callaway and his poets soul was born.

 

Origins of Party Fouls:

 

Jeff’s spirit encapsulates both the hope and the doubt of

this place in East Texas. Jeff’s mother was a schoolteacher

and in high school he both played football and was the

senior class vice president. But while he thrived in the

above ground world of social clubs and strode in the life

of an all-American, the pull of the dark wilds captivated

his poet’s heart like a siren song.

 

The mystery of the dark and nostalgic loneliness underneath

the surface of the everyday was too enticing not to dive

into. Around him he found the writhings of Ginsberg’s Howl

swirling not off the streets of New York in 1955 but off

the blacktop backroads of East Texas in 1995. The drink,

the drugs, and wild spirited friends were all willing

participants to his existential explorations into the

infinities of raindrops and hot embraces. In bars and

forgotten corners too many heroes and madmen lived amongst

one another with stories untold. Tearing through Beat

writings and by connection Rimbaud 19th century poetry and

letters, he took these words to heart:

 

I say it is necessary to be a voyant, make oneself a

voyant. The Poet makes himself a voyant by a long,

immense and rational derangement of all the senses.

All the forms of love, suffering, and madness. He

searches himself. He exhausts all poisons in himself

and keeps only their quintessences. He is responsible

for humanity, for animals even. He will have to make

his inventions smelt, touched, and heard. A language

must be found.

– Rimbaud 1871

 

Jeff dove deeply into Rimbaud’s voyant and the road to

Party Fouls and Other Atrocities was begun.

 

On a warm spring day in 2000 Jeff Callaway was arrested

for contraband on a lonely & lush stretch of Hwy 175

outside of Athens, TX. His feet still wet with dew. He was

23. The prohibited possessions he carried are common in the

fertile fields of East Texas, spread like manna amongst

lightly forested cow pastures. Psilocybin mushrooms.

 

The simplicity of this fungi belie their potential to

delight, to dazzle and to madden. They can both broaden and

bewitch the mind but one cannot ignore what profundity they

can awaken to a searching soul.

 

For this fungus transgression Jeff was immediately wedded

by jail and probation to the hard times of Cedar Creek

Lake’s backwaters for the remainder of his youth and

eventually hard time in the Texas Penitentiary System.

Before his last longest time in State prison came due, Jeff

skipped out on his court date and escaped to Austin,

Texas’s cosmopolitan oasis, to ply the ears of the

receptive with his hard wrought words. He found mentorship

with fellow poets, came to parting terms with his

addictions and found listeners amongst the city’s eclectic

rabble. He also found his voice and his language. It was on

route to reading amongst fellow Texas Poets at Forest Fest

in La Mesa, Texas that the law caught up to him outside of

San Angelo.

 

Jeff was now a redeemed man drug back into his past for his

crimes of possession. But this time Jeff’s feet were dry

and he went back in with his eyes wide open.

 

In prison he honed and rewrote his poems, many from memory

and perfected his delivery to his fellow inmates. He wrote

new poems of East Texas and new poems of Austin. To his

cellmate he became “The Poet”. Those that listened were

stunned that something as antique as poetry could give

voice to the celebrations and tragedies from their

anonymous paths. His dark and light poems gave untold and

unsanctified experiences a value in a land where the

sufferance of silence rages king.

 

Texas Outlaw Press was started by Jeff and myself during his first time in the TDCJ system and went into full gear during his last and longest stint in prison, the summer of 2005. We published five chapbooks; Hotter than a Four Balled Tomcat, Rode Hard and Put up Wet, Satori in Paris Texas, On the Outskirts of Madness and Behind the Eightball. Party Fouls and Other Atrocities is the first compilation of  voyant poems that peer, frolic and weep into the darker side of life in Henderson County. Many revel in sublime friendship,  raucous camaraderie and ecstatic love. Scattered in are a couple of ribald and inglorious poems about Austin’s environs.

 

Party Fouls and Other Atrocities is the incarnate of this

lands bounty and schisms, beauty and horrors, glory and

hypocrisies. So as you embark, get ready to get low, get

high and cry out the“barbaric yawp”into the East Texas night.

 

– John-Paxton Gremillion (Texas Outlaw Press Co-Founder)

Click here to buy PARTY FOULS & OTHER ATROCITIES by Jeff Callaway!