15 May 2020

Poem : Begrudgery

I remember laying near the open window in my bed in Brooklyn. The rain falling on the sill and onto my face. It was heaven.

This poem isn't necessarily about that. It's about now. But it's also about then.

And about relenting.

---

Begrudgery

Ok

fine

          Let the rain

in the window                 let

          it fall on our faces

It’s night and corona is on fire
across the world

                              So

                              what

          is the point

                                        of

allowing ourselves to dream

          We could

manage a world into being
with our sheets

                              our


          red
                    cheeks

14 April 2020

Poem : Sumi-e

This isn't a poem about Japanese ink.

Due to COVID-19 I've been working from home since March 13th. In that month I have not been able to really get in to writing.

It feels stilted. Tiring. Less important to me on a personal level.

On Friday, my company had to lay off 50% of their employees. About 250 people. I was "lucky" enough to keep my job. And I am grateful.

I am grateful.

This was written on Saturday the 11th. It is not about COVID or layoffs or even really about not being in to writing at the moment.

It is about feeling like I am a dry brush waiting.

---

Sumi-e

It dips itself — the handle — it — has something — filament a golden hair — within that it must — express — as grapes underfoot — it dips itself — the well of creativity — see it knows — something we do not — has that inside its head — it is a blankness waiting — it dips itself — like honey or a pool of warm water — the image began eons ago — creativity is an ink waiting for the dryness of a horsehair — to have a thought of its past life — have wells of past selves to unmoor — a cliff face waits to fall into the sea all of its life —

30 March 2020

Poem : Cockshut

Civil Twilight in Manhattan
Twilight is my favorite time of the day.

It is so cleanly between two things. So present in its liminal nature. It feels like water starting to tide. This is probably why it has a history of being "magical" or "important".

In Hinduism it is advised not to eat in this time period as the Asuras are most active at this time in their battle with the Devas. To gain power from mutability seems incredibly useful.

There are three kinds of twilight: Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical. Civil twilight is the period after sunset when things are still fully distinguishable by the naked eye, it is also called the blue hour. Nautical twilight is the period after Civil twilight when sailors can still distinguish a horizon to take measurements for position at sea. Astronomical twilight is the last phase, it is when astronomical readings can begin. When the faintest stars begin to show through the skyglow.

Cockshut is a very old English word for twilight. It literally means - the time chickens go to sleep, when they shut up.

---

Cockshut

Everything is the color of things going to sleep

and that one vein in your arm that pulses under the pillow.


In the whitespace between rooms              a filament
                                                     a gap

passes unnoticed — one single silk thread of breath.


Opposite of a rooster call — a moisture

                             sliding down a single finger of grass.


The walls grow pine needles — cooling              cooling
                                                             cooling

gently —              now —              not              so gently.

23 March 2020

Poem : Colour-de-Roy

Bolinus brandarus
Purple has a history of being a royal color.

This is mainly to do with how hard it is to make purple dyes.

It's hard to make purple dye because the first real source for the color was snail mucus.

Mythology tells us that Heracles was walking on the beach when his dog found one of these snails and began to chew on it. The dog's mouth filled with the purple saliva. This color became what is today called Tyrian purple.

The snails were bolinus brandarus. The spiny dye-murex. The snail has a mucus that it uses to paralyze its prey. It is also a defense mechanism. To get the stuff for dye you either crush the snail or you milk it. You milk a snail by poking at it until it secretes the mucus.

Then you make robes for your king or queen.

--

Colour-de-roy

The dog you made us get runs off down the beach
despite being called over over over he refuses to come back

We got him because of his sad face
because of the two small scars across the front of his nose

Little square bites of gray in the blonde
Tyrian purple

I say you made us get because you made us go
to the shelter to the hill the shelter sits on

I like the dog fine I wish he’d come when you called him

The beach has tuned itself into a throb of seaweed
after a storm the sand is raw and untouched

Over the small hill the dog is tearing at the earth
shaking itself in a tug of war

He has eaten a spiked shell has lodged it in his mouth

A hundred arrow-sharp spines piercing its mouth
now stained purple the eyes filled with purple saliva flooding purple

All around him horseshoe crabs line themselves

Their heads inland and scorpion tails out to sea
each and every one of them dead

They wanted something somehow in their blind eyes they knew
it was just over this or that scrub of bleaching grass

They died crawling from one world into another

17 March 2020

Poem : House-lew

A crow eating a shark.
"Safe as houses" is my favorite phrase.

It is Victorian English. It basically means that your investment or business venture or the thing you are about to do is a solid bet. Because what could be more sound than buying property?

Houses are supposed to be "safe". Many of us across the world are social distancing these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many, houses -- home -- that place, is not "safe". And even if it is. Houses feel less and less secure.

COVID is an acronym: COrona VIrus DIsease. Corona in Latin means garland, wreath, laurel. It is for the shape of the virus -- a circle covered in gem-like crown-like embellishments. It is a thing to be placed on your head. An honor. So safe sounding.

In ancient Greece laurels were presented to athletes, gods, or the dead.

COVID is sideways to corvid. Which are ravens, crows, jays, magpies. The most intelligent of birds. Mystic creatures who represent war, death, divination, news tellers. The Haida of western Canada and Southern Alaska believe the raven created the earth, this home.

The Haida wear masks showing animals transforming into other things. Meaning becoming another meaning.

So if this house has ceased being safe. We must evolve to find a new one.

The poem below is about death. It's on my mind.

---

House-lew

In the burntout crumbles of bunker — sounds of fluting — veil cathedral hand to eyes —

If you peek — you will see in glory in fire amen — the thing we all hide
from — locked doors and all that — a ghost in the pantry of the stomach —

It rumbles about with unrolled gem wings — finds north but turns west because
it wants to be the setting sun — we — safe as houses — we — are fine — yes —

In the moment when the heart collapses
perception becomes a slip
falling to the ground
in a bedroom somewhere in Kansas

The ribs release their long-caught bird
cold hungry everything safe then unsafe

It’s a rattle — curling of the body as wood sheets over flame —

In the aftermath — sound a lily makes when opening in the morning — the tube
a missile leaves behind — when going off — to finish what was started —

15 March 2020

Poem : Train Scent


train-scent is the scent left behind when you drag something on the ground to train a dog to follow the scent trail.

This is a poem about rough sex and apps and cruising in a bodega late at night.

Not that I know anything about that.

---

Train Scent

*
Those gray sweatpants — pink crop top sweatshirt
perfect rubber ball — your ass
is an orange to peel

You drop small gifts on the internet — a leaking
plastic bag on a walk from the bodega to your apartment
*
You send me a video you took with your phone underwater
the rippling — the hands outreached

Choking me — when you remember my name
I choke — swarm of dark olive green — pouring
bile into the floorboards
*
At the edge of the lake — after running for miles
over the endless curtain wall of dry leaves — yellow
a burning zoetrope you move across

There you become a man in sweats on a jog
you turn into the 1980s
*
There — you know the spot to hit
after being followed from store to door

A spot to drop clothes — pretenses — care
place to become roiling water in a pot on the stove
steam resting the itch in the back of the throat
*
On the tongue — scent of black pepper and body
sour within — wrapping — a shell of pinkness
sniffing around a penthouse for ass

You drop small gifts — across my clavicle
there an obvious scent an obvious color

07 March 2020

Poem : Historicist

Photo of Sif taken by Julia Smith Wellner
Historicist has two meanings.

In one -- theology says that it is about how the prophecies of religious texts apply to our current times. Symbols are attached to events and people. They become sigils of proof.

In the other -- it is about how specific times in history are "important". They signify something. They mean.

Both are saying the same thing. That specific things hold more weight than others.

Out in the Antarctic a research vessel "found" a new island as the ice sheets melt away. They named this island for the Norse goddess Sif. Sif represents the earth. She is mother of all, wife to Thor. She is symbolically the root of everything. Her hair is wheat.

One could argue that an old god arriving at this moment, in this way, is a sign. A sigil. A warning.

One could call it bullshit.

Either way, Sif is there.

---

Historicist

A new island in the Antarctic — Sif — mother — holder of things like wheat

But of course — it is not new — it has been there forever — waiting
      glacier’s patience — patience that is violent

That she has come now — according to the prophecy of various religions —
      sleeping giants awake at the sound of the warning claxon — the glaciers — which
            until now — chose to be still — now bleed with speed — with iron

Slide into the water — clear with the lack of things — become
      the waiting ragnarok beneath a receding history

Violent because it is so slow you cannot see it — but of course it can be measured
      in the acts of kindness — the small gifts of vapor that
            become the fields of wheat tomorrow

Your belly Sif — let it become red in the sun — stare until you blind
      until you un-hunger —
            full with whatever world is next