David Huang

A lifelong performer and writer, Eitan Kadosh fell into poetry when, in search of hot chocolate, he stumbled into open-mike night at a local coffeehouse.  That was five years ago.  Since then, he has performed all over the country, in venues ranging from coffee bars to cruise ships.  Not too long ago, he persuaded UC Berkeley to award him a degree in “The Spoken Word and Poetry in Performance,” despite the fact that his writing had been labeled “bullshit” in workshops and he himself derided as “an irresponsible poet who only cares about his own dick.”  Naturally, Eitan became involved in the National Poetry Slam.  In 1998, his first year, he finished 9th out of 200 poets while competing with the semifinalist Mission District San Francisco slam team.  He remained in the Bay Area long enough to become a member of the 1999 San Francisco team, which went on to win the national championship with Bay-mates San Jose.  After stints as a freelance music journalist, children's party entertainer, sperm donor, and family sponge, he began teaching English and creative writing at El Camino Real High School in Southern California.  He is currently touring the country, performing a little and driving a lot.  He believes in the power of language and exhorts everyone to make themselves heard.

Samples of the poet’s work (including an audio):

Waiting For Isaac

I was desperate
I was dry like the Kalahari
Barren like Sarah
Waiting for Isaac
For the birth of a word
that seemed
just out of reach

So I looked to books
I thought

I could slum it like Bukowski
Live large like Elliot
Drink it up like Kerouac
Die like Keats—rosy and tubercular
Die like Plath—rosy Hughesed asphyxiated
Smoke it like Ginsberg
Bomb like Corso
all that (yeah!)
only more so

I realized what was wrong

I was too sheltered
Too comfortable
Too warm and dry
A happy pea ensconced in a posh pod

My life was too normal
I needed to take action

So I slept with your sister
And you broke up with me
So I didn’t go work
And I got fired
So I couldn’t pay the rent
And I got evicted
So I couldn’t really study
And I failed out of school
So I didn’t pay attention
When my dealer sold me a bag of $60 catnip

So I took up Mountain Dew sports
Like skydiving and mountain biking
And I broke my collarbone
But it wasn’t enough

So I ripped the tag off my mattress
I blow-dried my hair in the bathtub
I slept with your sister again and got crabs
But it wasn’t enough

I slept on the sidewalk
It wasn’t enough
I slept in the gutter
It wasn’t enough
I slept in the gutter on street-sweeping days

I ate noting but Denny’s
I burned all my CDs
  except for Morissey
I danced with the ugliest, least convincing pre-op transsexual I could find
I masturbated to Angela Lansbury
But it wasn’t enough

I started smoking
It wasn’t enough
I drank till my liver froze up like an old car
It wasn’t enough
I snorted speed was too jittery to hold a pen
Shot smack was too content to care
Smoked crack in People’s Park and was arrested

And it wasn’t enough

So I polluted the air
I littered the streets
I bought a sport utility vehicle
I sold vitally important national security documents to indiscriminate
I melted the polar ice caps
Flooded coastal cities around the world
Caused climate change
Rampant pestilence
Mass starvation
And global pandemics

My life became a living hell

As I made the whole god-damn world suck
but it wasn’t enough

because I am still waiting for Isaac
I am still waiting for laughter
For a progeny
That will carry on
The family name

I am still waiting for Isaac
For a re-birth of wonder
And for the intervening hand of a god
I never believed in the first place
to make it happen

Click on one of the links below to hear the poem, as read by Eitan during his OpenMike Poetry feature:
ASF audio ("streaming" audio, lower quality sound)   [alternate ASF audio]
MPEG-3 audio file (larger file, higher quality sound)
(more info on audio links)
Valentine’s Poem

I do not believe in red roses on Valentine’s Day
and I do not believe in diamond engagement rings
or getting hammered and kissing on New Years Eve
I will love
and I will promise
and I will drink
on my own time—thank you very much

And I do not need a holiday to prove my love for you
the morning declares it daily
and diamonds by De Beers offends my sense of individualism
I mean, sure, I consciously subscribe to certain arbitrary and artificial
social conventions—like shaved legs
and sure, I actually embrace others—like shaved armpits
but diamonds are where I draw the line
the two month salary guideline can kiss my ass
because as far as I’m concerned

You are more than a rock on a ring
and I will spend more than two months salary
I will spend everything I have for you
but it will never be a diamond
(unless, for some reason,
I really want it to be)

And I will imbibe when libations suit me
And I will kiss whom I want to kiss where and when it feels right
and right now it feels like you

and if by a stroke of luck
the stroke of midnight New Year’s
catches my fancy
I will wrap my arms around you
and kiss you like it is going out of style

Because I don’t believe in style any further than I can throw it
and if I could I would throw you for a loop
just because I could
but I can’t
and we both know it

And we both know I don’t believe
in capital R Roses
or capital E Engagement

but I will engage you every way I can
And If I can’t I will try and try and keep on trying

I will never say die
You will never ask why
and I like the Budweiser frogs as much as the next guy
But I will never drink their beer

And diamonds by De Beers offends my sense of individualism
And also
That sense you kindle and rekindle within me over and over and over again
So that I will dispense with the love poetry
And the red red roses
And I will buy you a yellow tulip
or pluck a hyacinth from my neighbor’s garden
you will be my hyacinth girl
and I will kiss you when it is not New Year’s Eve
and we will drink when it is not New Year’s Eve
and the throes of this love will bind us
in a promise that doesn’t need a ring

The Whirlwind

There is a spasm at the edge of the approaching thunderhead
The violet apron shimmers
And even flies swear they have seen this
know this  to be true

There are experiences you remember
And those you never forget
And they are not the same thing
There are thoughts you pretend to understand
And those you are resigned to ignore
Memories deleted
And those forcibly repressed
Whole ideas lost
and nightmares restrained


Like weather
And bad backs
And families
    And their histories
Murky through wine and accents at holiday dinner tables

Like possums in your room a few years ago
And clovers for luck
Red rover come over childhood games
That Cornish game hen so perfect at last nights dinner table

Sometimes sex is like that too

Sometimes I forget what I am about to say in the instant before I utter it

Car keys are like that too

Sometimes the thought is recovered with the Norton Crash Guard utility of my

Still, I have memories so precious even their keys lie hidden
I have fleeting thoughts so potent they disfigure like acid

There are places we go
And places put upon us
Roles we have chosen
and callbacks never made:

    A cat stands in your way in the road you swerve away at just the moment a
child steps into the crosswalk not ten feet away a lifetime away and you—

We are choices among the choiceless
Entropy and covalent bonds in an uneasy coexistence

They kill puppies at the pound
Stone women in Afghanistan
And put dark-skinned men in jail

And you can’t tell anymore
Which trees held the branches that held men’s necks that held choiceless
frames somewhere in limbo between heaven and earth
Because even the unforgettable gets forgotten

There are buttons whose pressing is only too terrible to contemplate
Switches whose potential activation spurs treaties and treatises
And newspapers which never tell the whole story

We are solitary sojourners under a gun
Families under a gun
Nations under a gun
    Of memories:  real, imagined, flak-jacketed, imperiled, and forgotten

And in the moment before a tornado
Say those who have seen them
The sky’s light shifts
            Shuddering off-kilter hues

And everybody knows this to be true
Swears they have seen this
and have not forgotten

Yet have no choice
But to withstand
the whirlwind
Or die


The chapbook “Kadosh Singles” is available at Eitan's readings.

Back to the OpenMike Poetry homepage

     Notes on the audio links:  The audio links for the poem lead to different file-format versions of the same audio content.  The "ASF audio" link will generate "streaming"-type audio which will download and play at the same time (no waiting!)  This seems to work best with Internet Explorer.  To play "ASF" files you'll need to have installed version 6 (or later) of the Microsoft media player, which can be downloaded from www.microsoft.com.
     With some browsers, clicking on the "ASF audio" link will still bring up a "Save As..." window (even after the version 6 Microsoft media player is installed.)  If this happens, use the "Save As..." window to pick a location on your hard drive to save the file (which will end in ".asx") into; then find the file with the "Windows Explorer" and double-click on it to download and play the content.  (Granted, this is not the most elegant work-around; but it's still faster than waiting for the entire audio download to finish before playing it.)
     The "MPEG-3 audio file" link allows you to download a higher-quality MPEG-3 version of the audio (but you have to wait until the download is complete before playing the content.)  The version 6 Microsoft media player will play MPEG-3 files.  The Winamp player will also play these.  (The smaller-sized "alternate ASF audio" files can also be played using MPEG-3 players.)
     The "ASF" file was generated using the Windows Media Encoder found in the Media Tools which can be downloaded from www.microsoft.com.