Saturday, December 31, 2005
this fluidity of spirit that,
when chafed with suffering, rose,
a genie in a lamp,
offering the sample of three wishes:
to be known,
Come with me.
Live in the teeming understanding of self
tormented with perpetuity,
silver chords of unity defying
definitions swallowed by fledglings.
Resurrect the energy of living barbarically
when stabbed by the epiphanies of pain.
Force our symphony,
amalgamated swoop from the tree
wiped away in exchange for these wishes,
vibrating in our breasts
having lost their rest when polished
by a savage magic.
by nancy jewell 2005
Friday, December 30, 2005
a memory turned like a favourite song
into the strands of a siren wife
floating, cavorting, in the ice
of a common life.
I have seen and I have sung
the channels dry to the earth’s rich dung
and roots and usurping life,
the polished scissors and sharpened vice
of our common strife.
I have crept the moon’s harsh pull
onto the beaches of our days
and loved and left
my kiss stone by stone down the path
of a thousand dreams.
And I am gone, being sated, full,
into the imagination of the haze—
inundated and quite bereft—
courtesan to the hurricane’s wrath
against the struts of life’s shattered beams.
--after Where Once the Waters of your Face,
by Dylan Thomas
Where were you blue skies and timber?
A pastoral myth without Pan to honor
our most gutteral truths--this was our
love before the winter and wrists, carved
memories spilled onto tile. There is no faith
when old stories don't hold up after two
bottles of pinot noir. There is no sunset
after the sweeping of the floor, dust
removed from the cracks, while roaches
move in, covering our tracks. Tell me, Love,
who writes these stories?
Who tells me these lies?
Kerry James Evans
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Chiaroscuro, you are mind mettle
and iron to the core. Slide free
and skoosh behind the eight ball.
The duck soup has canary segments
so grab a cup of java, snap a cap,
and give me your mazuma.
Steal a Chicago overcoat, grab
the getaway sticks, and
we'll call in the ringers with vigorish.
The nippers are hungry,
their eyes have bees swarming,
danger signs. Wrap them some jam
in orphan papers and whisk them
away to Samarkand.
Toe tap with dazzle,
lip smack and frazzle,
the speak-easy bourbon-mix cocktail.
We're flapping for freedom,
these crazed-paving days
in a gangster's bloody, last stand, haze.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
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Saturday, December 24, 2005
beginning the day that it was supposed to.
They brought him in and strapped him
onto the stylish gurney. The labelled him 'being'
and then they strapped him down like livestock.
Did you watch our custom,
did you do the right thing,
did you take a meteor
and smash it--guv'nor?
For Tookie was a mild muscular man
out of place in that Wild West picture show.
They trotted him up the steps
and they waited for his knees to buckle.
They wanted him to tumble.
And the cowboys galloped hard,
hard, to see it.
where were you?
Mr. Sidney Poitier of Austria.
Life wasn't a fucking film, anymore.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Like a probing jealous lover,
x-rays drill through my pelvis.
I hold my breath,
of you taking root in me,
you and me in every conceivable way.
In a second it finds me innocent,
shows me smug evidence,
nothing but held-together bones,
not even touching in spaces
that are a hollow cry.
I smile a quiet victory,
knowing it isn’t always so.
by Rebecca Flores
Thursday, December 22, 2005
the ever pacing beast
that walks across my soul,
wondering if its warm and wet
inside the outline of your lips,
thinking that your skin
would match its burning hands
with the red bumpy texture
of sweet ripe strawberries
if it could touch you.
You need not worry.
It is safe
behind your blinding light
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
where light has brushed,
she is light and rising.
Her hair is white where it has absorbed
the sun, and her blood is white
with tiny salt crystals
that rise to the wound,
cleanse and cauterize,
burn and sodomise.
Ever after screwed to the mizzen
of her Cinderella shipwreck,
decks awash with accusations
and deprivations, she is the dispossessed,
despised, and wonders why
her feet burn and bleed.
There are a million splinters
from glass slippers seeded into her soles.
The sea is master of stones that shatter shoes,
how the wreck totters and rolls,
the promised day
dies upon the horizon.
falls toward the dark. We shall eat it
as we watch the light come up in
the morning. We are contemplating
the confinement of song birds. Can
canaries and Java sparrows live kindly
together in the same cage? Green
onions, root ginger, winter melon. He
looked so calm, so not beaten down,
in his Chicago Overcoat, there in the
Fleet Street Family Mortuary. I had known
he was a lunger, but not so near. . . He
told me he was behind the eight ball.
Chicken stock. Arrow root. All those
orphan papers posted on the board.
Who will bother with them now? He had
to have the bees. Five hives in the middle
of town. Peel and chop the ginger. Slice
the winter melon. He had the oddest quirks
with words, especially words for women: long,
long getaway sticks; great nippers; man, she
snaps my cap, but I can't carry the vigorish.
They're ringers, all of them, he'd say, wanting
to ring my bell; wanting my mazuma. He loved
duck soup, loved the way the duck came last,
after the chopping and peeling; after the salt,
the monosodium glutamate; after the shao hsing
wine or dry sherry. The clearness of it. The hot
and soft, the sweet and salt and dryness of it.
The rich and stringy empty body of the duck.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
..and who could speak of those days;
the trees carving gray slashes into
an indifferent sky, cat cowering
on our back patio, the tic of my den clock
mocking me as I sat, fingering
poems into the air?
He never could tell me, you know,
tell me that all I would have of him
was a mist of breath on the bathroom
mirror, the chance glimpse of a receding
back, his best shirt flung to the floor,
still warm with his angry sweat.
I walk out into the scent of Jasmine,
dress dew-damp at the hemline, think,
who can know of that kind of death
that ambushes us while still living,
or how long one can endure chaste limbs
blackening and tumbling off for
the wolves to carry away as bounty.
My laughter once rang like fine church bells,
but his shadow has pressed me flat.
I've forgotten my name, my mother's name,
the town of my birth, the face of my first
lover, the color of my father's hair.
I've forgotten it all.
Every single bit of it.
the season &
to the hip-
dark-green fir trees
in our arms
northern mountains when
branches drop down
music coming in
radio station &
can lanterns strung-up
saws-off the tree
keep the stem
teaspoons sugar everyday
if come spring
pine needles &
all over everything
that we've passed
up, if you leave
I'll die, if I
another, that would mean
captivity, but how
I still can't stand
to say goodbye,
we know that fish
have no hands,
I would still
wait, wrap what
I had around, and
walk you home
I did it so much. I loved your mouth;
it was a napkin, I said. And your face was a wide
white tablecloth with a red rectangle in the dead,
white center. Distance was not contriving then,
there was no picnic to go to. Not a leaf
in the perfectly circular table which had accepted me.
(Symbolic of your prettiness.
You were open to me; unrealistically so.)
--but the void threatened us.
It was not definitive or personal, but it hit us
as if we were sitting down to eat. As we really were
bartering for the blood on each other's lips.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
guide your hips
to the rhythm of the tide.
Gradually, how it
creeps up the shore
and flattening castles
despite the color of the sky
or the direction of the wind.
And how it becomes
possessed by demons
screaming the lord’s name in vain
when the storm is near
and men drown shipwrecked.
And how, late in the evening,
it multiplies the feminine
face of the moon
in every rising crest.
What a pleasant, dazzling fire
The tide can make.
the flim-flammer jumped in the flivver
and faded (leaving only the moonlight)
the heart grows hard hiding behind
the eight-ball. i remember you
the canary of first light. treading
the dust-weary streets in my chicago overcoat,
i think only of long nights and the salt
of dry bread. duck soup i'm not.
counting and re-counting getaway sticks
i come up short. have the bees
mumbled their secret yet? stale honey,
cold java, in the aging hours.
like the dying fish, the blue lunger
on the beach at mazuma, staring up at us,
gasping for -- up the shore the party-happy
nippers oblivious with their gaudy balls
and sand buckets. and now a pile
of gray days bleak as orphan papers.
late at night, somewhere out the window
the last ringers stumbling home
snap a cap and break up laughing,
loud, sloppy-armed, vigorish as the living.
The rules have changed.
You choose, in general outline,
your character. Perhaps
last time you were the king
with the magic sword
and the unfaithful wife,
a hard and powerful life.
The time before, a dragon,
with a mouth full of fire.
This is a new game. You
will be a well-fed, insignificant
woman. The rules have changed.
When you enter the game, you
forget who you are. You forget
all that came before. You enter
the white light of this game
from amnesia's darkness. This
is a new game. This game
has gone on without you.
Everything has changed. One
day, while washing a plate,
you may notice the thick blue
veins in your hands. You will
wonder, did I choose this? This
game with its incomprehensible
rules? Soap bubbles will pop
on the skin of your hands. You
will raise your head and look
out beyond the curtained
window, to the falcon in the tall
spruce. You will think, Yes.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Flim-Flammer Jumped in the Flivver
and Faded: Fraidy-Cat's Last Meow
I'm tired of hoppin behind the eight-ball.
This is one canary who's goin home
in a Chicago overcoat. Cmon, cmon,
shake out the duck soup already.
I got a place to jam out in the getaway sticks.
You know me, you know how I have the bees
for you. Put a clapper on the java
I'm tellin ya. I aint no nickel
and dime lunger. Think I won't?
I'm tellin ya, yer lookin for a quick ride
in the big mazuma. I had enough.
Time to see the knock-knock man.
When we get done won't be nothin left
but last year's nippers. Okay, Hokey Joe,
hand him his orphan papers. Ringers
don't dance to this tin can tune.
Gotta fly this kite before I snap
a cap. No ups or downs to it.
It's gettin too damn vigorish in here.
I posted a poem for the "flim-flam / flivver" thing, but didn't like the way it looked with double spaced lines, so I deleted the post.
(In general I don't think poetry works well double-spaced, other than individual exceptions here and there that are done for special effects. I write all of my poems single-spaced. Spacing is an important issue with poems because it can affect the overall flow and movement and sound of a poem when you read it.)
I couldn't figure out how to make the lines single-spaced. It looks the formatting is defaulting to double spacing. Is there a way to get around the default formatting and change the lines to single spaced when you're posting?
****** Update -- problem solved. See poem posted above. If you're trying to figure out how to post with single-spaced lines, see the comment by David in the comment box for this post. (Thanks, David.)
been unwrapped from a Chicago overcoat,
he slammed his hand on the bar, cursed
that canary who'd once been his getaway
sticks before his long ride to San Quinton.
He ordered Java, downpoured with cheap rum,
and guzzled. I slithered over in my shimmy
sham red dress, knowing I'd be heavy behind
the eight ball with Jimmy The Boss, if this
lunger slipped me Orphan papers instead of mazuma
for a john thomas dip in the back room.
Acting more vigorish than I felt, since
this dude wasn't quite ringers with Clark
Gable or Sam Spade, I wriggled my plump
peaches, remembering what mama always
said--'choose the ones, darlin', who
have the bees & don't snap a cap
once the honey tree has been too long
relieved of its sweep sap.
Reeling him in turned out to be duck soup,
so I tucked my nippers back into my g-string
and screamed OHHHHHHHHH during his fifteen
second ride into nirvana behind me.
He slipped me some green, melted out
into the night to the soft windsongs
of Glenn Miller while I re-adjusted my dress,
strolled out in search of some other
lonely, dead dude just waiting there,
hungry to buy himself a dream, too.
The wind wheezed like a lunger.
The clouds, a Chicago overcoat,
hung heavy and black.
The sun was a canary in a mine;
rain drizzled greasy as duck soup.
The trees, bare limbs beseeching
the sky were dead-ringers
for mourners. The grass, bereft
of green, was the color of java.
My getaway sticks got stuck
in the mud. My get up and go
was gone. Where were you?
It was November. Then this:
Suddenly, snow falls
like mazuma and accumulates
as fast as vigorish. I dislocate
my shoulders and slip the nippers
from my wrists. I hold out my paws
and catch ice crystals that melt
on contact with my skin. Baby, I’m hot
and bothered; baby, I’m rich.
Understand? I’m out from behind
that damned eight ball. Write
all the orphan papers you want;
you can’t put a cost on this.
It’s not even spring but I have the bees
in my blood; my heart is a hive.
My body is wings and sting and buzz.
Say I love you. Cut me open right now.
Who knows? I might bleed
honey. I might whisper: Low,
low, low. I might snap a cap: Yes!
I just might say it back. Out loud.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
for laughs. A little breaking of
the ice for you guys.
This town is dirty and dull,
blanketed in a chicago overcoat
dead factories and papers
flying in the wind. Garbage
scattered into empty spaces
with nowhere to go, nothing to
do, but drink and have sex.
I took a nap, got up and showered
painted my eyes thick
in canary shadow
then flew out to Nippers
Dive for a few drinks.
No sooner did I walk in the
door did I see him. Damn,
he was hotter than vigorish
on licorice. Well, okay
he was hotter than duck soup.
Okay okay, he was HOT.
Those tight jeans, god-damned ringers
I could tell he was a real lunger
and before the night was over I'd
snap a cap, I'd cap his snap.
The mazuma was on the table but
I was looking at the package
and the ringless hand that might
as well have been orphan papers
waiting to be signed.
I made sure my ass was right behind
the eight-ball before he took his shot.
I shook it good and sweet, java
with cream and sugar.
When the game was over I
strutted it over, whispered
in his ear "I have the bees,
they're humming and buzzing
in my mouth just waiting to
make some honey, honey".
That flim-flammer jumped in the flivver
and faded, jumped in the flivver
and faded ....
all night long.
the glee in his eyes
his cock stiff as it had ever been
the way my three and a half year old
was allowed to tease it for him as he bathed her
how happy he looked
wishy wishy washy went
his prick in her little ripples
prissy cunt he called me
his voice echoing around the plush tiled bathroom as I
hid behind our bedroom door unable to
1) Behind the eight-ball
3) Chicago overcoat
4) Duck soup
5) Getaway sticks
6) Have the bees
11) Orphan papers
13) Snap a cap
Saturday, December 10, 2005
nor concrete: quite
hamartiological constraints. All
the correct stance as bundle, as fibre,
threads at most. It
might be a handle
or lock or hinge or
latch one entrance embrace
memory – any case to stand
before a maker,
drawer, box, dark little
corner World Former
entire in Its beginning
foot covering colloids
a belt buckling
sucks not dual effectively
but like if touting bare
upon fire-nails safe. Bare
also before also a singular facet. I
have gone there many many
ventricular sleaze even
kneesness after the asking of
to my maximal entropied Samson
any resource striked was
were rare ductility than wanton original
the catch to let in
we; serial serial ill id one ad nauseam
blessedless ephemeron that I am
Rae and I started posting together almost six years ago on the now defunct OZ board, then posted together on Poetic Inspirations. Our poetry back then was...well, not so good. Rae, you've come a long way, baby! I'm happy for your many successes.
Friday, December 09, 2005
caustic [have breath
taken treatment] lay
chance 'flicted "as
it gets darker"
street lights 'day
250 watt's "couldn't
remember't" dialect skills
need to (walk
across the street
November (warm) night)
"yeah, I can
wear my shorts"
minded door closed
at home barred
clean clothes home
here] chemical cans
envelopes cotton swabs
receipts color'd matter
oily skin slip
"half parent cells,
chromosome" dialect'd mediocre
skill'd extreme (ly)
know I've been
irresponsible, but I'm
clean'd," another proportional
'cious every range
short'd wear n'out
wider ('ering) ledge
less know 'scribing
"you know, I
say it smells,"
the finger streaked glass
visitor greets prisoner
and it must be me
trapped in the locked side
of the smooth surface
because the clean shaven man
that stares back
has no past nor future
only the look in his eyes
of the absence we’ve become.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
shades of rust and earth,
and the shape of a face
that has not remembered itself.
The woman I know has a voice
clean as a magnolia bloom,
hands with the names of friends
lacquered over the pearl polish.
Upon a charcoal ocean
where dreams are webbed in froth
and roll wave upon wave,
she sets a wreath of lilies
to decorate mermaids' hair
and sweeten the salt-laden water.
She is a spectrum of colour,
radiant in the spray, adrift
between sun and sea.
*a poem inspired by Pris' self portrait.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
light, perhaps even
your unwavering belief
purposes the free
pour of your
through the city
and across fields
treasured accumulation of
your living for
defined by choice
to lift or
the two into
a needed evidence
always enough to
instigate new forms
do not fear
and the suppression
the better choice
the actual occurrence
reality of healing
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
fall out of your hand,
as it did from its giver.
You take this gift
as if from anyone you know,
tear it out of the wrapping
of all other gifts
everyone else gave.
How they are by now
part of the things you barely forgot,
as if forgetting
is too much a consequence
of trying to remember.
timeless and tender bookends
I am word in a page in a book
unspoken and undefined
waiting to be said by you.
Whisper me gently the first time,
then slightly louder repeat me,
until I am a stream of incense
flowing from your lips.
Unleash me from
the meshwork of these red
ravenous snakes, that make me flesh,
like music unleashes
the motion of the dancer’s step
with the marking pace of tempo
and speak me out of the darkness of
these leather binds
that confine a small universe
looking to orbit the amber shade
of a sun at its center.
It is there that my flesh becomes divine.
Close your eyes and speak me
surrounded by vowels
and we shall become one
greater than each other
until the sun rises.
What were you doing 10 years ago; and five years ago; and one year ago; and yesterday?
10 years ago
I was working in downtown St. Paul relaying phone conversations for people who were deaf, hard-of-hearing, and/or speech impaired. It was a non-profit agency funded by the state. When I'd first started working there (1990) I liked the job, though little by little corporate-style management had crept in, and the job had become bitter and hostile. (We'd formed a union and had been on strike once.) I still liked the work itself, sometimes, even as stressful as it could be. I could write while I was at work -- I got much much writing done during the time I worked there. Marking time, waiting for what was next.
A long relationship with a woman I'd known many years was slowly drying up, finally going nowhere. I felt sad but it no longer hurt very much. A short intense erratic friendship with a poet 20 years younger than me exploded and ended badly, though (later) mended somewhat. I spent much time hanging out at local coffeehouses in Minneapolis, especially the Coffee Gallery and Cafe Wyrd, where I wrote a lot.
5 years ago
Mulling over the implications of the "election" of George Bush. Had been largely idling in neutral for much of the previous year; this was in part, though not entirely, a slow crawl back out of numbness after my father's death by suicide in 1999. I was coming somewhat back to life by this point. The poetry open-mike scene in Minneapolis -- highly active and lively through much of the '90's -- was starting to thin out, as little by little the more serious poets began to hole up and get reclusive and concentrate on writing. My book of poems If There Is A Song was forthcoming at the publisher during this time. (It came out early 2002.) I was writing a lot, and reading. Working for a living in the billing department of a large corporation, in an office with gray cubicles and gray windows.
1 year ago
Mulling over implications of the "re-election" of Bush. Locked in mortal combat with Microsoft "customer service" trying to figure out why I was having problems installing MS Word in my computer. (Turned out to be a simple stupid thing that it took three phone calls and a couple of unanswered emails to figure out.) Two poetry books forthcoming at the publishers. Firmly entrenched as a recluse, enjoying relative solitude. At around that time (or maybe shortly after), I was posting a lot on a couple of poetry message boards. Not blogging yet.
Woke up mid-morning. Bright and clear and cold outside. Snowed here several times during the past week or so, not heaps of snow but a good covering. Read some of Late into the Night, translations by Martin McKinsey of Yannis Ritsos, which I like; and read some of Winter Hours, new book of poems by Thomas R. Smith published by Red Dragonfly Press, which I also like. Read a couple of pages of The Story of Gosta Berling, novel by Selma Lagerlof, translated by Robert Bly, to get a sense of the writing. I'll spend more time with it. The novel captures well the spare silent quality, the starved isolation, of the northern European culture that remains such a pervasive undercurrent here, even with the great changes that have happened in the local culture in the past thirty years with successive influxes of people immigrating from southeast Asia, Central America, Somalia, and elsewhere.
I watched the Minnesota Vikings play football on T.V., and ate pizza. This time of year it's cold here and the daylight is short. Good time for hibernating. Two books of poems still forthcoming from the publishers. Writing much.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Alligator, you wouldn't believe what the liars
are calling me now. They say I'm an export.
That I'm soft, leather-clad, a knock-off
channeling the bars' songs through
hip. But that just isn't true.
I fell out of the nest early.
I was on the street with my quick feathers;
they were working. Jackhammers
letting us know that the people were up,
cars in a parade down the street.
There was a long line of birds
outside the studio when I ducked in.
It was quiet.
I drank until 6 and then I exploded.
I pulled my guts behind me.
2. what matters to them is the blinds are drawn
pigeons must be engrossed
chammering at the bars
outside the windows
when the shops open with fell swoops
they flex their wings
they settle with unusual hunger
it's not easy for them to utter
their (-tails-- easily injured)
which don't grow back
but consider the history
of the bird sciences:
made famous by a death
wherefore, the sidewalks are covered with shit/
3. birds are first metaphorical, then banded
birds' suffering is not normally recognized by humanity
but birds suffer from a multitude of diseases
(that was almost sins)
they suffer from
Airsack Mites Allergic Alveolitis Aspergillosis Avian Brain Disease Avian Goiter Avian Gout Bacterial Infections Breeders Lungs Blepharitis Bordetella Botulism Broken Legs/Toes Candidiasis Cancer Cryptosporidium Coccidiosis Diabetes Egg Binding Egg Peritonitis Emphysema Eye Problems Feather Lice Feather Plucking/Chewing Fowl Cholera French Molt Giardia Hemochromatosis Herpes Kidney Disease Laryngotracheitis Lymphoid Leukosis Marek's Disease Myialges Nudus Mycoplasmosis Necrotic Enteritis Newcastles Disease Pasteurella Papilloma Pneumonia Psittacosis Pseudomonas Polyoma Salmonella Scaly Face & Scaly Feet Skin-Mutilation Tuberculosis Trichomonas West Nile Wet Vents
or perhaps they suffer from melancholy
we really don't know
yesterday a man was hanged 49 times
in 49 places
with 49 touches of his wing
and we can't figure out why he went on dropping, why
not once, but 49 times
he wanted to flinch, jerk, remember, reposition, try it
(why can't you, reader, relate, too)
the quote-unquote miracle seems to be
that they wouldn't let him dive
wherefore, it was cold when they pushed him from the cliff
(you see James Joyce first
you see James Joyce
and a peregrine)
4. two in the bush, with salt
Alligator, I'm sick of this hiding,
aren't you, for the water?
breathing through a tube
it's because we forget
the birds were not meant for an audience
they were mechanical
yet they went on bickering and fighting
background noise to the archipelago
it isn't time you wore the #1 fan shirt
you're smart, and you've got to get your glandular
magazine rack fodder, yardstick passion
together, under the cloak-image. Passion,
where the innards
"dovetail" (as John Keats would say)
heaven is seething
wherefore we fly--wherefore the lizard-skin feathers--
surface along whose surface (the elephant)
it is passionate, it is willful, it explodes
wherefore they will all do:
archaeopteryx, diatryma, ichthyornis, and others such
that we already know about
the bluer heron
green tufted flamingo
redcrest, little robin
tearing up the worms and exploding
5. tastes like chicken
Police blotters roped up on such high stuff
jackdaw and emu, po'ouli, black-faced spoon bill
crested ibis, black stilt
one in there for
one in there for
and the seasoned veterans of slingshot wars
well to poke at them
Elizabeth they have small electric brains
they are thin-boned
60 or 70 in an omelet
given a skillet
smack someone in the face
Of the judgements given by the hand of Saint Thomas
the Apostle in the city of Calamy; of the devotion and
sacrifice offered to idols there; and of the procession
round the city
and carve as far as the earth
to build upward
by the fifth idol
to an amputated ridge
before the last idol is cut
from ‘frazzled stalk’
to the intention of likeness
the repaired plants
will cover the one who once
whose mount begins from ashes
the unpaved hole
by depth and comeliness
Thursday, December 01, 2005
saxophone's moist, centered reed,
finds sacrament in jazz vespers.
The history of sanctus,
sotto close to southern
blood of hand drawn
light. It's summer somewhere
pumiced to a shine.
Wind has body, turns
pale breeze filling hollow
night with the geometry
of softly open window.
By morning, present tense
will seem scuffed intonation
an invented room of
free poured sweet containment.