31 May 2012

That

This is based on Cheapen.


That 5/31

That softens in water
That curls into fists
That etches glass
That wants to sleep and sleep and sleep
That commas
That turns rain into joy
That comes up roses
That musters
That falls apart slowly like a city
That shatters the known and unknown

30 May 2012

Rule #1

This is based on Ghostly.


Rule #1 5/30

Break at the first sign of weakness

29 May 2012

From X To Y

This is based on Exoenzyme.


From X To Y 5/29

Anything could fill those blanks

I like to think it is the space between our doors

That walk
along brownstone streets rotting edifice

Trees that drop endless flowers

I crave that space

          the whiteness of it

                    the way it erases the day

From this bolted door to yours
I drop all the things like clothes falling from me
when I was little and it was raining

28 May 2012

Waiting (For FS)

I want to remind everyone that June 4th will be the final poem-a-day poem. I will be posting my articles on Mondays and my THIS! posts on Fridays. I'm working on a short story that I am going to serialize on Wednesdays. I'm hoping to get that off the ground in June.

This poem is based on Paling.


Waiting (For FS) 5/28

1.
Pray for smoothness

These days rack up - fall

And they count against the total

But the comforter will do just that
will cover you like a vegetable bed
in burlap

Will protect the roots from frost

Those little white fingers - inching

They break rocks in their path

2.
There is that poem about tossing the roots
into the basement and watching them pile
about the small green shoots poking all over

To pull the roots you have to go deep
that is understatement is talking about some
inner mantle of the earth shit

If only it were so easy - pile the unwanted
tubers in a corner
let them rot their hearts out

3.
Flip the card over

It is a garden scene - women in petticoats
men in full suits - it looks like summer
like Proust - like BBC dramas

On the back a quick note
in a rushed hand

4.
In the darkness the leaves stay porcelain white

The little bud fists are albino - are pink veins of hope

The fragility of these things is easy to forget
at the height of summer when everything screams

But it's all so small - tiny even - quiet - at the beginning

And it all ends so suddenly

5.
Release the dandelion seeds

Let them take their paths - reseed

27 May 2012

Narrow Field

This is based on Narrow.


Narrow Field 5/27

Melting into oneself
          pants first

Here
is the broken column of thought:

          I cannot be who I want to be I
cannot be the shining hope of the future
I cannot be the writer I am supposed...

I have faith in things

          unseen - not gods -

but I am NOT CAPABLE
to have faith in this

Light a candle in a church for me

I do not offend enough - do not
not offend enough

Porridgey.

26 May 2012

Until

This poem is based on Returnable.


Until 5/26

A birthmark
on the thigh

Small pebbles
of sweat

The universe
in a glance

Take off
everything

Lay on the bed

Keep still

25 May 2012

THIS! 5/25/12

THIS! on May 25, 2012

1) Star Wars Weekend

This happened. And will again. Every Friday-Sunday until June 10th.



2) Law Of The Sea

This treaty was signed by the rest of the world in 1982. The US has yet to even get close to signing it. Sen. John Kerry thinks he can bring it back and pass it. There are currently 34 countries that have either not signed or not ratified LOST.

A few other international laws the US has not signed:

The Kyoto Protocol (1997) - The greenhouse gas treaty went into effect in 2005. Aside from the US  Afghanistan, Andorra and South Sudan also have either not signed or ratified the treaty. Canada renounced in 2011 days after the Durban agreement and the revelation that Canada had actually increased emissions 17% since 1990.

CEDAW (1979) - This law went into effect in 1981. It is a sweeping anti-discrimination and series of protections for women from abuse. Seven UN member states have not ratified, signed, or acceded the treaty, they are IranPalauSomaliaSudanSouth SudanTonga, and the United States. Palau and the US signed the treaty but have not ratified or acceded it. The law has come under fire for being ineffectual, specifically in regards to so-called 'honor killings' and the promotion of 'western' values.

CRC (1989) - The law went into effect in 1990. A basic outlining of the rights of children and forming protections for them under the law. SomaliaSouth Sudan and the United States are the only countries in the world to have not signed or ratified the law. The US did sign it, but has yet to ratify. President Obama has called this 'embarrassing'.


3) Horseshoe Crabs

Neither related to horses nor crabs but over 450 million years old. Discuss.


Rhythm 0

This is based on Skoosh.


Rhythm 0 5/25

Soak in water
          blood

          shit

Here is a table of interactions

grab with ease the gun
feather duster
bayonet

That smell is the smell of sweat
          your humanity is showing

Will it recede

The tears will only show
more that will tear

24 May 2012

DIY

This is based on Snarling.


DIY 5/24

Make a box to carry the universe.

1)
Cut down the oldest tree in the world

2)
Use the wood for a bonfire in the desert
on a mesa where you can see the Milky Way
clearly and thickly

3)
Cup your hands like a bowl

4)
Run them across the sky
until the stars are inside
until the sky is a blank slate

23 May 2012

Tread

This is based on Multistate.


Tread 5/23

Tomorrow there will be cracks

in the pavement there will be tiny bits of quartz

          each one a shine


Here

          is the path worn to supports

so many cars feet everythings over this spot


Each erosion a tiny death

22 May 2012

Erasure

This is based on Turkey.


Erasure 5/22

Just try to un this mother
to take out the laces from their eyes

And you will see
what sort of ooze runs underneath

What sort of wicked awesome truth

21 May 2012

Re-Read : Flowers For Algernon

Flowers For Algernon
Author: Daniel Keyes (1927)
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World (1966)
274 pages

What do you remember about this book? Probably two things. 1) That it is about a man who has his intelligence increased through science; and 2) There is a mouse and it dies.

What I forgot about the book was that the main character, Charlie, sexually assaults a woman in Central Park and spends a good portion of the book drunk and moaning about the world around him. I forgot that the book is written as journal entries of Charlie's and that the form of the book follows the progression of the character's level of intelligence.

Dr Strauss says I should rite down what I think and remembir and everything that happins to me from now on. I dont no why but he says its importint so they will see if they can use me. I hope they use me...

That is the opening to the novel. The story was also published as a short story in 1959. That shorter version is what most junior high students read. That main difference is that the novel dwells on Charlie's decent into alcohol and sex a little longer.

What is interesting about the form of Keyes book is that it directly follows the narrative. As Charlie grows in intelligence after his operation the writing becomes clearer, in higher diction. He even discusses his finding of grammar and punctuation:

Today, I learned, the comma, that is, a, comma (,) a period, with, a tail

And the next day:

You, got. to-mix?them!up: She showd ? me" how, to mix! them; up, and now! I can. mix (up all? kinds of punctuation - in, my. writing!

Compare this to the later entries:

Nemur, Strauss, Burt, and a few of the others on the project were waiting for me in the psych office. They tried to make me feel welcome but I could see how anxious Burt was to take Algernon, and I turned him over.

Keyes has managed a book with form and function in harmony. The book is definitely worth a re-read though. It is beautiful and sad. It manages to be cautionary without being too preachy. That said, there are a ton of ham-fisted moments though. Anytime Charlie is put into a situation with a woman it turns into awkward 1950s theater and the men are painted in more detailed strokes then the women. The women are lust/pity objects for Charlie to play his psychology off of.

Which makes sense. Keyes got his start at Timely Comics which would change into Atlas Comics under Stan Lee. Atlas is the company that would one day become Marvel. Keyes wrote horror comics at EC in the mid-50s. HIs background is in short-form action/horror/sci-fi with clear good guys and bad guys. Little gray areas. That Flowers for Algernon is as good as it is, and holds up, is a bit of a miracle.


The clip above is from the 1968 film Charly, based on Flowers for Algernon. Cliff Robertson won an Oscar for his role as Charly.


Join me in the discussion. Next Month : The Great Gatsby.

Re-Read is a sometime article where I go back and read a book from my childhood over and examine the threads that I find in my current adult life.

Birds In Flight

This poem is based on Microlens.


Birds In Flight 5/21

Floating
overhead
going
nova

20 May 2012

Letter

This is based on Modulation.


Letter 5/20

Hold my hand - swing -
these arms are set - you the child
kicking out

Higher

Stand on my feet - I will
dance you - set you down
on the wall and sing

This is how you tie a shoe

This is how you ride a bike

This is how you calculus

This is how you figure out life

Higher - higher
kick out your feet and swing

19 May 2012

Thought On 18 Year-Old Self

This is based on Trolley.


Thought On 18 Year-Old Self 5/19

Being ignored at family reunions
dismissed at Christmas parties

When I was 18 and made a presentation
on Matthew Shepard for my senior presentation

And invited the family - friends - the school

I welcomed the outcome - dreamt of
bullies bowing before my might

I spoke eloquently and leveled the family
in their bigotry

It is odd to be disappointed with positivity

Find welcoming hands less inviting

Dear 18 year-old self - please release Matthew Shepard
and let the wind take him

Let it go like dandelion seeds - let the positive wash

18 May 2012

THIS! 5/18/12

THIS! on May 18, 2012

1) James Buchanan

While I don't love this Salon article. It does raise some good points. It also seems to have lifted all of those points directly from our 15th President's Wikipedia page.

Debating the sexuality of historical figures is a fascinating genre of non-fiction. Remember when Hitler was outed in 2001?

Do I think living with a man for 15 years and lamenting his being away and talking about 'wooing' other men and finding an old maid to engage in a sexless marriage all points to Buchanan being gay. Yes. Do I think it matters. No.

But it is interesting.


2) ixxi

These little plastic bits connect square cards into larger images. You can use solid colored paper or take an image and they will chop it up for you.

It's expensive but beautiful.


3) David Leddick

Sal was/is my favorite Mad Men character. It will forever make me sad that I do not get a dose of Bryan Batt's fabulousness each episode. And I pray to the goddess that they bring him back each season.

This article about being gay in the world of 1960s advertising made me smile for that alone.

Untitled

This poem is based on Whirligig.


Untitled 5/18

Piranha in your bathtub
open mouth, rows o teeth

Yawning metaphor

Wake yourself and sweat
out the poisons of thought

17 May 2012

For A Change

This is based on Iftar.


For A Change 5/17

let's talk about the war
not as symbolic of our rotten core
as a broken tower of lost hope

Let's talk about it as another
in a long line

Of the march of history

Maybe I'm diminishing
the universe the concepts the lives

I am a bore maybe it is time
to talk about these things seriously
for a change

16 May 2012

Hurricane

This poem is based on Rustication.


Hurricane 5/16

A sudden upturn in weather turns storm at sea

The eye a great glass sphere

Everything around it everything in it everything upside down

15 May 2012

Nuclear

This poem is based on Pintupi.


Nuclear 5/15

Everything was abandoned abruptly
left - emptied

The pavement cracks and animals move into the homes

Panes of glass vibrate until they crack
til they rain down on the new grass

There is a broken sky and the earth is yawning wide

People - what are those - nothing
could populate this again

Save the crickets the birds the endless open air

14 May 2012

Line

This poem is based on Span.


Line 5/14

A golden thread
from my forehead to the sky

I do not know what it ties to
what sort of universal end exists

I get nothing from it and
as far as I can tell takes nothing

I have held the scissors to it
counted silently in my head to ten
and always put them down without a cut

13 May 2012

Building

This poem is based on Performance.


Building 5/13

Put your hand on the pubis now

Now

Now

Hand up and under - see I want
you to not talk about it - just to -

Now

The windows bead - they remember
when they were sand covered in water
The tides rolling over them - imagine
them rippling and smoothing out

Now see them castle themselves - un
the blocks of stone falling into place
most permanently

Falling

Now floating now collapsing
under their weight

12 May 2012

Nightmare Where Your Bathroom Is Native America

This poem is based on Background.


Nightmare Where Your Bathroom Is Native America 5/12

You make faces at yourself - pilgrims fall from your ears
land on the counter they run for the toothpaste and use it like a cannon
shooting the striped unsolid at you

One circles the drain his little pilgrim shoes too slick to gain traction
you may help him but you are being attacked with toothbrush and soap
he is gone before you notice but the others have armed themselves

11 May 2012

THIS! 5/11/12

THIS on May 11, 2012

1)

That, my friends, is a map of the USA rendered in hand-made iron skillets. Pans that you can buy as a whole map or individually at FeLion Studios. The pans are to scale and lock together. You can buy wall mounts for them!

'Fe' is the symbol for Iron on the periodic table. Also...Iron Lion Zion! The cheapest pan is Rhode Island (naturally) at $150! It's only 2 inches! The largest be Texas at $2,500!!! and 22x23 inches.


2) Movies

It's a great popcorn movie year y'all. The Avengers is just part one of a year-long awesomefest at cinemas. And by awesome, I mean eye-candy. Here are the ones I'm looking forward to.

Dark Shadows (Dear Tim Burton, do not fuck this up)



Prometheus (Dear Ridley Scott, do not fuck this up)



Django Unchained (Dear Jaime Foxx, do not fuck this up)



The Hobbit (yes)

Ars Paranoia

This poem is based on Caesar.


Ars Paranoia 5/11

Climb.

Get your ass into gear.

Those young folk behind you are on your heels.

They have gnashing teeth. They have manuscripts to be published.

10 May 2012

Struggle

This poem is based on Pinion.


Struggle 5/10

Struggle
against interminable beating

Raise up your eyes
look and the clouds will part

Rays of light will spread their fingers
and caress your cheek

Struggle
will mean next to nothing at all

You will be the beach
erased by the tide

09 May 2012

Burnish

This poem is based on Puffy.


Burnish 5/9

It is hard to think of you nude smiling

Your hands are paper - and beyond your age
there is nothing to point at

What were your loves and
how did you take them

Upon what cushion did you leave ass prints

08 May 2012

If The Movies Are To Be Believed

This is based on 90s.

If The Movies Are To Be Believed 5/8

Hand over fabric - you are tying a Windsor knot

The tie has diagonal blue stripes on a cool yellow background

Like pastry dough - buttermilk - popcorn

It is 6am and the shadows are diffused gray are thick in the corners

I am rolling over and facing the wall - eyes closing

You're cute

Mmmhmm

07 May 2012

Sellers : Drift

Drift
Author: Rachel Maddow
Publisher: Crown
Date: 3/27/12
288 pages

Maddow's book is a look at the drift of war powers from the US Congress to the President over the last few decades. It is a fast read and will expand a much needed discussion.

What concerns me is that when you look at the non-fiction best-seller lists over the last decade is that it is full to the brim with books by television personalities.

We seem to have traded historians and philosophers for talking heads and polemic.

I'm not asking for stuffy academic books with impenetrable footnotes. I just want a higher level of discourse.

Why, for instance, is Bill O'Reilly writing a book about the assassination of Lincoln? Granted, O'Reilly does have a degree in history and did teach High School for several years in the 1970s, but still. Why is he doing this? Why is his book the one that sits on the best-seller list for 31 weeks?

The current top ten has 5 books by journalists, 2 TV hosts, 1 former politician, 1 golf coach and 1 blogger. Five of these books are memoirs. Two are pop-science examinations of human actions. This leaves O'Reilly's Lincoln book, a book about President's by Time's Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, and Maddow's book on US military policy.

Having only read Maddow's I would say that Drift and The President's Club are the only books that seem to want to spark discussion. The rest are mostly meant to strengthen legacies.

Is this a problem? The list has always been lousy with journalists. I suppose my main issue is that we have given over serious discussion to these folks that are really, for all intents and purposes, entertainers.

That word is scary. Serious. I, of course mean deep, real, more than cursory. Why does everything have to be entertainment? Easy? Sound bite filled?

There is a concept called Gamification. Essentially it is the idea that you can apply simple game rules to every day life to make it easier to slip in advertising, to control behavior, etc. More applicable is the idea that you can turn everything into a game. There are apps for everything. Banking is a game, you can watch your life go up and down every moment of every day. So-called services like Klout only add to this. They literally turn your online presence into a game. You get points for being talked about on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and on and on. Each friend is a point, each click a point. The higher your Klout the higher your worth as a person.

The idea that we abandon serious discussion in favor of flashy personalities and pop-everything is just another part of this. We are gaming discourse. Somehow because they are in our living rooms nightly, Maddow and O'Reilly are 'experts' on things. We read about other peoples lives in an effort to know how to gage the one we aren't living.

Sellers is my attempt to examine what books are topping the best-seller list and why. To talk about and understand the trends in popular writing.

Blue Night

This poem is based on the last line of Flummery.


Blue Night 5/7

Never coming back into view once twilight takes hold
the trees become silhouettes - the sky hovers a sapphire dome
pin pricks of light begin to burn though - Orion
will shoot his arrows into the sun and it will fall dead into the sea

06 May 2012

History

This poem takes its first line from Denude.

History 5/6

The houses of our minds are creaky with it - full
to the rafters with hollow-eyed faces that stare
from our attic windows at the sunlit streets below

When a ball is hit into our yard we shake
our fists declare it ours and toss it in our basements

At night our eyes flutter beneath our lids - full
of sights we will not remember - broken pasts
that collect all the dust in the world

That encase themselves and for models of what
was is and whatever will

05 May 2012

THIS! 5/5/12

I've decided to start a weekly post of non book things that I found interesting. They will be things to read, watch, do, make. Basically it's going to be a curated list of weekly awesome. After this first test run I will post THIS! on Friday afternoons.

THIS! on May 5, 2012

1) R&D-I-Y
A crowd-sourced project that started out as a group wanting to make window farming for city dwellers simple and inexpensive. They have a huge community of people who are working to improve the system.

So far they have developed free (FREE!) directions on how to build your own window hydroponics system. Which is both daunting and a great idea. They also sell pre-made products if you don't have the time or abilities to build your own. The basic system is $120.

I love the idea of making use of the large NY windows to grow veggies or fruits. They have links and suggestions for nutrients to make your garden year-round. You can watch R&D-I-Y founder Britta Riley give a short but detailed TED talk below:



Frank Gehry has unveiled plans for the full memorial in DC. I like the modern take on the memorial. I am concerned that it is a little twee, what with the 'boyhood' Ike looking on the elder accomplishments and the translucent banners depicting his home.

It is not ugly though. And it is green space. So a win?


Yes, that Sean Astin.

This week Sean started a political podcast on Toad Hop Network called Vox Populi. It's rough around the edges but he has loads of energy and seems like a genuinely great guy. The tag line is "The Voice of the Occasionally Interested People" which describes me and a lot of people.

Here is a link to this week's show. He interviews Congressman Steve Israel (NY 2nd District) and Fox News commentator Frank Luntz.

The podcast is also available on iTunes but you can only watch the video on the Vox Populi website. And who doesn't want to watch Sean Astin be cute?

Evolution

For the last project I'm going to go back to the beginning of the poem-a-day project as a whole.

I'm going to take the last lines from a poem and write a new one.

Today the poem is Rachis from 10/25/09. Each poem over the next 30 days will be counting down from there to the first poem I wrote for the project.


Evolution 5/5

They cannot understand their own language
It bends breaks open like overripe peaches

Juice running down their chins staining
tablecloths and floorboards

Leaving a sugar for the ants to come in
A dotted line connecting house to field

We are undone! They will scream They will
rend their clothes and rip hair from their heads

Hands will wring until skin sheds to bone
and still like birds carrying seeds

Their language will run from them

04 May 2012

Born This Way

Super Awesome Bonus Poem 1001!

I realized after posting We Are Young that I also never posted 2011's #1 birthday song poem. So here it is.


Born This Way 5/4

I was born
and the sky opened – a dog bearing its teeth
 
No matter black,
 
the expanse was crystal – shuddering – spasms
the womb was lined in glitter
 
I was born –
 
The angles of the room were swept of shadows
as at mid-day – the sun took its hands down
No matter black remained
 
The expanses of the seas calmed – were mirror
 
The gulls desired no food
 
I was born
and the sky broke into multitudes of color – spectrums
you have never heard – ultra
no matter black
 
The arms of the universe wrap about
and flutter at the breath in the lungs of this one
 
I was born
 
No matter black    

We Are Young

This is my 1000th poem-a-day.

Which is insane to think about. And amazing.

This poem is a continuation of my project of writing a poem for every #1 song on my birthday. I posted them in November 2011. This is the one from this year. I hadn't gotten around to writing it because I've been generally bored with the songs I've had to work with lately. The last 10 years of songs were dull content-wise. I tried to make this about something more than teen angst. Tried. Angst is sort of a root feeling.

You know?


We Are Young 5/4

I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart
new forms that we could become – new elements – maybe be dark matter
so –
          let’s set the world on fire
 
watch the spinning collider and feel it – really –
feel that collision and know what it means to be made up of atoms
I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart
 
They always said you had old eyes – I mean – we are young
but these hands are dust from billions of years ago – we ARE stardust
so let’s set the whole world on fire
 
watch it pretend to burn before the horizon twists into aurora borealis
all green blue red and gorgeous – I just thought
maybe
          we could find new ways to fall apart
 
but I know that this body and that one are too apart and too connected
That lightening breaking us apart would take all the energy of the sun
so let’s set the world on fire
 
Watch – the angles never arrived
here is my hand – tree limbs are fingers – sea coming up in your eyes
I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart
so let’s set the world on fire.    

03 May 2012

02 May 2012

Dream 11,357

Dream 11,357 5/2

Up ahead the couple are screaming
The fat woman begins to hit the shirtless man
A man on a stoop quickly goes inside
And I duck down the next street
The boy follows me and raises a finger at me
And because I have a pillow
I hit him with it and run

01 May 2012

Inspiration

Inspiration 5/1

The pattern rain makes on the dirty roof of a car

Cracks n glass that don't let out the water

A pigeon with a limp