Sunday, November 22, 2009


Title: Exact Change Only, Vol. 1:1
Executive Editor: David Hargarten
Content Editor: Esteban Colon
Art Direction: Naked Mannekin
Publisher: Exact Change Press
Format: 7.5 x 5" 'zine
ISBN: 978-1-60725-951-0
List Price: $6.00

Exact Change Only is one of my proudest collaborations. Not too long ago, "Waiting 4 The Bus" was little more than a punky little open mic show meeting in the back room of Jak's Tap in Chicago. Chicago is a tough town to get noticed in, particularly for poets. When I first got involved, the show had taken some hard knocks and the organizers were struggling to shake off a mild inferiorty complex. Okay, maybe not so mild. But in time this punky bunch evolved into the Waiting 4 The Bus Poetry Collective, a collaboration of poets and peformers with a steadfast commitment to integrity and a rock solid artistic acumen that continues to attract a steadily growing number of artists commited to the same deceptively simply idea: it's about the poetry. And when enough like minded people come together, sooner or later something very interesting is bound to happen. Exact Change Only is no exception. It began innocently enough, something like this:
One late autumn Tuesday, Matt Barton, Esteban Colon and I sat down at a table in a donut joint and tried to define what the hell a poetry collective is and what it should do. We decided that poetry should be about more than memorization and rhythm, it should be about honesty and truth. But mostly about carrying exact change.

This cynical age is sending poets to the same scrap heap as full service gas stations and penny candy. I have become nostalgic for the days when you needed exact change to buy something from a vending machine, make a telephone call or ride a bus, the days when pockets were for more than cell phones and credit cards. We the upholders of an ancient tradition have become living anachronisms, bards, and matchstick men. A collection of misfit kids standing on the corner, waiting for the bus with exact change in our pockets.

--David (Buddha 309) Hargarten, April 9, 2009.
Volume One, Issue One of Exact Change Only features the work of: Esteban Colon, Matt Barton, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Charlie Newman, Shelley Nation, David (Buddha 309) Hargarten, Christopher Gallinari, Robert Lawrence, LaRaie Zimm, Michael C. Watson, Tom Curry, Elizabeth Harper, Steven Hammond, Vito Carli and Tom Roby. Time will tell, but this modest little project seems to be a success. Our sophomore attempt is currently in the works, so we'll know soon enough whether our success continues to hold.

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