30 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #61 : Motel No.1

Motel No.1

The dip in your knee collects the glowing street light

At the edge of town there is a burnt out motel it holds onto the skin of its visitors as a sort of currency against being forgotten

Lines on the road are tattoos dug in with a heavy hand

It's snowing in May the charcoal will turn silver and then probably never burn again

29 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #60 : Surf's Up

Surf's Up

It is the age of the octopus -
                    of long form writing -

          The age of golden fingers telling the internet their opinions
and then -

When the oceans rise will the AI still be given feminine names
                    and the faces of dead children?

                                                            In Santa Fe water takes over for the sand

                    There is an impulse to deny this is happening - that
                                                  the leverage of thumbs is just to damn great -

                                                  Suckers are not the grooves in flesh
                                  they cannot feel warmth -

                                  They splat on glass - they are easy to baseball bat into pulp

                    Perhaps it is best to only think-piece on this - we must turn to 4chan for help
the worry on the lips of the USB port cannot possibly convey
          the concern of mountains becoming hills

28 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #59 : Dungeon Crawl

Dungeon Crawl

The table laces itself in the bodies of ants - the smell of peppermint

It's because of the food - the cracks in the wood - the cheapness of the apartment

He wants to watch a movie - the embarrassment of him over - of even thinking about opening this sealed room

          Roll a D20 for an armor check - you need above a 15

Outside the cottonwoods begin their fluffing - and thoughts could possibly reconnect to the idea of sex -

Though the mind is not really there - and frankly - that's fine

Hearts are caverns - so deep - so so so

          What if everyone dies this time? - if the surface tilts just enough - everything will slide into the abyss

You just want to be able - but - there is not much to build upon

He asks again

          The map is 2D is a stick figure is not accurate to scale - the figures are pawns

Not cavern enough - insert some metaphor about spelunking here -
- Insert some terrible pun about insertion here -

          The roll is terrible - you chop off your own hand are bleeding all over the floor the goblins in become ravenous at the smell of blood -

           they swarm - they swarm

Legend of Zelda concept art by Katsuya Terada

27 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #58 : I Am Clearly Still Angry

I Am Clearly Still Angry

The clay pots sit where they were left in the fall - waiting and filled to the brim with last year's soil - the small rocks lining the bottoms of them taken from that house with the rose bush I endlessly obsessed over - caring more about its limbs than my own -

The sound of their breaking - imagine the sound of fired clay against concrete - the breath being pushed from the lungs of a body being beaten to death - ribcage cracking like kindling on a fire the wood so wet that all it produces is smoke and the smell of furnaces -

I want to promise that they will be protected from this - that they will have seeds in them - will have new sprouting heads - that I will not throw them one after another towards the highway that spirals into the distance like a great rubber band across the landscape -

But I can't keep secrets - and I hate the idea of things growing from these shells and I want them to sit dumbly in the rain the wind the blistering heat of summer - I would only plant to watch the green shoots turn yellow and white and wither -

I am clearly still angry -

But let this emotion enter and absorb the room - here the pots become vessels for something greater than growing - they are where we can place our organs as our bodies empty - I feel the pain in my back becoming greater - let me put my kidney here just for a moment -

The heart fits nicely in the small urn that had alyssum in it - purple flowers pop across the surface like barnacles - that we had that kind of water - that those small beak mouths could open and find their peace - that the sun wouldn't need so much from us -

How does the soil know when it is time to squeeze the roots until they break - that winter is coming - that the trail of vines is also a lower intestine - fuck these branches needing to be pruned - and these fingers for tracing the buds like life signs no one will notice the fresh scent of green anyway -

Source - Garden & Home

26 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #57 : Facts


The founding fathers were the Kardashians of their day

Poem-A-Day #56 : Fable

This is a day late. I'm having some technology issues. So. Yeah.


I want to tell you a story about $120 and uncountable other costs

It involves a breakup and a pile of books

It involves a cat and a dog and a house

A car that keeps breaking down

And two people:
One of whom is incapable of taking responsibility
And one who wants to light all that shit on fire

I want to tell you a story

But I am choosing to not tell that story

I am choosing to hike into the hills and burn effigies

Tie knots in the left over hair in the drain

Dowse myself and blood let the toxic venoms that coagulate there

I am telling a different story but it is silent and not made of words

24 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #55 : The Memory is Enormous

The Memory is Enormous

I sit in the dark of the room
I see the lights from a police car turning
red          then blue          then

The books on the shelves seem hesitant

If I say that I loved you - that it really fucks me up to think about it
and that ends a season before it begins -

Will someone please turn off the alarms

In the street there is a car and it has run into something and that something is an echo

There is that drive to the airport
An image of all the wrong - spinning in some pocket of time

like a goddamn metaphor for everything and yet - there it is

Life          caught by the grill of an SUV on the highway
murdered like some cow -

I raise the blackjack and I think about what body to place under it

The dark is carbon paper

And the trapped object is a dog - wild or otherwise

The body of which - is cartwheeling

Here is what happened:

          The dog ran across three lanes of highway
          Barely making it - I almost was the one -
          And I caught my breath as it reached the median and I prayed as if I believed in God that it would stop and sit and be but -

          It made it two more lanes - this dog - running like something was chasing it
          The grill of the SUV
          Silver - breaking the light like water

          And the dog's body was unhinged

          It spun like a top - like some stuck
                    perpetually spinning thing

                    I know because I began to scream and whenever I drive by it - the cars slow down to look - to see what this endless black hole in reality could possibly be

And what I'm not talking about is that I was picking you up at the airport

That this is so difficult

That it was some kind of warning - that it was the last time

          I was driving towards you and the lights were flashing
red          then blue          then

And instead of stopping I kept screaming and crying and screaming and I was driving and then I saw you and your eyes and then the moment and the moment in duplicate and then the moment repeating until the end of the universe

I was waiting in the dark for the lights to stop so I could go to sleep
So that the books would stop holding their breath

23 April 2016

22 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #53 : Thoughts on the Death of Prince

Thoughts on the Death of Prince

Every time someone famous dies you post that picture of Kanye West
where the reporter is disappointed to find him still alive -

And I get it

                    But I don't really

Tonight at the bar this guy made a joke about Queen Elizabeth's birthday
and why did Prince have to die when this 90 year old white woman is still going

And I mean

                    Sure - Imperialism sucks - but really -

I think about the first time I became aware of sexuality - watching
this man in butt-less pants sing about getting off on MTV

And the moment - expanded

                    And being a boy became less of a box

I know he became homophobic later in life - I know he moved into
a strange brew of anti-sex and religion that was definitely a contradiction
with his music -

And I get all of that

                    But I don't really

Because I want to say that people die - that they do - that they go
and we have no control and if anything threaded from Lovesexy to HitNRun

                    It was that we don't live forever

That we should - just possibly - enjoy these bodies while we have them

21 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #52 : The Sentence as a Possible Record of Carnage

The Sentence as a Possible Record of Carnage

I hold my hand to light - the sky a field of green behind the flesh
My veins and trees and some other things merge into a skin color

Someone told me that the sentence is a possible record of carnage
That a judge will pull out the desired effect like a string from a sweater

And the unraveling will be spectacular -

I am sure that the universe cares little of blood and scales
That in the end the thread will not pull so much as un-thread

A violence of evenness - of being forever separate
You there - little period at the end of this line - what's the weather like.

20 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #51 : The Broken Column of Light

The Broken Column of Light

The broken column of light across the bed
          across your face the look of warning
                    that this is the moment when –

I take off my clothes
I trace the perimeter of the lake
I walk into the water until it reaches my knees

At the end of everything – I don’t even
know when that is but it is

                    Here is the water lapping sunset
          the tide swallows the stones we placed
when we picked up the bones of trees and mice

19 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #50 : The Skye Terrier (Queen Mary)

The Skye Terrier (Queen Mary)

What was the thought process - the former Queen walking to her death with a terrier in her petticoats - was the dog so normal against her legs that she didn't think to leave him - and how did it get by the guards the man with the axe the crowd beyond the scaffold -

And after - when the dog wrapped itself in her dress and refused - and became bathed in her blood - the royality of that baptism - a terrier saturated until the color of her sleeves - after - was the dog able to stare into the faces of politicians and not flinch -

They burned everything that her blood touched - the block her head rested on - the gold-embroidered mask across her had to be hacked off twice head - the dress and the wood of the platform - all in the fireplace until ashes were all that remained -

And it makes one ask about the dog - they supposedly washed it - they supposedly kept hold of its trembling loneliness - one can assume - until it died from the chill of living outside the coats of a Queen

A Skye Terrier - Source: Wikipedia

17 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #49 : A B C Do Everything Different Than You Are

A B C Do Everything Different Than You Are

Anger rises up in the gut it
begins in the pit - green and

During this - nothing will make sense
everyone in the vicinity will
fall at the stench of it

Grandiose much ?
Hell and primroses are more fearsome
inch worms are more dangerous

Just shut up about your ennui - it's boring
King ego was never that interesting - the
lining of an old suitcase is more interesting

More of those poems about trees - people liked those
no one cares about Nikola Tesla
or his dead brother or your obsession with them

Perhaps the gay stuff could get published - the
queers are so in
right now anyway - at least - until they aren't

So many words -
they pile
until they topple over - until nothing holds - not
very long anyway

What is the weather like - what is the time - your
X marking your place in the world - this is what they want

Yielding to our histories only begets histories - a
Z where we all fall asleep to the sound of your buzzing

Poem-A-Day #48 : Chauffeur


There are so many words about this - and adding to that pile is useless
                    I remember reaching the rose out towards you as you walked
          the line - it was peach and you took it and smiled into my face

Someone behind you would collect all the hundreds of flowers
                     and place them into a car
          a whole car for flowers

I think about the driver - the person in the suit and hat driving flowers
                    through the streets of Banbury - passed the cross
          naked and ringing in the light of all those faces

This was probably 91 and you were so loved and so shining and perfection
                    unattainable was yours - the woman getting it all
          and then some

It was before revelation - before you sat alone on the bench in India
                    the shock of your red and purple - the so very alone-ness of it
          the breaking down of the metaphor - accident - and not

The first wife - in the tomb - alone and objectified - glowing forth
                    how prophetic and strange
          that life can be both oracle and stasis field

Piles of static collect around this tomb and your own - they mulch
                    I think about my childhood - and I have nothing
          to further the sound of my voice

I don't have comparison - there is no doorway to open here
                   just the hanging moment of child arm and hand reaching
          out - a long stem covered in thorns - pointed like a question

The answer in that car - that will forever be driving away - forever
smelling of too many flowers

Source - Dave Chancellor/Alpha

16 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #47 : Making Salisbury Steak

Making Salisbury Steak

Meat hitting marble
                    ))((((                    ...

          How clean is this counter


Don't think about the smallness of bacteria
how they creep like the waves of sound

                    The boards p o p
         and black
like in water                    like full of mold

Do not think about mold


                     How the small hairs reach
and catch at your lungs

                                        The rasp
                                   of knife on metal
           / /
                    the knife on     \ \

Don't think about the time the knife was
at your throat


     The small presses of the serrations
                              the pin pricks rising     ...

                    Bake at 350
          until golden          until pink

15 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #46 : The 46th Day

The 46th Day

A meteor explodes over Russia
& the USS Maine explodes
                                             sinking to the bottom of Havana Harbour
                                   & the United States goes to war with Spain

                         & it is
                               the largest object to invade the planet
                    since the last meteor that exploded over Russia

In Milwaukee
Jeffery Dahmer goes to prison for life
                              & he does die there his body pulped by a 20 inch pipe

& somewhere Galileo & Chris Farley are born & Owen Willans Richardson dies
                    his theory transmits the heat from static shock
                              to meteor
                                   to the Maine's decks

To the center of your eye

to this small dark room in Santa Fe

          where you tell me you are leaving us

                    where there is stop in the spin of the earth

                              where the coyotes wait outside the gates to scrap

14 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #45 : Vacation


I want to put lime blossoms in my hair
          linen robe against the breeze - there could be volcanos on the horizon
      but tonight - there is a softness to everything that hides the concern

The comet last night - it was a knife ripping open the sky like a zipper
      she lowered her robe and it would be day
          if only the petals didn't hide the sun in their raincloud storm

Here is a breakdown - I pull the jeans back on
          finish the last of the margarita - it is warm and watery and tastes like metal
      the salt aching my dental work

I will leave you here to dream about your apocalypse - it could be so fun
      us in our pink outfits tossing roses to the masses -
          I lock you in the room - drop the key in the planter at the elevator

I night myself and enter the breeze of spring - the dirt spinning over me
I want to put lime blossoms in my hair - I settle for ashes form what is left of us

Source - GHR2009

12 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #43 : Drake & Fermi

Drake & Fermi

          There must        
                            be hotline bling          in the universe
                    And we must be able to quantify that

I see what you did there - and the unanswered call is the one where your mother tells you your father was in an accident and is dead is gone is nevercomingback...
                                                  Let's be clear about the emptiness of space - the drifting tilting tombs of the big bang that can never reflect anything but their nothingness...
                 It's fucking empty

                                                                     The equation of leaving the city
                                 that is the earth
                                                        The math of going out more - meeting new people

                Tell me that SETI doesn't want a friend to call when that accident happens

It all breaks apart if anyone picks up the phone -
                                                            leaves a message or -
                                        emails an out of the office notice
                                                                           Maybe there's a signpost - a sort of neon club sign that is suddenly in view at some as yet unattained step - do we even know the steps - the
                                                                                                                                    o        s
                                                                                                                                       v  e

                            Your {The R/The L} feet - they are melting as they near the horizon
                   as they become fodder for the cow of the universe {black hole]

          It's sad to see this           it can only mean one thing
                                                                                                    the crashed car unfolds itself
the station to station of our talking echoes into the heavens
                                                                                                  the sound of Motorola
                                        and that guy from that commercial asking if you can hear him now -

Source - LIGO Collaboration

10 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #41 : Pejorism (take 2)

I felt a bit...unhappy with yesterday's poem. So...


Burn this after reading
      and the newsfeed you rode in on
          There is a broken line from Hearst to Huffington Post

      It's a line of black powder

The world is a keg...fuck that's boring
          unusually cliched in the most obvious of ways

How do you talk about how             the world is
                                    in a always not good direction

The number of planets keeps decreasing
Anger is trending
Here is this dumb planet called Earth floating in the void
      on the edge of the largest black hole
           and all it can think about is boiling itself to death

09 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #40 : Pejorism


The world spins - which is obvious

In the blackness of space it tilts itself like Don Quixote

Caring little for what spreads across its surface

That tilt - everything flows off the face into the ocean of orbit

The world shakes itself dry

The world looks into the sun until it dehydrates

Silence fans out from the center

History chains the thing to its horse - drags it from the view

08 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #39 : A Small Loss

A Small Loss

What erosion
          cone of ice cream in rivulets down your arm

I want to taste that strawberry

                          that mint chip point on the globe

07 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #38 : Oilcans


At some point in the future                    there
will be an explosion                    we lock the barrels full of explosion
                    to keep us safe

But then the explosion will ferment                   will somehow find a way
as it must                    because that is the way
                    Do human bodies melt like popsicles in that kind of heat?

This evokes Sartre                    his hell in other people mythos
pouring from the rain spouts                    filling the barrels
                    meant for the gardens

He rises from his tomb                    he dips a toe in the water
collecting on the tops of sealed barrels of explosion                    and it doesn't melt
                    but it certainly can't feel good

Source: Bibliotheque Nationale de France/Gallimarde

06 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #37 : Doesn't tho' look poetic?

Doesn't tho' look poetic?

Burned skin - not blackened - not chicken on a grill
          just red - blistered even - but red

It smells like a hairdryer left on until overheating

Cocoa butter - sand - the blankness of sky

          Words look poetic - letters aligned up down circular -
logic breaks before a podium and a room hanging on the ledge
of heard and not heard -

           language falls to its doom -

This is a sandcastle - not actually made of sand or castle
          but of the memories of the land

That is once held those things within it

It is the hangover of dinosaurs roaming the earth

Once this space had to deal with all of that weight - it's
sinister but true -

          The smell of that burning - of that oil in that car

05 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #36 : O'Hara


MoMA the battlefield, the broken edifice

I am looking for O’Hara – there must be stains

Some part of his newspaper in a corner – something
about the day that Hart Crane died

There are only cell phones stalking the Van Goughs
Yoko Ono’s invisible instructions

1.     against the wind
2.     against the wall
3.     against the sky

04 April 2016

Sellers : When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Publisher: Random House (1/12/16)

This isn't about this specific man's life or death.

I know little about either, though his story has been all over various mainstream media outlets, I've actively only read the bare facts. I have little interest in stories that fall into the 'human interest' category. The kind of thing that is discussed in hushed tones on the Today show. I have little interest in these stories beyond the headline and one sentence break down.

These kinds of stories are culturally woven into us. Many people enjoy clicking on the links to stories about the person who saved the dog from the highway. The kid who was dead for a few minutes and what they saw there. The person who raised a ton of foster kids being thrown a big party.

We are drawn to tales that highlight our humanity. Our best selves. This is how we've ended up with a book published 10 months after a man's death topping the bestseller list.

It is important to note that Paul Kalanithi was neither a 'known' person nor a writer before his diagnosis with cancer. It's important because this book exists because of that diagnosis, and the marketability of it as a 'story'. The newly graduated doctor in his 30s suddenly realizing that his priorities are off that his life is actually at its end. What does he do, and by extension, what would we do.

I feel like I must defend myself from imagined readers up in arms over me trashing this dead man's book. Which, I'm not. By all accounts the book is an interesting look at being young, and educated, and expecting of a long life only to have it all thrown out the window by a diagnosis. These kinds of stories are important. They teach us something about what it means to live every day, what is important.

So no, I'm not going to trash this book.

I'm more interested in the posthumous book as a cultural trope.

We put a lot of power into 'last thoughts'. The final breath before leaving this world. Call it a religious hangover in a secular society. And yes, I know, that is debatable, but...

Why do we do this?

Is it an attempt to see the other side before we get there? Those who are very ill, who are near death, are thought to be - to quote from Tony Kushner - "at the very threshold of revelation." They can see into some space we, the healthy, cannot. Supposedly.

There is a whole genre of books by the dying. To the point that it is a morbid cliche that a diagnosis, especially in youth, can net you a book deal if you can write about your illness in an enlightening and comforting way.

That 'if' is key.

We don't want a book about how fucked up being in your early 30s and dying is. We don't want to see you suffering, unless that suffering can somehow teach you, and by extension, us how to live better lives. We need a cliched 'happy ending' tied up in your tragedy. You, who are dying, what can you tell us about living better since you will not.

Oliver Sacks was a fascinating man. Culturally, he held this space that I would liken to Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye. He was a pop intelligence. A man who could make big ideas feel close, small, relatable. His post-death collection of essays, Gratitude, was published only months after his death in 2015. This quote sums it and my point up nicely:

“My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

I want to be careful. It is tempting to classify these books as a sort of grief-porn. And they do fall in to that vein. Even the best of this genre of books will play with that emotion. They are, at their base, meant to make us sad. Make us think about death and life and our choices. They are reflective, and thus, they are about feelings.

A feeling we don't talk about much. At least, not in western culture.

Joan Didion has made a strange shift at the end of her career. She is now the oracle of death. And while her writing has always had the air of melancholy and reflection, it has now become full-blown sermonizing on the topic of endings.

Her duo The Year of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights are, if anything, elegies/eulogies. She has somehow survived death, though I would argue that many readers/fans/literati believe these two books to be her final books. There is an air of 'the end' about them.

Even though we all experience death, we somehow need a Joan Didion, a Oliver Sacks, a Paul Kalanithi to explain it to us.

These books become our coping mechanism.

We don't allow death into our lives, so we ask a great penance of those who can access it while still with us.

You, who are dying, tell me how to live.

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.

Poem-A-Day #35 : Stairwell


Around the corner          the sound of a child          counting the steps

          I turn and the family                magazine perfect

Handsome and new                and counting steps                together

                They smell good                I sort of want this

Even though I don't                that smell                in a bottle on my shelf

          I could open it every morning          find the number of steps

03 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #34 : Quilt for April 2 2016

Quilt for April 2 2016

On the last day of March it begins to snow + it continues into April + that line about black boughs + cruelty echoes across the New Mexico landscape like a dirt devil full of tumbleweeds

I ask the woman behind the counter what I want there’s a silence between us that would be hilarious if it wasn’t insane

The pictures of the quilt across the National Mall the largest bed in the universe – rest your head on Lincoln’s lap + stare into the dome of the sky + what sort of dream is there in the circular night sky – is it a mirror of the day that happened or one of the future

Wrap the cloth around you and roll in the grass until everything is covered in green until your skin is stained with life

The week old baby is asleep + I can’t help but wish that the future is better his parents are there and we all kind of nod in agreement – it’s dark + sad + maybe inappropriate but it’s the truest thing that has ever happened

02 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #33 : Tattooing a Reservoir on my Chest

Tattooing a Reservoir on my Chest
          - after Emily Kendal Frey

The water levels are the lowest they've ever been

A red kite in the sky signals fire over the horizon

Tons of concrete etches into the landscape

Here is a hanger - your coat - it's all shoulders

I hate tweed why do you own tweed the elbows are just so...

Place these straws in a U around my heart the blood needs to pool

01 April 2016

Poem-A-Day #32 : The Sinking of the Titanic

The Sinking of the Titanic

: why so many questions :
          : ice becomes blue after it salts and confronts itself at night :

     : these are just the things
you can carry :                    : here is an X on a map it has no emotions :

                                : underneath the waves :
                      : the sound of one lone viola in the largest theater on earth is the sound a conch hears when it holds a human skull to its ear :