Saturday, April 9, 2011
in the backs of my knees are sweaty
the only way to sleep is to arrange my
limbs upon the bedsheets such that no
one part of my body touches another
count backwards starting with dry
ice and imagine I'm in a place that's cold, cold
cold, so cold that I bundle myself into
a downy silence pierced by the radiator's
hiss reminding me that snow
run with white masks over their mouths,
safe from the river's smell that covers
the track, but not from this wind blowing south.
They look like surgeons rushing to an operation
as they breathe in their own heavy release
of stress, excitement, anger, or self-satisfication -
whatever makes people run these days when nothing seems
to chase them, except for those unseen things,
which there is no mask, no cover, no amount of speed
that can shake away those feelings that cling
to, that stick to, the heart that pumps
the monotone motion of arms swinging
in rhythm with desperate feet that cramp
but still run foot over foot over cramping foot.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Strip away layers of time so we see only the present
storm of metal shearing ice and fire.
Bore to the heart of all that matters and
only stop for sentiment in the minutes
before The End, when the signal
goes clear because you need to say goodbye.
Maybe I've been reading too much
of late, but that Russian guy was right
when he called you a cowboy.
concept for me. Whether tasty sticky
toffee pudding, delicious delicate angel food,
gummy leaden cheesecake, or frosting glued
'twixt layers of mealy yellow dreck
that parades around without a single speck
of flavor, we call it the same -- cake.
But I would think that for the sake
of fairness we must try to differ-
entiate which types we prefer
and elevate them with some nom de guerre
to herald them as they charge with flair
across our taste buds. It'd be a shame
to make a great dessert share a name
with Little Debbie snack things, packed in
plastic, anemic, and lacking
any art. So I propose
that as a tulip, is not a daisy, is not an orchid, is not a carnation, is not a rose
we not reduce the family cake
to some sad, contrived, fake
state of same,
and instead let each member proclaim
I’ve been reading up on math proofs
from old notebooks with crouched lead text
assembled in a trademark headlong march
of complex symbols and reasoning
that means I copied from the board.
Maybe copying from the board is how we learn
plagiarism. I can’t after all identify the swirling Greek
letters, skipping over un-colonized bits of English alphabet—
only desperate times could call for a positive integer j—
and I can’t after all explain in any of my own words
what follows the three-dot triangle meaning
therefore but really saying I dare you to follow.
These are lines of flawless logic, where a conclusive then
always follows if and suppose and let, and belonging
has its own symbol, and there’s a term lemma
just to signify a side-theorem I had to prove along the way,
sorry. I would drag a finger along the text to test the sensation
of proof, like braille, but lead blurs, and these are proofs
I could never reconstruct.
I never copied QED at the end of any notebook proof
because that which was to be demonstrated
wasn’t demonstrated by me. Instead
I shaded in a small black square each time
to remind myself to return.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
before I feel guilty.
That is presumptuous.
Do not tell me you understand
before I have broached comprehension.
I can pinch hard.
Do not feel sorry
before I feel anything at all.
It would be a waste of sentiment.
Do not smile a wondrous smile
before I have my revenge.
I will see only teeth.
before you were even gone,
but after we had
came home to silence, silence
of familiar sounds.
if I sit here long enough,
if I would become
part of this
terrace tableau, wind coating
me with city grit;
aloe sprouting between my
toes; ants and insects
themselves across my thighs, their
wobbly ranks running
the dragonflies lighting their
amber bodies on
Even the bats would wing at
night against my cheek
then out once
more into the sky, restive
through all the darkest
hours, at dawn
tucking into a corner
of rooftop to roost.
--a good portion of this lifted from Karla K. Morton's Sailor's Delight
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
a drug-ravaged border town,
a 20-year-old police chief
To avoid the drug gangs warring
for control, she did not gun or uniform.
Made it clear that she would leave
higher authorities. Last week, she asked
a three-day leave to care for her son,
and there, speculation: she had been threatened.
She did not show up on Monday
when the mayor of a town near Juárez fired
her. Nobody knows where she is,
or whether there was threatened.
Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson:
“a witness saw her safely cross a bridge
to El Paso. But with the threats
law enforcement officials face — a chief
beheaded – ”
Town officials were not alarmed:
“We’re confident that she is safe
some place. If there were a kind of situation,
we know about it. That kind of news just
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The big break, the impromptu genius made possible
By the inevitable but random collision of particles
Of genius within the island’s bounded space.
She promises the rush of sighting idols in their gym clothes,
Lures her pilgrims with the manic pace and up up up
Of buildings, stocks, your fortunes too (it follows)
By the ragged edge of South Seaport and winding Village streets.
She doesn’t like to talk about her upper body
Which is unfashionably square, no sensual curves
But a grid so tight even the unruly trees appear geometric.
Admitting her marquis lights flash predictably
And the sheer number of dream-chasers washed up on her curbs
Would only disappoint the fresh-faced suitor, still eager to uncover her fabled naked grace.
on metal swingsets, slides, and one of those
carousels without the horses, slightly off
kilter, now resting from its limping gait.
Ants wind their way through peels of paint the sun's
parched; one by one by instinct filing.
The concrete dais in the corner crumbles
under a solitary Christmas wreath
that dangles in April, sighing O
trailing red ribbons on the breeze. Fronds splay
the dusty underside of palms, and up
stretch a green net of gauze against the sky.
A man comes down the street, his cries the names
of fruit, as if to speak them gives him pain.
up to my waist
and then make
my belly dance.
I sing in awful
arias about the
I've never had.
I eat fruit
like a wild
the peel or
core on the
kitchen counter and
leave it there.
I leave strands
of my hair
on the shower
wall and let
them hang dry
like the dead
of incomplete answers.
When I brush
my teeth I
let the paste
like a beard.
I play music
while I nap
in my bed
with the curtains
I say mantras
out loud but
I have no hope
I do not fold
my socks but
I do iron my
shirts by leaving
heavy things on
top of the seams.
Sometimes I do not
speak all day long
so I open my window
and scream at
in the realm of psychology.
One Maslow sought to estimate
man's curiosity innate
and in form pyramidical
cast Needs all Hierarchical
the which men, if exemplary,
would satisfy successively,
transcending each category
to reach full potentiality.
However, a deficiency:
Maslow thought in 1943!
We must amend but so slightly
to account for temporality,
the advent of technology -
specifically, the T.V.
In the first level, we can see
man's physiological needs:
the need to breathe, the need for sleep,
dispose of waste, drink water, eat.
The TV can't provide these, true,
but an approximate will do:
the required info's all compiled
with Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild.
The basic needs now being met,
man naturally thinks of next
security for his family,
of health, employ, and property,
and safety from delinquency.
Staying inside and watching TV
takes care of all these, obviously.
To fulfill Love/Belonging/Social Needs
are the sitcoms from the 50's-70's.
Providing acceptance and community,
this level is affirming emotionally.
Next, the need for respect, both internally
and recognition in the public eye.
To cultivate respect for self and humanity,
there's no better option than Judge Judy.
The Cognitive, Aesthetic, and Growth Needs
are all to be found on Sesame Street.
Subsequent to reaching the acme,
man acquires these tendencies:
Efficient Perception of Reality
(Keeping up with the Kardashians and all reality TV),
Heightened Awareness Ethically
(Dexter; Breaking Bad; Weeds),
(The Simpsons, Conan O'Brien, and House, M.D.),
(Joss Whedon, Joss Whedon, Joss Whedon, Joss Whedon),
and Regard for Nature & Universality
(Shark Week, the other stuff on Discovery).
Having followed the entire process precisely,
man will achieve transcendence nicely.
Moreover, his needs, being met by TV,
don't require the aid of society.
Maslow's model, formerly triangulaire,
may be changed to the far more simple square:
Thus we see all man's needs, complex and pristine,
satisfied when he's sitting in front of the screen.
Monday, April 4, 2011
tells me is not my fault
but simply a result
of poor culture
I like to think of it
as an orchid I must
not shake when I
move it closer
to my window,
that I must tip toe
to keep the petals
as they are.
I like to think of it
as a dandelion with
its indignant seeds
drifting to places
outside my own yard.
I like to think of culture
as ivy that crawls
and then stretches
over the ledge
as if it has lost
But no, it is the
lima bean tucked
inside a Ziplock
in a wet paper
towel I save
A more graphic pen is required to paint its
weird details. This was one of the places where the earth
was in a state: the fire begins a long way below,
burns slowly, still more slowly, creates great
hollows. And there is always danger of breaking
the crust and sinking into the fire.
Night came on, and all was gloom. By and by
I thought I saw in the distance several lights;
going farther the lights became a glare;
we emerged and stood in open space.
What an unearthly scene! The whole earth
for miles full of flickers of fire, flames
of many colors - red, gold, blue, and purple - darted up
on every hand, some forked and jagged, some javelin
straight, rising above, in places licking
the dust, then, gaining fresh energy, springing
high as the others. Coming full out of the dark
I half fancied those flames were endowed with
life: a high carnival of curious creatures let loose
for a time from their prison-house.
Clouds of smoke swept into our eyes, and the
hot stifling air choked us. After looking some
time, we moved forward. I never expected
to get through alive; but death was better
than turning back. Slowly we picked our way,
and trembled. All went well for about three
miles. Suddenly, behind, a cry - We stopped
and waited for the worst. There came dashing
into the midst a frightened horse,
it tore along, the mad creature bounded
on, went far ahead, crashing
against half-burnt trunks of trees.
All were straining after the one that had
disappeared, but we pushed on, the smoke
still blinding. Soon we entered a splendid
forest; and, coming from vivid light into
darkness, the darkness to me was blackness
indeed. As my eyes grew accustomed I could see
the white tip of my dog's tail. This faithful
friend, a black collie, with a white tail;
so I kept my eyes fixed on that little bit
of white, and felt as long as I could see
it, I was safe. If the white spot
disappeared, I knew we must be prepared.
-from Kate Marsden, On Sledge and Horseback to Outcast Siberian Lepers
Sunday, April 3, 2011
that I truly began to wonder whether we all grow into the names we are given.
Though hers is an homage to the muddled languages of her tortoise-shell fur,
she can’t possibly hear the difference in spelling.
Pidge spends hours staring out the window of our studio
at the real pigeons. She does not seem to want to hurt them, but melodically coos
stories of their foibles to me when I come home. Pidge absconds with mouth-fulls
of my dinner each night. She may think I expect this of her.
I do not give away my real name lightly. My surname
betrays my heritage to listeners without my consent, which is also the core
of the name Dinah, that lack of consent, the voiceless sister whose rape
allowed the Israelites to make war with a clear conscience.
But then we are all named without consent, all names are given.
Perhaps I grew into the habit of correcting mispronunciations, of relative
quiet, of serving as a justification for the actions of my relatives.
Perhaps I know I am expected to be a very good sister.
The naming of things has always seemed a weighty task;
names are worn for so long and used so often. But this added burden
makes the responsibility unbearable, for who am I to bestow on anything
a history that must be grown into?
but I do not pray.
I sit on a stone bench
by trees I like
but I do not know
I sit and try to find
ways to describe
the temple wind chimes--
heavier and brassier
than the silver cylinders
in my neighbor's garden
of gnomes and
but I cannot.
It is tinny.
It is rich.
It is loud.
It is faint.
and then begins.