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Jerome Sala reads from The Cheapskates and Spaz Attack

On this past warm Thursday morning, Jerome Sala and his wife Elaine Equi came over to my place, wading through the heat, to read some poetry. I happened to have Jerome’s first book, Spaz Attack, published in Chicago—Elaine and Jerome’s hometown— by Stare Press in 1980. Jerome was pleasantly surprised to see it, a beautiful book to hold, and keeping with the punk sensibilities of the time, dedicated to no one. It does have an inscription by Mayakovsky though: “I demand as my right an inch of ground,” which compliments the book’s inspired Futurist/Constructivist design.

Jerome decided that he would read a poem from Spaz Attack as well as a few from his latest, The Cheapskates. Time and place and nemesis may have changed, but it is easy to hear the consistent humor in his work. Even when examining the darker possibilities of culture, of governments, of language, his observant wit makes it seem less scary:

I choose to bow
to the current hippopotamus
and stay away
from its pond.

Think of Fred Flintstone reading Hegel. Here is a poem from The Cheapskates that he didn’t read across from one he did:


stone age

owning property
working for the man
and loving it
natural as a brontosaurus crane
or a purple
pet dinosaur dog
named Dino

proving once again
like everything else
on the waves

that the way we live
is the way it’s supposed to be
must be
cause it’s always been this way

as far back
as that cartoon called history
can see

you can count on it
invest in it

it’s bedrock

Jerome Sala, who has made a living writing advertising, has always had his finger on the popular pulse of the time. “How are we doing, Doc?” we ask afraid. He looks up from our wrists with a look of concern, but before he speaks, he smiles.







The Cheapskates is published by Lunar Chandelier Press. You can check the press out here:


  1. lally

    thanks for this Don, doesn’t get any better than Jerome Sala…

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