Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sweet Baby Jesus, It's The Sort Of Annual Charity Poetry Contest Again

My mom sent me a check for the holidays, so I'm doing the charity poetry contest again. Here's how it works: You put a poem in the comments section. For every poem, I put $5 in the hat. When it's Dec. 25 or I run out of money, whichever comes first, the contest is over. I decide the best poem. The winning poet gets to decide what charity the money goes to.

Here's mine, and it just might win. So there.

Why didn't I get the shining snake?
Why didn't I get the sweet call, what's wrong?
I got the pencil stub, the vending machine crackers
Settling in my root chakra. My stomp
Sounds like why. Why. I didn't work
Enough, I didn't stand up, turn my back,
Raise my hand, just stop working.
Dance. The gun's always aimed at the dirt
At my feet, not at my feet, you know it,
I know it, why fight it, why ask?
I didn't spend enough time with cold hands
In cold spidery rooms, I spent too much time scratching,
I spent too much. I didn't buy the right presents.
I was breathing way, way, way wrong, you know,
Yes, no, I don't know where I went
Wrong. Nodding. It was that night
I drove home and in that overturned bowl of stars
The road dipped under, my hands reached up
And knocked at the sky, smacked, banged
At the sky, shouting, let me in, me, me, let me in!

Photo: Still from an animated student film from Newcastle University of The Little Match Girl, by Lulu Su and Yajing Cai. Isn't it like the most horrifying story? Especially when she just says fuck it and burns them all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Immediately Fell For The Wicked Queen

Watched "Snow White and the Huntsman" with DD the other night. Charlize Theron is great and Ian McShane is a dwarf! I got to wondering about the backstory on the mirror.

The Magic Mirror

The true treasure of our kingdom, they all called it,
My flawless honesty, and didn't they realize
I'd know their admiration was a lie? It was a birth gift
Doled out by a bitch of a godmother, double-edged--
It was the closest thing those women could do to fighting,
Of course, throw a curse in the guise of a blessing:
She will be untouchably beautiful, she will be above
All others all her life, he will understand the true meaning of riches,

That sort of thing. He will be ever-honest, that was mine.
Drove a few tutors mad and two wives away. Then the new queen
Came along, and clapped my spirit under glass. Gave me
The one gift I'd never had: He shall reflect on things
Before speaking.
Her little joke. She spends most evenings
In her chambers, with me; I remember what it was like
Not to get invited out much. She'll never abandon me.
People pity me my enchantment, but I pity them
Their enslavement: I am the only one permitted
To tell her that she is not fair.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012



This is not the time
For what we had once.
The vessel would crack
If we tried to fill it now,
Even with smoke.

They tell me I must let go
To let another in,
I must give something away
To receive, but you know how
Exclusion breaks my heart, no,
It's a heel trying to claim
The space that muscle of blood
Occupies, all winter long,
So stalwart, no matter the weather.

Here's a particle of hope: spin
Against the clock, and two
Can live as deeply as one. Prove that.
My thoughts attempt to coil
Around these principles,
But none my mind can master.
But no one's arms encircle me now,
At the crossroads; what I observe gives the lie
To all this. Yes, there are two
In the same space, in the same time.
But when I turn my back
They go in the same direction.
But I can't live like that.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


People keep comparing what's up now to the Civil War. I've been writing some stuff about the Civil War for a while now.

A Photograph of the Company

Quite altered--yes, yes, I see
You find me so, I know,
The needle and thread that draws the clothing in,
That pinches the skin. And hidden
In the folds, this image, imprinted--

The line of those once loved. Their hands raised,
As if to fling at me a sentence of exile,
Shock after shock, how many a body can bear,
I believe I know, but cannot tell – that last betrayal,
The gesture like a wind waved away my breath
And now I cannot gather myself. I am lost again.

Arms brown and pale, thick and kindling-thin,
Split rails propped and woven for a fence
That keeps them free of me. All kin,
Yes, they are kin, arms raised to keep me
From getting in. Brothers and sisters in arms.
Sky icehouse-gray, dawn or dusk,
Which is which. The treeline on the ridge.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Breaking The Fast Early

Poppy seed baked goods lend themselves to the whole contrast, spiral yin/yang thing, don't they?

When my finger rips the paper packet
Seeds burst out all over my hands, no matter,
You always say it's better
Scattershot. These hands, oh how I wish
These were not my hands, crabbed
And cracked, their grace a ghost.

All so tiny, so tiny, I wouldn't know where
They fall even if my eyes could make out
Where they fall. What kind of seed
Would demand a fall planting?
I'll buy the lie of freshening air,
Pretend this is a place fit to begin.

There, there, find a niche, little spill,
Frost, earth heave and crack--
They say you want to be broken like that.
It's hard to believe. In summer,
Skin-thin wrinkled petals, a fat
Sac of sap. If this works, next fall,
Your pain will be nothing and your vision
Brilliant and it will feel like it will never end.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Star Spanked Banana

I've been celebrating the anniversary of the War of 1812. When was it again?

The Foe's Haughty Host In Dread Silence Reposes

It's not that having illustrious ancestors
Turns you into a drunk. It just gives you that push.
Illustrious drunken ancestors, now that,
That'll do it. Lost, genius, dead young.

Our anthem is a song beloved of none
But delusional divas, clutching
Their way up the staff to touch free.
The tune, a gentlemen's club drinking song.
In its slumping waltz you can see
The robust arm of a tavern slut
Slinging a mug, swabbing a counter,
Milking somebody's trousers.
The words, a back-of-the-envelope scribble,
A bit and a piece from here and before,
The fruits of your inspiration
A painfully drawn out interrogation:
Can you see? Can you see?

Of course you'd never call it poetry,
But it made you feel like somebody,
Thinking that's where you came from.
A name like that, to you it's worth
Any number of beautiful, beautiful shirts.

Photo: Still from the version of Gatsby coming out this year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Without Further Adieu

And another thing...

I was so pissed about health insurance that I had to come back and start this shit all over again.

Here's a poem about peas.

The Devil's Truck Garden
I pretend I'm idle to allow my hands
To play among the vines. By the time
You're off to the desert in August,
I'll be putting in the cold-weather
Greens. With the seasons askew,
Every damn plant is bolting and bitter
Too soon for my taste. I seem to be the only one
Who eats the peas. I'll pull them up.
Three people and a hill of beans:
An unbalanced equation. Two plane
Routes wrap the map without enough play
To meet neatly on the other side.
I'll plant seeds in the damp soil;
You, fire on the dusty rock.
You pretend I'm in Antarctica;
I'll pretend I'm not in hell.

Photo: Bogart rides his bike to work. Man up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm too dumb to know how to do it, and I'm grateful to the smart people who make it so easy for any fool to publish, and no one is reading anyhow, but consider this dark.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Beam And The Mote

This is not the way the card is meant to be interpreted. It is actually a very happy card. I am constantly accused of "seeing things the wrong way."

Four of Wands


It's so hard to catch my breath,
Coming over the ridge. Panting.
They say that's normal. The atmosphere.
My skin the soft, deceptive blush
Of the newly burned. Thirst eclipses all.
None of these sensations is unfamiliar.
Insert joke about finally using what
You've been trained for here.
That's what used to pass for dark humor.

Then on the bluff, towers, a colony.
The fires and floods must be behind them.
"Not waving but drowning"--?
Beckoning. From here, they look whole.
Approach the gates and you see
Robes, rags; hair, strings; eyes, blood-rimmed:
But smiles, welcoming.
They have been hungry for so long.