Thursday, June 29, 2006

Special 4th of July The Goodnight Show

I need audio from everyone saying something along these lines...Hi this is so for miporadio wishing America a happy birthday..or Happy 4th of July or hope you are celebrating with your family...or whatever you wish to wish to your good ole USA residents.

Send the audio to didimenendez at hotmail dot com

Need it by this Sunday.

In the meantime, here is the newest show: King Of The Road

powered by ODEO

Thank you,

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


It's kind of like learning
to slip your bra off under
your sweater so he can touch
you--those little tricks you learn
over the years in some dark Chevy
or maybe if you're lucky, a sofa.
He learns to come with his jeans on
begging for more and maybe you
come too if he slips his hand down
your panties and touches you just
right. You learn how to find
that safe line between teasing and pleasing
because once you cross to the other
side you can't ever go back and you
learn later that innocence is an aphrodisiac
and no boy will ever again quite love you
like he did that night with one hand on your
breast, the other down your pants, 'your' song
on the radio and the moon writing
its name on every heartbeat.


Monday, June 26, 2006

I haven't been around in forever. I want to be around! But I've been immersed in grief for months and I am just pulling out of it now. I haven't written poetry in months, too. This is my first attempt. I'm just sorting through things.

The Hat

The afternoon of my mother's wake I bought a Stetson at a pawn shop. It hung next to a stringless guitar. It hung, covered in the invisible dust of money hungry pain. It hung on a tarnished brass hook. I paid five dollars to a man with an orange-striped shirt. I don't remember his face.

I placed the hat on the passenger seat of my car. A Stetson. Black. The oiled pitch of movie malevolence. The hat wore a woven leather band decorated with an engraved silver charm. Two sizes larger than my head. Grade thirty X, the Rolls Royce of fox fur sculpture.

Hey you, I said to the hat. My mom died.

The hat made sympathetic noises. The hat expressed displeasure at the change of schedule.

After the funeral I placed the hat on my bed's extra pillow, the space I saved for a lover. The hat took root. I felt it push tendrils through the green satin, through duck down, through layers of coiled springs and metal frame. I felt it push into the oak floorboards, into the crawl space, into the ground rich with uranium and feldspar. I fueled the germination with my fingers. I traced the spiral galaxy etched into silver. I brushed the hat with care, sprayed it with rain repellent. I loved the hat, loved the way it smelled like roadtrip ozone.

I told the hat stories at night, stories about my day, about my children. I told the hat it was much more than a five dollar whim. Sometimes the hat listened. Sometimes it didn't. The hat's roots pulled memory from the underworld, a place not-yet-separated from its prior owner. The hat kept one upturned side-brim touching my sheets, but the other side sunk into the pillowcase.

My wrists weren't strong enough to pull the hat from the bed. One day I went in search of a shovel to transplant it to a more suitable environment, but I got sidetracked by my father/kids/dog/work.

We're dying, they said. Leave that damn hat alone and attend to us.

I did. The hat understood. The hat was not happy. I asked the hat for help but it sat still. I asked the hat to rub my back, to cook me dinner, to tell me funny jokes. The hat would not budge.

After a while I slept with my back to the hat. I wore old sweats to bed instead of frilly lingerie. I wanted the hat to notice that I was lonely. The hat did not. It remembered the pawn shop. It remembered its old life. It remembered the five dollars. It pointed a brim finger at me. It told me I made the roots stronger.

I grabbed a shotgun and shot in the air above the hat.

Get out of my bed you mean old lazy crummy hat! I yelled. I didn't mean it. I wanted the hat to protest. The hat fell to the floor. It sat there for two days.

I packed the hat in a box yesterday. I wrapped it in plastic. I stuck stamps on the side of the box. I stuffed an old beadspread in the hole left by the roots. I slept alone.

implodes, even
when gently touched

Thursday, June 22, 2006

& some days

/ the pain rests
be tween my ribs / some where
near my heart / press ing heavy
a gainst the lungs / /

this is no way to die / i think

as i / dig my own grave /

& wonder a bout love making
& why it can't be done

i make love to flowers / talk
in conversational english to grass
taking over the garden beds / my hands
are stain ed / dirt

I Knew A Robert Creeley

As I sd to my
fellow americans, because I am
always talking to them, and I

sd, the war surrounds us
whether we’re here
or over there,

not really much
I can do about it I sd
except write about it,

write I sd
and before I knew it
I had written this

just as it appears,
maybe we should be
watching where we’re going.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Who Could Possibly

Enjambment is to poetry
what syncopation is to music,

a chapbook to a book
what a poem is to prayer.

So who could possibly detect
what would be missing?

Who’d say, “chapbook,”
and mean lust in a loveless life?

On email scholarship   [sonnet]

Having first weeded out the spam
the letters a'gleam before his eyes
with every reply to the replies
the scholar's perusal nimbly ran
through the epistolary scrawl
spanning decades   first to style
was he attentive   through the pile
his navigation discerned withal
nuggests of substance here historically
there philosphically glint germane
friendships & courtships wax & wane
quandaries frankly or rhetorically
    peeking out from the seamless reams
    of salvaged epistolary dreams


E-Mail and Potential Loss to Future Archives and Scholarship or The Dog that Didn't Bark, by Susan S. Lukesh. First Monday (Volume 4, Number 9. September 1999)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

trying doors

during my late flight
last night
or even when I was
on the ground
and headed home
someone ransacked
our unlocked car

bags of snacks
sticky change and even
a GPS wouldn't do
for a thief
who took a toddler
backpack mistaken
for a purse

left it on the lawn
open with crowds
of ants scaling
a nap blanket and
a book about a friendly

not just violated
I felt my life's contents
by a society that leaves
personal artifacts behind
on the way
to the next driveway

July's OCHO

I am going to start working on the next OCHO. This publication's poetry consists of present and past MiPOesias Magazine contributors submissions. By default because you belong to cafe cafe community regardless if you have ever appeared on MiPOesias or not, I consider your work posted here as well for OCHO. So I may leave you a note on your poem if I wish to publish it.

Thank you,

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Free copy of OCHO #1

Available through

To the first 2 people who respond to this post. Must live in USA.

If anyone is interested in reviewing OCHO on their blog or magazine, please email me and I will send you the PDF.

Thank you,
Didi Menendez

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Homecoming

The Humvee disappears around a corner,
the dust is sticking to the dust,
a stray dog marches up the street.

In the Humvee the soldiers talk of home,
of brides, of kids, of heat, of lunch.
Suddenly the bomb goes off.

No one is alive inside the blackened carcass
of what used to be a military vehicle.
A few Iraqis cheer, others are stunned

by the blast and by the present lives they lead.
The bodies and the body parts
must be recovered,

the mangled remnants of the Humvee
dragged back to base,
the families, the brides, the children

informed that their loved ones
are coming home, coming home in body bags
but they are coming home.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thanks to Amy & AnnMarie / Siren contributors

Genuinely huuuge gratitude to both Amy and AnnMarie for contributing work for the first issue of Siren, a new literary and art journal I'm editing along with Ryan Laks. Their talent will be gracing our issue that will be up on July 1.

After that issue is nice and complete, I'll keep my eyes open, from the many poems I see here that I like, for anything that I think would find a nice home on our pages -- if I do I'll e-mail you and ever-so-humbly ask you if you want to contribute to the second issue due out on October 1. But I might miss a whole lot of gems, who knows, so if you care to, we'd love to receive submissions from cafe' cafe' poets.

'Hope you'll all check out our first issue.

And, again, thank you so much to Amy and AnnMarie.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Poetry, islands, ocean

I went on the Poetry at Sea cruise that Didi has mentioned from time to time here. Didi asked me to write something about it afterwards, so here's what I've got.

We were a tiny group, five students and five instructors (a couple of whom doubled as students in the other instructors' workshops). Some people were traveling with family and friends.

Beautiful relentless constant merciless sun. The heat was overwhelming. I loved it. I've lived most of my life in a place (Minneapolis) legendary for cold weather, and in the Caribbean heat I often felt I was about to boil away like a jellyfish. I didn't mind.

I generally liked the poetry workshops. I particularly responded to the ones led by Nick Carbo (in which, following Nick's directions, we all made origami cranes from paper on which we'd written words and possibly added colors) and Denise Duhamel (inventing new definitions for words in alphabetical lists). The classes led by Gabe Gudding (where we wrote and traded curses and then wrote praises), Annie Finch (on poetic forms) and David Lehman (on finding sources of inspiration for writing) were fine too.

In St. Thomas I wandered Charlotte Amalie, spent time sitting at the water's edge feeling wonderful east breeze in off the bay, watching the activity of the harbor. I sat a while in Emancipation Park, a small town-square type of park named in commemoration of the official abolition of slavery in 1848 after 245 years of slave trade.

In St. Maarten I wandered Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island, which was okay though if I had it to do again I would go to Marigot on the French side. Both days on the islands the heat was overwhelming. Did I say that already? I was afraid of the sun. I kept finding shade to sit in. I was in no hurry to do anything.

On both islands I did the best I could to avoid the streets a block or so back from the harbor that were crowded with jewelry stores. Newsletters distributed to passengers on the ship were filled with ads for jewelry stores on the islands.

Deeply entrenched poverty on the islands side by side with the aggressive tourist business. A large migrant worker economy in the Caribbean, people working service jobs following the tourist industry. When I was on the islands I tried as much as I could to withhold any conclusions and just let the places work on me. I tried to let myself be aware of my ignorance.

The days at sea I spent a lot of time sitting in shade and watching the ocean. More clouds than I'd expected, though they provided no relief from the heat and sun. On one clear night a crescent moon above the sea. Island lights on the horizon. I kept my eyes open for sea life (dolphins etc.), never saw any, though I talked to a couple of people who had seen small sharks once.

Massive quantities of food on the ship, although -- when I finally found something to eat in St. Maarten with real flavor in it -- I realized how bland much of the food on the ship had been. In St. Maarten a woman who worked in a small cafe told me it starts to cool off in that part of the world sometime around November.

The last day of the cruise we were at Princess Cays, privately owned by the cruise company, at the southern tip of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Basically a beach with a couple of bars and gift shops and a boat dock. The ship anchored offshore and small boats shuttled passengers to shore. While I was standing on an open deck (under a roof) at the bow of the ship, debating whether to go ashore, it started to rain, a little for a few minutes, then the entire sky opened up from horizon to horizon, and the island disappeared in the mist.

It rained like that for 15 or 20 minutes, with huge thunder and brilliant lightning. Then the rain let up and over the next half hour the weather cleared. I sat on deck, feeling rare cool breeze, and just watched the weather. As the sky cleared, I saw colors of the water and sky I'd never seen before -- dazzling clear greens, astonishing turquoise, deep-shaded violet. Then after a while it got bright and clear and hot again, and I decided not to go ashore, I was satisfied.

Toward the end of the week we had an open reading by the students -- Mike Alexander, Kelly Thomas, Angela Armitage, Barbra Nightingale, and me. The last night of the cruise we had a general gathering and a reading by the five instructors. I really enjoyed the readings.

I guess Didi is going to do a special feature in MiPoesias of poems from the cruise. I wrote a couple of poems I felt were good enough to keep. Whichever ones Didi decides not to use in MiPo, I'll post here.

Some good pictures of the cruise in Nick Carbo's blog Carbonator. (Scroll down to the entries beginning May 27, and work your way up.)

This past weekend here in Minneapolis it barely got up to 60 degrees on Saturday, with gray sky. I wore shorts and sandals all day.

The New Moses

- for Michael Burns

High up on the mountain, he screams
for a Big Mac, holding an ice pick,
breathing thin air - a lady is a thought

and love was a glass of Chianti; red
roses in a vase. A dream? No, hungry
and lost on an old path - lettuce

and patties of meat - a special sauce
for the back of the throat, he parts
the mountain - the new Moses

wants a Biggie Sized covenant swinging
his pick, an avalanche - a prayer.

Of Course, the Horses Regrettably

Of Course, the Horses Regrettably

Of course, the horses (regrettably)
screamed. An animal’s natural

reaction when trapped in flames.
But the cows, chewing cud

on their knees were (eerily) silent.
A barn owl flew out from the fire

like a god or devil. Mice streamed
from the crackling structure

like a river, flooding the field
with their bodies. The conflagration lit up

the night like candles on a cake. Happy
birth day to me. I opened my eyes.

I uttered my wish out loud. It only took
a single match and a lot of hay and dry

spell that lasted forever. The stars
that have always seemed too far

away were smoke-obliterated. Calm,
untouched and clean, the moon

hanging above it all, nodded. As I surveyed
the wet, smoldering beams, what anyone

else would label damage, I shielded
my eyes from the irrevocable brightness.

Monday, June 12, 2006

At a Cafe, a Table

Thumb and index finger
on the handle - relaxed

arms and legs, a cool look;
sunglasses and long hair.

Mona Lisa two hours before,
in a gallery - a smile, a frown.

Notes on paper, the final word -
espresso, classicism, and her.

So they have much in common,
a color, a light - but what of nothing

in the broken air of night? Simple
is what you want - forget it then.

Kerry James Evans

Saturday, June 10, 2006


There must be a lake
the tracks come to
that leave your place.
A spot of isolation
like an apartment.
If afterwards we forget there
what did we feast on?
I hardly know you.
Why did you live?
This finite summer
stops by the road
are all red, all wicked.
I thought you were a self.
I thought, someday.
If the dreams will continue.
If there's damnation.

Where the Imagination Is Apt To Lead

This isn’t about prayer as such,
but concerns the flowers and the barking dog,

common places the imagination might lead.
The coffee shop downtown, where memory

floods the mind in uneven scenes, and no one
prays or even pauses as though he might pray

before drinking in the city’s drivel.
This is a poem about living,

about visions in a world full of dreams,
about rough places, descending into the world’s

basement to see, hear, and smell the vomit,
before drifting off to chase truth. This is about

the Man who sits in the gutter, glad to be with us.
That man never confuses a poem with a prayer.

Unplanned obsolescence       [sonnet]

Any color so long as it's black
Henry Ford allegedly offered
humankind has loved & suffered
many a hangup here on the rack
if you call I'll call you back
but the machine is on the blink
if you dial my kitchen sink
will the teacup click or clack?
the fridge is empty   I've no snack
meriting mention   hey let's chat
who's the mouse & who is the cat?
who's the celeb & who's the flack?
  such a phone could seem obsolete
  but I wait your call   my bittersweet


[This is one among a sequence of 8 (so far) poems, each written in a different traditional form (viz., villanelle, sonnet, ghazal, haiku, rubaiyat, clarihew, limerick, pantoum), as pleasantries of ekphrasis: writings occasioned by a photo (more particularly, of an olden phone). The full sequence can be seen on my blog (in postings from the past couple days). As might be noted, this one shows a mildly novel variant of the sonnet form.]

Twin Cities

(not Saint
Paul) Istanbul (not

Can't stand
on an apple.

trainer at
a stand still.

yourself with
infusions of valerian

& slow
down the continuos

Vitus dance
of thoughts torn

the archives
of your throat.

can't go
back to Constantinople

now it's
Istanbul. Stuttering is

words transform
themselves half way

A sort
of verbal endo

A sort
of psychic song-&-dance.

sort of
pas de deux

hemispherical twins.
Loosen the stays

your cerebellum.
Visceral equi nox

shoulders to
hipbones. The midrif


a sort
of a hy-brid

a sort
of a land-bridge.


of horse-hair
& woven wire

be worn
this season. They

melt the
way they should.

steel shadows
& edible gold.

pleats of
your under clothing

square below
the knees. Over

the out
skirts we find

esthesia as
good a euphemism

any for
the keel of

The arabesque,
hook-&-eye, on-the-cusp, cloak-&-dress.

sort of
awe inspiring pirouette.

*With a line borrowed from They Might be Giants

Friday, June 09, 2006

please take note

I am working on a mipo~print issue and may be leaving you notes on your poems posted here if I wish to publish them. If it is not available for publication, just leave me a note that it is not and that will be that.

If you are not sure what mipo print is, stop by

thank you.

have had shoulder surgery so I have been 5 weeks with the use of only one left arm, very little work done but I am just getting 'back'

springwatch/talking up the non-grasps

there has been a sublunary consilience/ricochet of conversations between irreconcilables/somewhere unseen, hidden by roof by gender by completion/pregnant pipistrelles a'roost/to become succour home/something more than nuisance/will fulfill their cycle/ but against/this /the gap
hands/echolocation constant/the prayers unproven, needed/fingers mere digits/separate was edifying but since/the season sanctions/unusable aparts/little crawl spots shall
blossom into/dithering flesh froth/yet shoulders back hips all
and the two hands keep loins unpalpable/silent-forced and head/ and/creeping/and again to lamest pondering, psychosing/at a bodypitch/above natural hearing/above bearable: awaits/the haunt-touch scapes/back to night hunger knees side by side (sup)planted/grace skewed/

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

You Call Yourself a Poet?

You Call Yourself a Poet?

well no I never have/I call myself
a blister leaking words/the keeper
of the kettle/stirring/the telekinetic monk of mood
drooling laughter and pain down my sleeve
which mysteriously becomes/a road pooled
on the fine knife cut between your smile
and the croissant you consume with coffee/urban
legends/a nickel of news/ten unwashed shirts/
twenty bills/a psychotic cat/the sound of robins
flirting with the sky/but poet/no not that life/
not that ripple across vocabulary

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

You Call Yourself a Poet?

It has come to my attention that this is the best blog for poetry writers, however there hasn't been much participation. There are plenty of members, but not enough comments. I don't understand how there can be a lack of enthusiasm about writing, when the world around us is in dire need of poetry. It is up to you to be the world or the poet of the world - to be the world its eyes, who it turns for and needs.

Ezra Pound would have a fit if he saw us not engaged - he would call us lazy and not worth a damn. I know this, because I've grown to know him. Yeats, Eliot, Bernstein, Lowell, Coleridge were students, who did not shy at criticism, who were not afraid to be heard - this willingness, this ability to shun fear allowed them to be free and only encouraged their talents to write poetry.

Poetic Picture

Look at what their faces show.
They have not been on safari.
It is not the animals they seek, as into the jungle

they go, with steadfast hearts. They are not
without hope—
but have people both to learn from and teach

on their mission: a mission called life.
They have heard the lessons of the Mother
on that dark continent, where life began

and is oftentimes renewed. They have been
away for thirty years. Have they begun yet
to call Azania home?

This poem, written by invitation, is a reaction to a photo posted by Carol on Write At Home For a close view, click on the picture.
I Am The Desert

after Carl Sanburg

Pile the bodies high in Baghdad and Tikrit,
put them in body bags for the trip home,
I am the desert, I cover all.

And pile them high in Mosul
and pile them high in the Green Zone,
put them on the planes and let me work.

Two hours, ten hours, and the passengers
ask the pilots, what place is this?
Where are we now?

But the pilots do not hear them.
Back on the ground I am the desert.
Let me work.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Might Be Here

The days are longer when you don’t think about coming or going. When you’re listening to time passing and what silence means it to be.

Later, I will think about what I’ll do.

There’s another height to fall from, another changing season to take inside.


Loud, night screams
from a crib.

A bottle thrown
to the floor, a star
a cloud; open the curtains.

Open the curtains now.

Kerry James Evans

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Villanelle beginning with a line from Ron Silliman

The chartreuse moose loved couscous
but the celadon celibate seldom
danced maranga like a loose goose

the listless lilt of the who's-whos
might bleed toward a genteel Bedlam
where chartreuse moose nibble couscous

I abide in a blacklight caboose whose
nighttime sojourn slows nigh to Milden
no maranga there for a loose goose

well withstanding all exigent excuse-use
golden girls could expend cold gilden
for chartreuse moose with their couscous

having settled out Winnie-the-Pooh's dues
you'll watch Maja pair with Alex Schulin
what Olympics have need of your loose goose?

in his hoosgau Lenny the Bruce brews
herbal tea that soothes the while coolin'
the chartreuse moose loves the couscous
gliding maranga O! like a loose goose

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The poem's first line is borrowed verbatim (with thanks) from Ron Silliman's newly net-published excerpt from Zyxt.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

I see a river, as it dives from the cliff,
feel its spray on my cheeks, my white, aging
chin. I taste the river’s sweetness.
I see a river whose shores hold the answer.

I see the sweat and the blood, as they river
on the back of a dark, black slave.
I hear the beat of a slave mother’s heart,
beneath the hot noonday sun. I hear the beat

of the feet of the Cherokee brave,
running through the dark green forest.
I smell the smoke from the great chieftain’s pipe,
offered in the forest stillness, in peace.
For My Daughter

Looking into my daughter’s eyes she reads
my face like a buried book,
picking at the sod, the foreign roots,

the wind overhead, a sea coast
foaming fast ashore,
the night’s black blood frozen solid.

I see her in shorts being chased
by boys for her pretty legs,
her smiles, her many other wiles,

believe me, I am aware she may marry
a bastard, an imbecile, a man devoid
of poetry or place.

I had no daughter but she imagined me
and she persists in her creation
deep in her mother’s angry womb.