July 21st: Ryan "Rat" Travis Features

Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8-10 p.m. every Monday at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery at 106 Prospect Street with an open mike sign-up at 7:30 p.m. On July 21st, it's time to welcome another unique performance by longtime local poet Ryan "Rat" Travis.

Ryan Travis has performed all over New England, as well as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Published in many magazines and online publications, Ryan's poetry encompasses many styles from children's poetry to sonnets and adult free verse. A self-proclaimed Modern American Haiku Master, Ryan accomplished the daunting task of 1000 haiku in 100 days, which one day will be published if he can ever finish transcribing them. He considers himself a word warrior, explaining that as a poet it's his duty to see that no word should be taboo or have the power to hurt like some words can. He believes that no one word should be more important that any other and censorship especially to the artist only limits free thought and expression destroying the very fabric of our being. His latest chapbook: Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll is a collection of 18 of both old and new poems that has received rave reviews. Rat got his start at Stone Soup and over the years he has done everything from holding a revival meeting in complete clown makeup to duct taping a fellow poet to a makeshift cross and flogged him with a rubber chicken the day after Easter. He promises that this feature will put all his prior appearances to shame.

A sample poem follows below.

Rock N' Roll Survivor

In the beginning there was
Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers
then came whatever my parents listened to
during the days of 8 tracks and vinyl
Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Santana, Creedence
eventually I found my own music
KISS and Alice Cooper
and I worshipped them
AM radio was alive and music in the 70's was gorgeous
The Bee Gees, Hot Chocolate, Wild Cherry, The Village People
by High School there was an explosion of music
V66 was a local MTV type station,
those were the days when you didn't need cable to watch TV and UHF
reigned supreme
soon after, music television took over my life and my TV never turned off
next came bands like Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot and Accept
My first concert was David Bowie
it was one of very many to come
I had some friends that had a band called Torch
that's when I found Black Sabbath and never looked back
Torch's manager turned us onto Frank Zappa
and we learned to experiment from there
I was a roadie for their shows, went to every practice and was their biggest fan
they played a battle of the bands with a punk band called Post Mortem
soon after, Torch broke up so I roadied for Mortem from then on
Punk Rock and New Wave were added to my tastes
The Meatmen, Sex Pistols, DEVO, B-52's
at some point Mortem crossed over to Metal
and took the former lead singer of Torch as their frontman
they released Coroner's Office, it was the first death metal album
and they became my favorite band
it seemed like I was at a concert every day
The Channel, The Rat, Bunratty's, The Paradise, The Garden, The Centrum
I lived in the pit
moshing and headbanging was my life
with my druggie friends I listened to
Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and the Grateful Dead
and in adulthood I found Yoko Ono and the beauty of the primal scream
my musical tastes have always been eclectic over the years
and I will always experiment and experience new music
but Heavy Metal will always be my favorite
cause Rock n' Roll has always been a real adventure
and I'm glad I survived.