Category Archives: poems

Memory

“memory, all alone on the pavement” 

do you even remember loving me? does that dark night cry at the window,

pawing at you to let her in? that one where we decided to try, and the shadows

of the door soon darkened on the pavement. we couldn’t get enough of each

other, and you wound yourself around me, and every night you came

to visit –  you came to, out of the daze of daily life, into the warmth

of a world that had just started to exist, when we kissed, and persisted

a little while. When exactly did you kick it out into the cold? When did

you tire of wanting me? I can’t remember, exactly; I just can tell, from

the way you stare deeply into your phone and touch your tender fingers over

the computer, that I am the last thing on your mind, and you don’t have the energy to

get up, let that dark night in and feed it, to make it stop whining.

The Solution/Choose One – Haiku Hijinks for Aimee

Too depressed? Try this:

Remove every X. Instead:

a) Choose yes, no, help.

b) Tell bad jokes; drink gin.

c) Know that all is god.

d) Know that all is crap.

e) Know all crap is god.

f) Shoot craps; mind the smell.

g) Wet lips from your well.

h) Relieve your duties.

i) Relieve your dootys.

j)  Release the wound hounds.

k) Replay the wild sounds.

l) Accept kisses, not cash.

m) Insert ‘boobs‘ and ‘poop‘.

n) Multiply by awe.

o) Ask y; Answer: Cuz!

p) Solve for total love.

q) Pee on an old tree.

r) Breathe in Caesar’s breath.

s) Drink dinosaur pee.

t) Resist solving magic.

u) Insert dirt scribbles.

v) Practice poetry.

w) Sing your misery.

x) Scat your history.

y) Write it; pen your strike.

z) Strike it; make a light.

morning is broken (faith, hope, love)

when you can’t feel it in your heart

faith is the mental pushpin reminding

 

when you can’t believe it with your logic

faith pulses from the heart where you know it deeply there

 

when you can’t feel it or think it and the signs of it

in the world, in people’s eyes and words, have abandoned

any trace that it ever existed  –

hope approaches, as thin as the vapor of the cold morning

when the earth first turns into the visual field of the sun

 

and it happens every morning, despite us, the miraculous mundane

returning of light through dark, that lifts us, if we look to see

ourselves, our doubts and fears transformed, and also lifting

      my eyes unto the lord

up to passeth understanding — all of us

enveloped within the constant becoming

that is

we are

I AM

Prayer (freewrite)

 

dear god,

i am sorry. i drive down the road, cussing under my breath at the bad drivers who are really just your other beloved children. i cringe at the awkward and ugly fast food hamburger signs in their primary colors and slick skins of shiny vinyl, lit by neon and hoisting on their backs the bodies of workers and cows and chickens and children, all sacrificed to industry for the quick and cheap pocketing of profits which is the basis of our consumer culture and the foundation of my own daily bread. not you. none of this is you, god. and yet the philosopher tells me that you are everywhere, that you are embodied even in these flat patties, flesh configured into discs. they say that you cannot be separated from the bald concrete landscape of this street, and that your grace beats in the hearts of every cursed driver cutting me off and curbing the flow of rush-hour panic. but god, who is called good, i am not good. images and metaphors poof like clouds of flour into my mind, they could become whole loaves of delicious books, plays, shows, i know it – i am a geyser of your word, of ironic and subversive art, i am that cloud of gas pouring into the sky from the hole in the street this morning, without form or shape, all energy and potential without a point. i have wasted your investment, god. you gave me talents and i buried them. i juggled your gifts, i jiggled hips dealt quips for attention and lips and my shame is deep, so deeply deep, that i have failed you, that i am nothing to show for all that is you within in me, seething, foaming, the glorious madness of invention and imagination steaming through my brain and heart and how i long to find the spout for it, a way to shout on the mountain top how much i owe you and love you, how much i feel that you have been within me all this time but to claim you as mine when even your presence can’t perfect me? at some point i should have jumped off and into the rising cloud, it would have carried me off, i would have floated and flown and felt your spirit and i would have shone with you, your inescapable goodness pillowing every word, every car, every curb, every star, and even i would have believed you existed.

Heart Break

I asked the lady before you did

she want to donate a dollar just

one dollar and she said

no i wish somebody would give

ME a dollar for once she

just going OFF about that dollar and i

don’t even know why she had to

come through my line and get all

up in my face about it, people

so crazy these days, everything so

frantic and people so scared

 

heart broken? yeah i’m heart broken no

lie i am far from home, living on

somebody’s else couch, working

here and i ain’t got a man yeah i

came here for a better life i came

here to get away from that shit and

my brother killed and been here since

march and yeah, it’s a heart

break  here where i

don’t know nobody and i ain’t

got a man but i got this lady

complaining about this dollar when

it’s just one dollar and ain’t nobody give

two shits in the wind

Heading for the Hills

 

I remember watching myself cry

in the mirror, the blue tears crowd

my lashes, dive. Devastated, fascinated by

this thing called sorrow

erupting with the cold rough scrape

of an earthquake birthing a mountain, the tough

break of the landscape as you know it, paths

stirred and fir trees, green

as faith, shaken. I am not

my thoughts, intones the monk. Watch them float

away. From the mirror, thin

on my slim trailer door, I  followed

my own gaze; without flinching

or fighting, I watched

every miserable thing grab a bag and run from me,

dragging the dense, damaged roots

that were meant to hold and keep and last

toward the new and hostile hills

of another person’s country.

 

 

enter through (poem)

This is not the age of feathered pens or sticky keys or even

the dictaphone whirring, the stubby chunk of a well-rubbed

pink eraser. The over-dub of the record, hieroglyphic inking,

tinkering under Sumerian sun into the soft, hot brick. Words

transmuted through the hands and cast into stone document.

This is not that time. Literature’s manual labor has

evaporated in the ether which itself

has traded places with higgs boson, another

vast masslessness encompassing either

side of each flipped coin (indeterminate teaser).

Instead, I am punching up “ground” on the pocket poet

app on my phone, fumbling with virtual

browsers and pasting search terms in a

noncombustible engine. I’m sorry for laughing at you,

dictionary, spread open like a bible on your pedestal. So

vulnerable to fire, so hardily enduring without tired wires. And

that you go so unused, dear diary, old journal; I abuse

your solidarity with my delinquency in filling you with

longhand, shorthand, scribbles, ballpoints, nibs. Your papers’

data claim such space; ink gets fractious

and stubborn; I can’t just tap back and retract that hasty

vacuous word. Is it easier, is it worse, or is this just the universe

scrolling through its incarnations, diverse in limitations and

virtues? There is something to be said for the swiftness of

tripping over the surfaces of the river, dipping in when a fin

waves you in, dripping up into the sunlight, maybe happy,

maybe hungry, maybe circling back in the other direction. Zip

lines of rhyme and texts illuminated with briskness, delicate

and breezy, minds with dextrous, disposable wings. The poetry slam,

the off-book rap, the scat, the riff, the associative zap. I’m not defaming the

masters’ sweat, the brilliant details plastered

precisely, honed to the perfect bones of meaning through late

nights and morning hours, rewrites and drafts filling trash

cans, floors. Even as I mash-up and mimic

the voices of the past in the flash, refresh the cache

and move to the next iteration, save a pic in snap

chat and let it sink from distinction,

as I skim and scan loosely, sloppy and slushy gush and slacken

the jamb into a mush – do not despair that all has gone to hell

in a handbasket. This is not that age. This is not that time.

The monk blows against the edge of the sand and the colors

scatter, fine and light. What existed matters. What persists

will shatter, at some point. No effort is wasted. The goddesses

don’t stand anymore, holding up the temples, curved

to be steadily eternally enduring. Rather, they run

slapdash through the parking lot, hems showing, a whirligig

skidding, tights shredding, heels sledding over the

slick blacktop. And to both the masters and slackers

who believe they have captured her deeply or

cheaply, she will laugh, like all benign

deities worthy of worship, and disappear

through the door of the medium, the lines of the

typed whine, the papyrus adorned, the forged

irony in a scroll – daring

us to do so, too, to follow

her into the creation that could not

contain her, to enter through

to the moon our words were pointing to –

and will we, whatever the tools we use – go?

 

 

that one hard star (poem)

purple streaks in marchThese winter-rough trees, all dry knuckles and fingernail-thin ends, stitch

the clouds together with lacy hems, and through the holes

they braid their thicker limbs together.

March is here, and so is the wind and the warmer weather.

And compared to the rapacious kingdom animalia, the roses pose

so gently egalitarian, with a pope’s vague benevolence, even the

crown of thorns. And the pine, kind and blind, waving like

a distant, blurry queen. We praise their goodness.

Which is what we call that kind of governance, hands-off and laissez faire, god

engineering bliss without fuss, muscle, flesh, tussle, rush.

I wonder if I should have stayed a vegetarian, on the side of gandhi

and aung sung su chi and the bloodless peace of

nibbling bean curd, sucking string beans. I tried so hard to

exercise my right to choose the food I chew, evolving out of the cave

but I caved; the tongue’s hunger for cooked beef

between my teeth seethed. Evening deepens.

Purple streaks across the peaks of the day’s white froth, dark

as bite marks on a tender blue horizon.

Everyone is hungry for more

except for

that single polished star

that wants nothing

hears nothing

does nothing.

Happiness is irrelevant and

life is suffering but

the full belly lacks a heart

and the lark is not really singing to you, is it?

And even if you consider the lilies of the field, careless

and crass and indiscriminate in their survival mechanisms

and the stately tulip poplars and crusty maples and the

unobtrusive crab grass that never gives much of a damn

if you maul a bunny or munch a chicken, or yourself

transition into a carcass – even then,

the river birches will nod, chins sinking to chests

sleepily, deeply indifferent to your grief;

and the plum sky will be crisp and glorious again

as you drain out, sticky in the messy green.

You will be absorbed, eventually,

you and all your ideals and desires to be a better person, to

overcome the red claw and sharp jaw – all

dimming, then dissolving

and the shrugging earth will keep revolving

under the nailed-down stare of

that one hard star.

How I failed you.

for jo

I stood at the door to our house

and left with your brother in my arms

and you were small with

eyes, black buttons locking up

and I explained to my choking heart that

you were old enough and

it was good for you that

it was fair and we were bucking up

and none of those things were

true and you, what did you

do with those evenings, but wrap

them up in the green baby blanket

that since went missing and bury

them in the jewelry box you never used

and where did you keep the kisses I blew

from the cracking doorstep,

where they wouldn’t chill your

sleepy cheeks or weigh upon

your heavy mind? and all the dark wind of

that winter coming through the

open door, the way it stayed

and held you by the throat so

that you never cried, or spoke,

or tried to follow? And how, my love,

will I ever repent enough to know?

Robbed (a poem)

You may walk into a ravaged house where

someone you’ve never met before has poached

your couch and broached the safe and touched

a foreign finger to your favorite opal ring and quietly,

quietly glided the silver over a knuckle inflamed by

the stiff upper lip of a British winter and you will think,

I’ve been robbed of knowing

what happens next to my things and did you ever really

own them, were they ever really yours, so simply

they vanished behind the hundred doors of

time and veils of space, the timelines and plot

twists we follow and forge and feel and chase. You enter your room

and so much is missing. The ring has jumped ship

and you’ll never know the rest of it, and when she

leaves you, the woman you loved as best as

your stunted heart could do, it doesn’t feel

as bad as you imagined it, (as you often did, rolling

her around your finger, trying to guess how long it

would last). You walk into the ravaged house that

you cushioned and packed and curtained together –

like stocking a ship to shelter interior weather –

and not much of any worth is left, the treasures

were really the winter mornings when you woke

engtangled in the pleasure of her soft lips

stroking you awake and the breaking of the light

that cracked a pale halo over the mirror where

her breath would sometimes fog reflection –

but that’s not something to be stolen, is it? or

forgiven for fading – condensation happens – a kiss

evaporates – and so, really, the sensation

of her division from this place is not much different

than that one day and the robber escaping before

you entered and found the house chilly and openly

gaping at the front door.

So much is missing. And the person who took all

the valuable things was, in the end, a stranger. And you

are left to wonder what was ever ever yours.