Author: Charleston Poets

Sentinel in the Sea (Morris Island Lighthouse)

And what luminous beacon shone,
to warn the lighthouse
when eroding tides came,
the rug of sandy assurance
from beneath its candy-striped mass?

None other than the melting decay
of each sunset.

Snapshot 3 (1-3-2014 5-50 PM)Derek Berry has been a spoken word poet, photographer’s assistant, impromptu lecturer, political science student, and coffee enthusiast. Born in Aiken, South Carolina, he has been writing since he could hold a pencil. He began writing and performing poetry in 2010 at venues in Augusta, GA. He has since published poetry in Poetry Matter’s 2011 Power of Words and 2012 Poetry Diversified anthology. He published fiction in this 2011 edition of The Inkling. He worked for two years as a journalist for Augusta’s Verge magazine. He currently resides in Charleston, SC, and performs at cafes, art collectives, and bars in the area.

He recently released a chapbook called Skinny Dipping with Strangers and a spoken word album titled Perfect Nights.

“Life Should Be Played Loud”

Some poems don’t sit content
between covers.

This one screamed from the shelf
to be released from its paper cage.

So I placed this poem
on the record player
and let the needle

This poem was born
with a dying wish:

A portrait of the poet
at age fourteen…
Parents split the summer
before grade nine.
When two parents divide
into separate one’s,
a child can’t help but feel like a

This was the math that mattered,
not the equations in Algebra 2.
Though the kid could count,
like counting all the ways he dreamt
of asking out the girl one desk over,
but too self-conscious
about his back sweat after gym class
to go through with any of them.

His head only made sense
when in between headphones,
cause he understood the math of music:
Verse + Chorus + Verse + Chorus = Escape.

Turn up the volume.
This should be played loud.

The posters on his walls
were a shrine to his chosen gods:
Nirvana. Pearl Jam. Jimi Hendrix. The Doors.

The speakers shook nightly
with the heroes of rock.
Drums rattled like thunder,
baselines shook the tectonic plates,
electric guitars plugged straight
into a live wire heart,
and singers screamed this truth in his ear:
that zero in the center of your soul
is just enough space for the sound to break in.

Turn up the volume.
Turn up the sun still shining.
Turn up the lungs still breathing.
Turn up the bones still standing.
Life should be played loud.

His daily day dream
was a stack of amps
in the middle of the homecoming pep rally.
Just him, a guitar, and a mic.
The entire senior class
was a mosh pit just for him,
the varsity cheerleaders
threw their panties on stage,
and even the jocks had to bow down.

But when the bell rang
and broke the spell of his day dream,
he had to face facts:
he couldn’t sing worth shit.
He didn’t even make elementary school chorus,
and they just let you stand in the back
and mouth the words.

But that zero in the center of his soul
was now bursting to the brim:
this voice must be heard
this music must make its way out the throat
spilling the split seams of a family torn in two.

He still thanks the day
he first heard about spoken word,
poets unloading their souls in microphones,
don’t even need the band to play.

Because these floorboards
will be my drum set,
this ribcage my bass line.
I’ll play this pumping heart
like Jimi played a Fender.
I’ll rock this slam
like The Who smashed guitars.
I’ll be a one-man poetic rock band,
playing solo sets of metaphors
over a back beat
of heart break and healing.

Turn up the volume.
Turn up the sun still shining.
Turn up the lungs still breathing.
Turn up the bones still standing.

Life should be played LOUD.

When the light receded here, the world succumbed to fear
Left with only darkness, cheer became solemn leer
For three days, slowed without perceptive time, our people came to see
a forged reality of the sublime, encrypted in animosity.
Curiosity filled the minds of those forgetful of the light
for when the sun returned to them, they seemed to only fight.
Angry at the gods for what they had done, the people turned to blood.
‘An eye for an eye’ they yelled aloud, In hatred toward the sun.
But what they didn’t know was that the sun had never left.
They had littered the sky in ash until, the darkness caved their chests.
So war arose in man, as the clock began to tick.
The sun continued to shine on them, as the land began to quake.
And soon the people left that land, to never return again.
The eye left drawn upon the hand, that saved them once again.
Now years have passed
The sun has stayed
Upon it’s pillars of glass and slate
Awaiting the day that man will wake
To finalize the same mistake.

Written by Joshua Jarman Feb, 2014

Jesus came to the south to die

Rolling tide, rolling fog
Mist, dazed in the haze

The south can be such a twisted place, twisted trees and twisted faces

Alien in a strange land.
Cruelty disguised as kind hand.

Troubled feeling from the start.
Oh sweet child, bless your heart.

Lizards, snakes, alligators
Love yourself as you love your neighbors.

Grace and mercy they all cry.
Jesus came to the south to die.

Joey resizeMr. Enlightenment, whose real name is Joey Tucker, was born on July 8, 1981 in the small town of Walterboro, South Carolina. Growing up, Joey never had the desire to write poetry but sometimes he would freestyle with his friends for fun. It would be about four more years before he actually wrote his first poem.

After graduating from Walterboro High School in 1999, Joey went on to attend Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. While taking a poetry class during his senior year in college, Joey’s interest in the art form was sparked. At that point he knew poetry was an art he needed to explore.

After graduating from college in 2004, Joey moved to Charleston, South Carolina and started his career as a fourth grade language arts teacher. Though he pushes for more involvement from parents and less emphasis on standardized testing Joey enjoys teaching because it allows him to make an impression on a child that lasts forever. The name Mr. Enlightenment acknowledges both the fact that he is a teacher and the fact that he uses his poetry as a way to shine light with his lines and words.

matthewMatthew Foley is an English & Creative Writing teacher at the Charleston Charter School for Math & Science. When he’s not trying to make 7th graders fall in love with books & poetry, you can find Matt on Wednesdays hosting the Open Mic Poetry Night at The 827 art gallery in Avondale. Matt was also a recent feature poet at East Bay Meeting House’s Monday Night Poetry & Music series. Find Matt on Facebook.

(An original by David Candelaria)

The pounding of the waves echo the shoreline,
As the seagulls hover above in the sunshine,
the tide makes the horizon seem not so far,
as the fiddler crabs dance on the distant sandbar.

Oh how I long for the Charleston sea,
my hometown, oh how I miss thee,
She beckons me with the sound of her whistling wind,
calling me back into her arms like a dear friend.

My heart is sadden, and my soul grows weary,
My memories of my childhood were so cheery,
Building sand castles with sand dollars and sea shells,
the smell of salty air, driftwood, bonfires and old fish tales.

I can imagine the warmth upon my face,
While I buried my toes in the sand,
I shall await and cherish the moment when,
I return to my Charleston Sea once again.

by Matt Foley

Gather round, dear friends.
Come lovers, enemies, and mere acquaintances.
Come saints, come sinners.
Come prophets and those out to make a little profit.
Come you ramblers, you gamblers, you soul music samplers.
Come, gather round.
Gather round this fire, this home, this classroom, or coffee shop.
Wherever or whenever or whoever you are, gather round.
Let us hear poetry, like they did in days of old.

Let a guitar be strummed, let a drum be hit,
Let the turn tables spin round and round,
Let the poetry begin.

Let the rich food be tasted, let the lovers draw close,
Let some strange mystic magic fill the air,
Let the poetry begin.

Let words grow tall like skyscrapers, let them glow like sunsets,
Let the seven oceans wash up upon our feet,
Let the poetry begin.

Let similes run wild, like an unsaddled horse upon the plain,
Let our hearts be as free as our wildest dreams,
Let the poetry begin.

Let us hear Walt Whitman and Wordsworth.
Let us hear Pac, Biggie, and Langston Hughes.
Let us move to the spirit of rock, hip hop, and the blues.
Let the poetry begin.

Gather round, dear friends.
Come lovers, enemies, and mere acquaintances.
Come saints, come sinners.
You are welcome here.
Gather round this heart, this soul, this word.
Wherever or whenever or whoever you are, gather round.
Let the poetry begin.

By: Hannah Rabon

She has green hair.
She’s roughly 5 feet, 1 inch
Ergo, she is a troll.
The only thing that’s missing
Is a bejeweled belly button,
A redeeming quality.
But since she does not have a sapphire encrusted navel,
She is the ugly ducking of trolls,
Implying that one day she will grow into
A more superior goblin-like creature.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I’m assuming the negative considering how
She charges for access and inflation is unavoidable.

Or is it skewflation?
Because trolls are becoming a hot commodity
–and by “hot” I mean coveted like a Furbie on Christmas of 1998–
While tall, slender beauties are depreciating.
The shinny, plastic eggs
That no one is patient enough to use the claw to
Capture and see what’s inside.


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