Phil Taggart has three collections of poetry.  His latest is Rick Sings (Brandenburg Press). His other two are Opium Wars (Mille Grazie Press) and an art book in collaboration with Texas artist Ann Harithas, Cowboy Collages. He served for nine years as the Poetry Editor of Art Life, and is currently editor and publisher of Askew with Marsha de la O and Friday Gretchen.  Phil runs a weekly poetry reading at the EP Foster Library in Ventura.  Phil has been recording and uploading poetry readings on his askewpoetryjournal youtube page. Phil presently teaches television production for El Camino High School at Ventura College.  The class is conducted at CAPS Media. The class produces a regular TV show, ECTV.  Here’s a link to the shows. In 2009, Phil was named “Champion of Mental Health” by the Turning Point Foundation with recognition from various government officials including US Congresswoman Lois Capps and President Barack Obama.  This was in part because of his work in bringing awareness of homelessness and mental illness to the community at large, through his poetry, photography and video work specifically through Rick Sings.  He grew up in South Whittier and lives in Ventura, California with his wife Marsha de la O. Phil is Ventura County’s Poet Laureate.

It's like, a Fall poem

Although it could be After the Fall
sort of an Arthur Miller descent
with thematic issues
of ethical ambiguity     personal integrity

I’m told Winter is coming
but I don’t see it…
maybe a hint      a foreshadow

Or The Fall itself,
all Camus-y    exploring themes
of innocence, imprisonment,
non-existence       truth  

Like when I stand     after sitting awhile
legs     creaky    achy

But maybe to everything there is a
season    leaves dying     fluttering in the wind
chromatically pleasing      and that’s Fall too

colorful      in a Fall-ish way  

Sometimes, I launch my body forward
before     my legs seem ready pretty sure they’ll catch up

Published in Spillway

Cyber Back-Forty

somewhere south
of Socorro away from
the prying eyes of
pinkertons the dream
is swept into the web

synapse like it twinkles
and wonders through
bouncing from stream
to stream where sometimes
it traps beaver and sells us
the pelts to make hats


Walking the Dog in a Time of Rage

the minivan screams by     horn blaring     angry fist out the
window       I must have done something wrong     

rage has become our discourse    our answer  anger our
voice    sputtering    away in the ether     on the highways    
in the ballot box

we’re driving through a park    not a very big one
only one entrance    one parking lot     we’re both
approaching     I wonder if he’s going to the farmer’s market too

my friends online-nip at each other     clever quips      bite

I pass his vehicle      drive to the other side of the parking lot
as far away as possible        

this anger swirls inside   we don’t know what to do    

a white man in his 40s     gets out of the van     sets his dachshund
down      pulls a baseball bat    from the back seat    looks at me

Marsha and I go look for brussel sprouts    but
part of me wants to stay      I’m angry too      walk over to him    isn’t that how
it’s supposed to be      celebrate this rage     consecrate it with our blood
on the ground    flowing  

we find yellow squash    instead     on the other side of the park    
there’s the man      his dachshund       his baseball bat

Published in Spillway

Late Night

the fear
woke me

a shadow
raving blackout
numb frozen

at the edge
afraid to
but wanting to

I have never been
comfortable with sanity

my mother
her body
vacant electro-shock

my brother
listens to voices
on a mattress
in the corner
of a carport

the fear is
a comfort
and inevitably
it welcomes me

Published in Solo Cafe and in Phil's book, Rick Sings

Phil reading his poem, Last Night on youtube


Phil Taggart
photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher



© 2017 Phil Taggart


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