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10 July, 2018: Ben Gulyas

Ben Gulyas
Ben Gulyas grew up in Hiram, Ohio. He came to embrace poetry through the open readings of Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights, the Brady CafĂ© in Kent, and the weekly open mics of Cleveland’s Barking Spider Tavern. It was somewhere along this spirited road of open poetry that he found his home in the tradition of the oral poet. Thereafter and for over thirty years he has prompted and participated in readings in countless venues come & gone. As a later welcomed bartender at the Barking Spider, he was honorably tasked with passing the hat for a wondrous variety of talented musicians while performing a renowned blend of written and spontaneous call & response poetry with musical back-up. He performed this Barking Spider joy for many years until it’s celebratedly sad closing in the fall of 2016. Also in his kit bag of history among various collaborative printing schemes, including The Coventry Reader, Art Crimes and Split Crimes, he was co-editor along with Jim Lang and Mike Thomas of the self-propelled broadsider poetry rag, Split City.

one moment he is a garage barrel knocked on its side
one moment he is a throat
retrieving a lost breath
one moment he is the sun
tucked deep in 40-degree water, a glint of fin
rollin’ in golden fire at the end of the line—
one moment he is the pitch night with the sound of waves in his ears,
a drenched incantation…
gone below, somewhere in the heart,
sent to haul forth ratchets, lug nuts, screw jars, photos,
faces from side-glanced dreams,
the shape of blind horns…
or as Carnetti called it,
a conversation with a scatter brain—

At some point early on in life, he wandered off into a rolling loom of images… there he remains—

Make of him what you will—

“In Ben Gulyas, you are getting one of the original Ding Dong Daddies from Dumas and Lord he is gonna do his stuff. Catfish mouth Celestial Word Romp. Hammerhead Boondock Blueberry Hill Heart hurt. Hiram Yawp. Vachel Lindsay's lost wandering red headed son. Star Thrower Pancake Flipper up from Aches Unknown. Alley Singer No Tin Pan. Micheline's Street Songs at Midnight in the Cold Rain. Ben Gulyas is the one Memphis Minnie was singing to, "I am selling my Porkchops, but I am giving away my Gravy for Free."
— Maj Ragain

1. "Joey Tone"

2. "I wanted a simple poem"

3. "On Oar Street"

4. "Printed on a piece of tin"

5. "Bring out dried sausage"

6. "We exist under rivers"

7. "Willie the lion"

8. "Oh I think it was"

9. "We’re Here and Not Here"