Monthly Archives: April 2010

Away With Words

Hop a plane
to nowhere,
put your hair

under a hat,
dive for turtles,
collect trinkets,

sip chilled potions,
write postcards
to locals, sing

karaoke with gusto
to new friends
from the bus, go

build a beach
fire, watch
stars fall

for one
another, cover
your toes in

sand, hold hands,
let your eyes
say the rest.

From What She Can Tell

From what she can tell, this is what he thinks of her:

  1. She’s a jackass. Joking or not, the repetition of his teasing strikes her as truth.
  2. She sleeps around. He is her third. She’s not sure what she did to make him think otherwise. He says he says those things because she’s beautiful so she must, you know? She doesn’t know.
  3. She is not a good person. Maybe it was both of their faults, but the situation allowed for a freedom she was simply not prepared to navigate. She has learned things about herself, about her true colors given the chance to go unchecked—that she pretends there are no consequences if she ignores them enough. Don’t worry, I disgust myself, she wants to say.
  4. She never meant well. That morning that they laid together, she thought things were turning around for the two of them. Turns out it was just hope.

Programming

Driving back home I hear wedding bells

of St. Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
of Notre Dame Edna Krabappel.
palsy.

How do I love thee? Let me count the change
is goodness, gracious, great balls of fire and
ice cream sundae

always comes too late.
morning, you sure have changed since yesterday.
school of fish sticks and stones may break my bones

but words will never hurt me and you, and
you and me, no matter how they toss the dice
it had to be you

send me, darling you send me.
are my sunshine, my only sunshine,

lollipops, and rainbows, everything
but the kitchen sink your teeth into
the mystic pizza.

Now I’m hungry hungry hippocampus
life to live and let us give thanks that was
fun for the whole family double dare

you to move it, move it.
devil dog and pony show me the way

to go home, I’m tired and I want to go
to bed bath & beyond a reasonable
doubting Thomas

Edison.
Jefferson Davis.
J. “Stonewall” Jackson Five Alive and well

drinks on the house, M.D. Device ice baby

I got your money, don’t you worry.
mine.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie Armstronger

than you look at what I’ve done and done deal
with it never rains in Southern California.

Just take it all in and out with the old
time movie ‘bout a ghost from a wishing
well there’s a girl that lives up the block
back in school she could turn all the boys of
summer job search engineering degree
of separation of church and state of the
Union Pacific Railroad to nowhere
in the world is Carmen Sandiego
when the saints go march

of the wooden soldiers.
of dimes.
madness that was you and me, ‘cus you and I

don’t know where we went wrong but the feeling’s
gone and I just can’t get it back.
If you could read my mind.

Hey baby, is that you? Wow, you hair got
so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye
my almost lover, you should’ve come over
it’s not too late, baby, now it’s too late
though we really did try to make it
something inside has died in your arms tonight
tonight, not again and against all odds
are slim to none of your business time
after—sometimes you picture me I’m walking
too far away, doesn’t anybody
stay

awake, don’t rest your head.
beautiful.
or should I go now? If I go there will

be trouble sleeping to dream about you
and I’m so

tired.
sorry! So sorry? No?
excited and I just can’t hide it’s all

coming back, it’s all coming back to me
now you know, and knowing is half the battle
of who could care less is more than words that
start with the letter I don’t know what

a beautiful day.
hurts the most.
what what would you—

what what what would you—

what what what would you do?

Framed!

She finally found a frame that she could fit herself inside, custom-made to fill
her oblong shape. She resembled a violin bass — the kind McCartney played —
lanky tall and thin, with curves around the bottom. The enclosure was made
from a deep-stained mahogany with black
contour lines along its rounded molding —
an outward curve, as if to complement her
own. She was matted on black and pressed
herself against the back of the glare-free
glass (a $120 value) Elated, she smiled so
relieved that she would finally be seen as Art,
unquestioned by those who never knew her,
never understood. Neither actions nor her
eccentricities required explanation as long as
she existed in the context of the frame.
They would simply be accepted, individually
interpreted within a secondary frame
projected upon her by each viewer’s personal experience. Now she was Art,
and no one would question her claim, comfortable within her frame, oblivious
to the fact that she was trapped with no way to be displayed or hanged.

Songs about Writers

I MC’d a fundraising show before going to Denver the other week, and I used as my intro song a track by MC Lars called “Space Game.”  It’s a nerd-core song that features these lyrics:

Ezra Pound can’t stop me (I’m on fire tonight)
Virginia Wolfe can’t stop me (I’m on fire tonight)
Joseph Conrad can’t stop me (I’m on fire tonight)
I excite the modern mind like a ray of light
Franz Kafka can’t stop me (I’m on fire tonight)
Wallace Stevens can’t stop me (I’m on fire tonight)
E.E. Cummings can’t stop me (I’m on fire tonight)
I’ve got postmodern game and it feels all right

That kind of did it for me, and it got me thinking – what other songs are there about writers?

Lucky you, I came up with some.  Links attached.

MC Lars (another one) – Mr Raven – Edgar Allen Poe

The Beatles – Paperback Writer

Modest Mouse – Bukowski (Live) – Charles Bukowski

Billy Bragg & Wilco – Walt Whitman’s Niece – Walt Whitman

Now, don’t go and say words never did nuthin’ for ya.

It’s another way to think about yourself, black-hole fighter, ground alighter, physics law smiter.

I, a Living Spaceship?
An effort-based
vehicle, my bony chassis

a galactic assembly of
calcium plants,
Milky Way beams,

within skin panels
I boost with muscle
strands fueled

by liquid iron circuits,
these tributaries
transfuse digits,

limbs, trunk
alike, irrigate with
minerals I

commandeer, flood
interior plains,
steer each day

the way the moon
rocks the sea nightly
surely, lightly.

Clean Slate

The lid to my coffee cup falls into the pile of dishes in the sink. I reach my hand in, waiting for the sting of a knife blade but hoping for the stainless steel edge of the lid instead. I dig around for a while, get frustrated. I throw out everything in the sink–the plates, coffee mugs, martini glasses–until they’re one big hazardous pile in and around the base of the trash can.

She walks in as I’m drying the coffee cup and placing it on the shelf. She doesn’t say anything, only looks at the pile thinking, “This is why I’m leaving him.” I can hear it almost clearer than the time I heard her say it to her mother over the phone, my ear pressed against the bathroom door.