Dennis Leroy Kangalee directing Numa Perrier in Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire. [Photo: Nina Fleck, 2014]

Dennis Leroy Kangalee

Fragments, Vol. 1

The Frozen Man

There’s only one problem with man: the fact that he keeps going on.
Somehow I am not sure if it will matter. In fact it won’t. Because I’ll still have to pay rent tomorrow, right? Whether it’s a republican or democrat, whether it’s Sunday or Monday — whether I’m what you’d call dark or light — I’ll still have to pay rent? So that says it all right there. And if it doesn’t matter, why play the game?

I’ve been a frozen man a long time, at least since my last suicide attempt.

I changed when I got out of the coma, somehow I felt the things around me differently…like a strip of flesh with the flu. Some call it a religious experience-peak flow-runner’s high. I don’t know. I don’t care anymore. But I do know that all my collected dreams, all my wishes, all the bets I placed — did not come through. I never played with my money, the gamble was with my life. And I enticed others to invest in me. And when I let them down, I couldn’t get back up. Only I wasn’t lame so I couldn’t be shot. I was frozen. Stuck inside myself. I had reached the end of imagination and there was nothing left for me to see or say. I was like a dangling spoon.

I knew a record collector who was hooked on heroin and every time he’d cook up, he’d bend his spoon into a question mark. When I asked him why, he said exactly. He was shooting the answer into his veins.



Anger is just rage with an ‘N’ to soften the blow.
Always look out for someone who cherishes books & then burns them.

 Looking back over my shoulder, through the pinched elbow of time,
 I can see it was merely a habit I had noticed,
A conscious “putting-down”
A fear of “letting loose”
Elements of souls not saved.

We have no anger, We have Facebook.

Call me when the guilty decide to bleed.
We have sowed the seeds of Kitty Genovese.



Ginsberg wrote: “I saw the best minds
 of my generation destroyed by
 starving hysterical naked,
       dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
              looking for an angry fix..”

But not me.
I saw the best minds of my generation
resist their true insanity
and give up their imagination to Dead Steam.
The best minds of my generation are writing poems, but not sharing them
The best minds of my generation are not on the picket line, they’re being trampled by them
The best minds of my generation do not want to occupy
The best minds of my generation have a hard time  ordering a cup of coffee
The best minds of my generation have no desire to follow idols
The best minds of my generation stay indoors or inside, off-the-grid, or out of bounds
The best minds of my generation are not being supported by grants or parents
The best minds of my generation create unheard symphonies and daydreams that would put a
long-gone Maestro to shame
The best minds of my generation can’t seek some spiritual fix cause they are too busy
remembering pin codes
The best minds of my generation aren’t interested in owning anything but their own lives
The best minds of my generation are caught between beepers and iPhones
The best minds of my generation mourn for all we already could not accomplish
The best minds of my generation no longer ask Why, but How?
The best minds of my generation realize that a man not offended by anything will stand for
The best minds of my generation know that the pen is mightier than the sword
The best minds of my generation are not lost, they are simply…not found
The best minds of my generation don’t see their own potential & therefore they cease to imagine
The best minds of my generation don’t understand their times because they are not creating them
Instead, we’re willing to become like every other part of the universe and give up our identity –
to join the parade
The best minds of my generation could be beautiful –
If they could only see themselves
If they could only pause
& accept the failed status quo –
Infinitely being hurled at them
With the terror
& grace of a runaway train
& the tremor of the other poet’s great maxim: “The best lack all conviction.”




He begged her to help her daughter. She’d consent if he’d never show his face again; she’d
 explain his death/disappearance & pay for the mock funeral. They shook hands, but he never
 signed the contract. Withered now like a tattered leaf caught in between the rice paper of a well
 kept poorly read bible. We don’t all have skeletons in the closet it’s the mystery of the matter
 that lurks beneath our pillows or pockets that scares me. Some forgotten deleted promise in the
 inbox of…Boredom once scared me: to be forgotten was a fear but what comes close to the assassination of a flowerbed that never had the chance to be trampled by hooves wild & untamed
 & unaware of the bondage they beat upon?


A Broken Message Memory

And I remember once when we owned the night, once upon a time,
there was this band of crooks.
And we were aristocrats of crime – con artists and thieves. 

Plagued by this past
There’s no adjusting to the
Stolen wooden digitized zeitgeist. 

Before, We never hurt nobody, anybody, not even some
We pulled pens but never knives or guns. 
We faked lives and signatures but never lied to ourselves. 

No, that came later.

Fast forward through the VHS tape of your mind and then rewind and let it play over and over again. 

“You gotta let the snow go.  Cause a stair is just a stair whether you put ice or leaves on it – it’s

all gonna fade away and you still gonna have that hunky chuck o’ brick left.  the new hustle is in

pop culture, media – it’s in FOR SALE.  instead of picking a bloody pocket  I can sell you a

pocket and make you willingly give me your cash.  Getting locked up was one half of it – maybe

you read in there, but so did I.  But not no law books or history.  Hell, I know why we was in this

situation.  It’s obvious.  But you can’t undo the past, you can only go forward.  Unless we all

forget about the past, there will always be problems.  Live for now, for the day.  Concentrate on

that moment.  give people what they want.  And if they don’t tell you what they want you give

them something they’ll think they want – and need – and all you gotta do is keep your promise. 

Anyone can do that.  We could have been doing this at 12 years old.  I am just giving people

what they want.”

What about standards?

“standards.  are you kidding me?

No, I mean – quality.  Visigoths and Athenians remember?

“No.  But if any part of me does – I’m sure I’m on the right side now.

and so I continue to go back and check my mind, ask myself: can you be on the wrong side of





“It’s not that I dislike children – it’s what they might become. If I had to bear witness to my child’s lack of success I’m not sure I’d be able to handle it. I barely handle my own.”
She laughed, she thought he was being cute. But there was nothing cute about his situation.

There was nothing cute about being caught, once again, in the rut trying to keep up, stay sane. He was beyond trying to be witty and he saw nothing admirable or clever about his choice of words or how coolly detached she thought he was. He was not cool and not detached and there was no pose he could stand.

All the armor, all the powder from his make-up had been removed, the streaks of paint had left his soul just slightly bare as if a cotton round dipped in witch hazel had wiped across the face of his soul leaving him cleanly exposed but less raw and agitated. All he could feel now was great remorse for everything he had not accomplished, a peculiar sadness – but not one that could erupt in tears, but rather a frozen gloom that clung to his face like a hockey mask, weighing his temples, the bridge of his nose, and the folds of his chin where all the despair had curled up like a cat preparing to die.

He felt nothing except for the dry sandpaper of his tongue.



© 2015 Dennis Leroy Kangalee

Scenes from Dennis Leroy Kangalee's film An Act of Protest

Dennis Leroy Kangalee

Poet, dramatist, filmmaker currently in production with Nina Fleck on Octavia: Elegy for a Vampire
(or Endless Shards of Jazz for a Brutal World).  Interview about the film on

from IMDb:

Known as "The Nomad Junkie" due to his peripatetic lifestyle and artistic restlessness, Dennis Leroy Kangalee is a NYC-based poet and dramatist who sees the world's injustice in an everyday observation.

Kangalee's early theater work was a ferocious cocktail of American tragedy and revolutionary polemic. Between 1997 and 2002, he directed plays throughout NYC - from Soho to Harlem. Urged by the Last Poets to continue writing prose during the creation of his 2001 NYC-based movie about racism and its consequences, As an Act of Protest, (written & directed under his stage name, Dennis Leroy Moore) a powerful Avant-garde drama that has now earned status as a cult film, Dennis Leroy Kangalee's writing is both political and personal. Inspired by the Black Arts Movement, punk, and Theater of the Absurd, Kangalee draws inspiration from his own life as opposed to Literary History or knowledge of the classics. He writes for the little man caught in the snow and beneath the corporate avalanche, those who draw lines in the sand--the losers, the rebels, the tormented, and the romantic rovers hovering on the margins of the mainstream who dare to try to make sense of "life in society" and the doorway of 21st Century-Brave New World-ethos.

His poems are published in the Outlaw Poetry Network, CounterPunch magazine, and small independent presses like the Nerve Lantern.

In 2011, he returned from a self-imposed exile to appear on stage for the first time in over a decade in his performance-piece "Gentrified Minds", a spoken word poem about gentrification, globalization, and the suburbanization of NYC. It was directed by Nina Fleck and premiered in the NY Downtown Urban Theater Festival.

- IMDb Mini Biography by: Savage Paw Press