Michael C. Ford was born in Chicago.  His debut spoken word recording Language Comandao earned a Grammy nomination.  His book of selected poems Emergency Exits was honored with a Pulitzer Prize nomination.  Since 1970, his catalog of approx. 26 volumes of published work include books, chapbooks, broadsides, pamphlet editions, both vinyl and compact disk spoken word recordings.  His Brainpicnic Productions in association with Hen House Studios produced a poetry film documentary paying tribute to Kenneth Rexroth.  Since 2007, Ion Drive Publishing has put his last five volumes into the marketplace.  Michael has taught at university and his plays have been staged internationally.  Currently he’s in-studio with a CD project:  a carefully selected set of ten tracks which will be released with the title Fast Food Sanitarium.  His most recent collection is a pamphlet edition of modern music-related poetry entitled Atonal Riff-Tunes To A Tone Deaf Borderguard.  It is published by Lawn Gnome Books in Phoenix. 



Intrusion in Suisun

Through something like divine
guidance we are all interlopers

during this moonlit mountain-top
moment in Solano County: torn

fruit shed on Rockville Road: past
Mankes Corner along the long run

of Green valley:  below there where
we view all the vanquished from our 

gravel drive ascension that goes right
into this pulpit of a dipping foothill

gap: so around here we cannot help
hearing the gospel of teenage warlords:

the graffitied stone or seeing the bombing
on oblivions of the Rio Vista Bridge: a few

crude intrusions of gang-tagging across a
few stucco walls along the mean streets of

Vacaville: it’s within these underworlds we
are earthy rituals of resignation only to 

become dust-guests in a no-host hotel with a
register full of the most dangerous vacancies

Crows Landing:  1990


A Talisman for to Travel

You had wings in your eyes that day

They kept on flying south
Over and over again

Indian summer blues cover evening’s
Dreamy trees or whatever else
We might need nesting in twigs
And branches

They are like the burst of
New poems that covers my desk {many
Of  them, perhaps, unpublishable
Like this one}


I extend my arm into the day after

As though to lay my hand in it
Like an egg

Yet, I touch only a typewriter keyboard
Of  the day before

Outside the air is empty of birds

 Denair, California: 1975

Published by 48th Street Press (2010)


Yuba River / South Fork

First of all, there’s this wind: acrid beast
devouring small animals of clouds. The
river’s charge is like Switzerland

exploding. Speak to me out of Auburn
snowstorm silence. you wanted, once,
to hold Kenneth Patchen’s book: Cloth

Of The Tempest, under the icy ridges
so your hands could remember baseball
and other country games; yet, now, your

voice is quiet, as this cement-mixer mist,
in winter, is, sometimes. Look what’s
grinding off a gall of mauling slush. It is,

perhaps, in some way, a very different sort 
of underworld mood swing spitting and  
swearing at a God nobody prays to.

Donner Pass: 1976


Short Circuit / Solano County

My central nervous system convenes
Like tangled strands of dime-store
Ribbon: it’s all somehow wrapped

Around  the lit-up Fairfield arch: this
Curved bleak tangerine illness of light
Tending to obfuscate a memory of, even,

The ugly beauty of Los Banos: or whatever
Punished parts of the North Central Valley
Snag our insecurities: very much the same

Way nerves might strike somebody’s
Opening night: or snare the postulant 
Before an examination of conscience.

Fairfield: 1986


Michael C. Ford


Times article


Ford is one of the spoken word movements leading proponents; combining his dramatic and provocative sensibilities with a dry social commentary.
      — LA Weekly

The sadly unexplored nexus of poetry and jazz is brought to life again in sparkling fashions as poet Michael C. Ford has attracted a fair deal of alternative programming; he helps his own cause considerably by reading his work with artful clarity of expression.
     — Daily Variety

In this new age of loudmouth poetry slam hubris, what a pleasure it is to experience such a sensitive and imaginative voice.
     — Steve Allen

Michael C. Ford’s work comprises a wily survivors social history of that last place on the American map. It endures the legend; from the haunted boulevard of Hollywood’s broken dreams and the great bedeviled Jim Morrison on the Sunset Strip to the great bedeviled John Cassavetes in the hills above. This poet gives us a flavor some, soulful, rollicking geography, too; but nowhere you would ever take your sister.

     — Aram Saroyan



2012 Michael C. Ford

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