PUNK ROCK ROYALTY

By Iris Berry

Poem

SOMEWHERE IN SACRAMENTO CALIFORNIA
AT SOME WELL KNOWN CRASH PAD
SOMETIME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK
AND SOMETIME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON
DAY AND TIME
CUSTOMARILY UNKNOWN
TO RESIDENTS OF HOUSE
THE DISHES HAVEN’T BEEN WASHED
SINCE JULY (AND IT’S SEPTEMBER)
HALF EMPTY TO GO BOXES
WITH TWO WEEK OLD PIZZA
AND TACO BELL REMAINS
99 CENT BURGERS
FROM AM/PM
AND EMPTY BOTTLES
OF PLAIN WRAP LIQUOR
AND BEER CANS
LAY STREWN ACROSS THE KITCHEN FLOOR
LEAVING NOT EVEN A TRAIL
IN THE LIVING ROOM
THERE’S 4 GUYS
WHO HAVEN’T SLEPT
IN 3 DAYS
TRYING TO PUMP LIFE
OUT OF A KEG THAT’S
BEEN FINISHED SINCE THE WEEKEND
AND 2 PIT BULLS
GNAWING ON OLD RIB BONES
THERE’S FLIES EVERYWHERE
AND IT’S HOT
THE HICKOIDS
TALES OF TERROR
FANG
AND JOHNNY THUNDERS
IS BLARING OUT OF BEER SOAKED SPEAKERS
THAT PERIODICALLY KEEP
SHORTING OUT
THE TV IS ON
BUT THE SOUND IS OFF
SHOWING “BLUE VELVET”
FOR THE 5TH TIME THAT DAY
(MUST BE ANOTHER “FRANK” FEST)
AND IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL OF THIS
YOU’RE LOCKED AWAY
IN THE BATHROOM
LIKE PUNK ROCK ROYALTY
SITTIING ON YOUR THRONE
JACKING-OFF TO MY PICTURE
IN “FLIPSIDE” MAGAZINE
FOR THE SECOND TIME THAT DAY
THANK YOU,
I FEEL HONORED.



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IRIS BERRY has been called a lot of things but one of the best is “a punk rock James Ellroy in fishnets.”

One of the true progenitors of the LA punk scene, her writing has been widely anthologized. In The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry she appears alongside the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

No stranger to the microphone, Berry co-founded and toured extensively with the legendary rock-n-roll spoken word troupe, The Ringling Sisters (A&M Records), produced by Lou Adler. The Ringling Sisters were famous for their numerous benefit shows and through the years enlisted fundraising help from the likes of Henry Rollins, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, X, Possum Dixon, Ann Magnuson, The Gun Club (in their last-ever appearance), the Red Hot Chili Peppers, River Phoenix, Mike Watt, Concrete Blonde, and more. Iris also fronted, sang, and wrote songs for LA combos The Dickies, The Flesheaters, The Lame Flames, and Pink Sabbath.

Her experience as a chronicler of and participant in LA’s extensive underground scene is wide-ranging. From bartending at after-hours speakeasies, to stints in rehab; working within the “legit” entertainment industry (Paramount, CBS) to strutting around a Mexican wrestling ring in showgirl feathers; authoring the sex column titled "Forbidden Fruit"; starring in a number of indie films, including the classic Border Radio, directed by Alison Anders, the recently-released Beth Dewey film Killhouse, and Chris Desjardin’s I Pass For Human.

At present, she is completing a book called Tales From The Tropicana, about the notorious Tropicana Motel, and recently she co-produced a series of burlesque and comedy variety shows with comic and activist Margaret Cho called The Sensuous Woman, with all proceeds going to charity.

In March of 2009, Iris received her second certificate of merit and achievement from the City of Los Angeles for her contribution as a Los Angeles writer and historian, and for the charity work she has done, producing large scale fund-raising events to benefit organizations such as The American Red Cross, Habitat For Humanity, Hollygrove Orphanage, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Amnesty International, and Rock the Vote, as well as many women’s shelters and organizations devoted to homeless youth and runaways. For the past seven years, she has served as a member on the Board of Directors for Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center.

With her prolific creative output, devoted work ethic, and passionate social awareness, Iris has been an inspiration to generations of writers and artists in Los Angeles.

4 responses to “PUNK ROCK ROYALTY”

  1. This is a good one, Iris. Lots of wonderful detail. I can practically hear the cum drying on the “Flipside” pages. Woof. There’s a thought to carry me through the rest of my Sunday.

  2. Ducky says:

    I have been to this house too many times.
    Great description. On it.

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