Title the "Untitled" poems whatever you like.
I am currently entering a short story phase. They can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/ScansionHowl
I was trying to tell someone about spring.
I could have told them that as a child, I had bad allergies and my asthma would kick up every night. My dad would stay up with me while I wheezed and coughed. He read me stories and hugged me while I sat terrified in front of the freezer. My parents thought the cold air would calm my lungs. It turns out that’s not true. I’d cough myself to sleep and my dad would carry me up the stairs to my bed.
I couldn’t tell them that. Those are happy memories. I was loved and cared for far into the morning.
I finally told them about the time I visited my grandmother when she was in the hospital. It was May and our car was covered in pollen. I sneezed the entire drive. When we got to the hospital, the head nurse said only one of us could see our grandmother at a time. My dad went first and the rest of us sat in the waiting room with the plastic water cooler that bubbled when it wanted and the dated magazines about marriage and Princess Diana. My dad spent a lot of time in the room with his mom, so I got up to wander around the hospital. I was nineteen, but hearing my dad cry made me feel like a twelve year old. Twelve years old are adventurous.
I managed to make my way to the nurse’s station outside the psych ward. Before the nurses could ask me who I was or what I was doing there, a girl opened the swing doors. She looked like she hadn’t taken a shower or slept in months. Her hair was matted to the side of her face and her eyes had bags like an airport.
She didn’t say anything. She just stared at me. We were about the same age. I don’t think she’d seen a boy her own age before. The nurses grabbed her by the elbows and guided her back inside the ward before I could say hello.
I sat with my grandmother when it was my turn. She called me my cousin’s name the entire time.
That’s what the spring is like.
It can be found here: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2295/2193909590_2b2c1f151a_b.jpg
honey you should see me with the crown
jewels stack atop a pyre
moaning like a beatnik and a 4 AM cheap hooker
at a truckstop in Saint Louis
i have heard the failure
of words dripping
from ten thousand suburban roofs
from tongues of boys who would
have been around the point
of intellect and left with
nothing but like's and um's
and snatches and playing
with their privates
and slogans like
hip hobart my hip hobart
and god bless america
and for god and country
and heil hitler
wheres the last train to cool
out of a moral landscape
from a moral heart
from a moral chest
shine your shoes read the news
about motel art and the price of oil
clinging to the side of a lifeboat
of boredom and inadequacy
in a world of grey pinstripes
and papers in latin with seals
of broken fuse boxes and cluttered attics
ive heard crying
bookshelves and binary friend limbo
playground bullies and their mother's
nipples when they were bit in the 90's
all in the shape of noise to come
in uncommon deference
to never better
to the shake shake
shaking of basements
on broken foundations
honey you should see the chop of Seneca
and the drowning of dumb
deaf blind Zarathustra
Save for me a little farm
in the mountains above the fog,
with clover for the sheep to tend;
with a stump for chopping
wood and chicken's heads.
Before the sun is up, there is work
in the potato field
for hands with dirt beneath
for muddied boots trudging
up the naked hillside.
And when the sun is gone
the cold will slip past the coal stove,
through the woolen quilt-
hang wet and heavy.
Save for me a little farm,
and burn the candle at one end.
I'm taking a break from poetry, trying my hand at short stories.
My love is like the USS Oklahoma,
capsizing, exposing its barnacle-crusted belly,
slowly filling with water and the yelling
of desperate men. They are banging on the pipes
with wrenches and blistered boiler room fists.
Or a tugboat pushing in the shadow of a louring ship
against the turning of the falling tide. Black plumes
from the smokestack linger in a trail
of so many choking, gagging clouds and disappear
in the remote northern lights.
Or an icebreaker setting sail to the end of the land,
surrounded by vast white and the constant wailing
of the wind. The sailors are in scarfs, wrapping
itching thoughts about their questionable direction
into the potential of being lost in ice and sea.
Or the Mary Celeste, drifting towards Gibraltar,
with a hold full of alcohol and seaworthy sails.
There is no captain, no logbook and no lifeboats,
food upon the table and hot tea in the cups.
Not a soul, not a struggle, not a sound.
A cynic is a disillusioned idealist.
I, like Sir Arthur Conan Dolye, took fictional liberty in describing the status of the food on the table on the Mary Celeste.
Do not go gentle into the years ahead,
through the white oak doors of age.
Knock no more on the looming door,
leave the moss and thistle be.
They are nature's smallest mercies,
the pillows and butterfly knives
of the wild. Leave time to sleep
and pick thorns from your fingertips,
sitting on the marble stair.
One day the door will creak open
up and sigh. Cut your hand
and trace your palm across
the jagged splinters. Whistle a song
and walk through.
A gulag song to the swinging
of picks and men's greasy beards
breaks out over the hill at dawn.
A driving hammer and the smashing
of stones on steel brings the dread
of another performance upstage
in front of a warden audience,
waiting to cast criticism.
One by one, the actors play their part-
running away from the barbed fence
to the shifting treeline,
others feigning a wince
at the cracking of the guns.
These actors have commitment,
sweating and crying through the acts
long and cold as they are.
Were it not for the drawing
of the runaway's curtain,
who would think to reason
if these were men at all.
My father told me about a railroad trestle;
I've seen pictures of it-
all rusted, over the river
where the local boys would wallow
after a day sweltering
in the schoolhouse;
where the Baptists would go to sing,
hold snakes and submerge
each other in grace.
Lots of dares between the boys-
"Jump off!" "Bet you won't walk the tracks!"
Only boy that wouldn't-
my old man.
"Yellow-belly go home!"
they'd yell when he'd sit on the mud bank
and watch the smoke above the trees.
Told me "I just wanted to see
where the trains went-
Everyone else liked the trestle
when they could go swimming."
"The trains shook the earth
when they left.
I wanted to do that."
in a world where the world ends
at the end of the block,
carnivores watch and stare
when i skin my knee jumping
the white picket fence
into mr. mcgregor's garden.
the bite and sting dribble
down my calf, pooling
on my dirt covered sandals
with the holes and broken seams.
i look back past the old levee road;
a fen fox bounds over the ridge
and squeezes through the fence posts,
licks its snout,
and sneaks under the briar patch.
in mr. mcgregor’s garden,
tomatoes sag heavy on the vine
and potatoes weave
with the atropa creeping,
trespassing around the hedge.
i walk over the tough roots,
and wander to the thought;
under the old earth buried
deep as marrow,
a rabbit rises from its rest,
twitches its nose and runs out of the dark.
the howl and gnashing of teeth hit my gut
before it hits my eyes. the fox sinks deep
into hair and blood, like thread being cut.
I learn that rabbits scream when they die.
Mr. McGregor is yelling and I hear the backdoor slam.
I jump the fence, run home and lock my door.
Laying on my bed, crossing my wrists above my head,
I worry what the cranky farmer will do with the body.
First get accustomed to background music. Not smooth jazz or pop; concertos, motifs. They'll help you deal with the inevitable awkward silence you'll get amongst other people when you drift out of focus after a spell over dinner. Look up composers on YouTube or Wikipedia and waste an hour and a half you should have spent doing homework. They're all mostly dead, so you'll need to play close attention or they'll just fall to the wayside. Memorize the names and characteristics of classical movements. Decide on a favorite and fall in love with noises you don’t understand because the articles you read were too technical.
Buy more books than you'll ever have time to finish. Get excited about generative grammar and ignore the maternal voice in your head telling you that you're being wasteful and childish with your spending spree. You know you haven't read half of them half way through. Ignore it and put all of the dog-eared books in a towering pile by the chess game in progress. Stare at the knight and remember that you're quite average at the game. No one else you know plays so it is not of any consequence. Move your pawn to E7. Checkmate. “The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” White has the statistical advantage over black; you were meant to win.
Sit naked in an empty room after a shower for a while. It's okay, you can't show your skin anywhere else and you gotta let it breathe. Don't pay attention to the untrimmed pubic hair; it's your body, you might as well enjoy it. Keep that lion's mane away from the others; they won't take kindly to the feral animal though.
When you talk with people, let them speak first so your vocabulary can adjust. Intemerate has no place in a fraternity living room, which is lucky because the girls with soft hands and thighs are too drunk to pay polite- formal really, their parents taught them that it was a formality- attention to you. Sip your whiskey creation from a red plastic cup. You are not Hemingway; do not forget that for a moment. Play Symphony No. 5 in C Major in your head. It’s emancipatory, it’s victorious. Smile when the invasion motif begins; remember it was about the German invasion of Russia and that twenty five million people died. Stop smiling. There are pairs of people on couches; you give them the privacy they deserve because that is part of the value system you have made. Tell your friend “the fair sex is your department.” Laugh at deterministic arguments while other people feel each other up. Let the electric wasp swarm buzz around and deny jealousy or patriarchy. Breathe. Get up and leave. The cold will make your eyes water.
You should set an alarm early so your favorite spot at the diner down the road won’t be taken. Order coffee black, eggs over easy and wheat toast slightly burnt. Take up space at the bar.
Consider writing a play. It should be about fire escapes and blue collar workers. Whitman would be proud. Watch three classics but don't finish any of them. Drop the titles in conversation; no one you know has seen them. Drop the conversation. Watch people continue. Filter out the hundred voices in your head and around your table. Focus on the speaker, make eye contact; people like it when you keep eye contact and nod occasionally.
Pull the blankets over your head when you sleep. Dream of sex and other fantastical things. Good night and good luck.
You'll notice I titled this. It was against my will, but fuck, it's a deterministic world out there some days.
man i wish
people had an etch-a-sketch heart
cause then i'd jump for joy
and wouldn't feel bad
when i played with a girl's nipples
there is a Her there is a hurry
there is a bayonet rule minuet written
there is death in immortality
lets get this thing fuckin' ugly as shit
cover it in swan meat and screaming damnation
o! the dead weight of lonely hearts
let it sleep
i feared jesus till i was sixteen
i don't wanna stay up past my bedtime
i know what it does
hot magic brothers teach
with baseballs and dirt angels
it took a while to find
hiding in the kudzo
only came out when folks slept
had to use a flashlight, running through the woods
put it in a mason jar when i got it
didn't know what to do
just sat and looked for a while
took it home, hide it in my underwear drawer
right next to the unopened pack of condoms
i'd give it to him- the last Puritan in the house-
the mason jar-
let the kid learn
Gaia does not know this thing called hope-
The Great God Bird, feathered,
clawed and chirping will not be found
in the laurel hides
of dripping moss and cyprus mangroves.
In the festering bayous,
the honey and cream, blood red jam
of uncertain shining prophecy
makes no frenzied thrashing
in the sitting wooden hue
and the silent moonlight
struggles in the canopy morass.
Gaia knows these waterways,
their every twisting branch,
her backwater children of the mud-
but this Great God Bird
is a smokestack black she's never seen.
A lark uncaged is a thing of joy
when a life of rot and fester
is all it knows.
The tune it sings is not for me
or any liberator we shall know,
but instead for light and flight
are the notes so sweetly sung.
In the dimming echos of the song,
listen quiet and hear lamenting
for those who do not know the air.
-the ghost still haunts
waiting for lambs and goats
a knife dance to the tune of drums
it is knowing it is sniffing
for what it is owed
pale moonrise breasts
hips lips teeth
the ghost still haunts
does not want sleep
there is electricity to take
I really should get some intimacy back in my life.
mind off your wife and cat
put the gun away
put the drink away
put the typewriter away
the snakes and mysterious slither through the dead leaves
to underground voices
in the bruise colored soil the days to come
will be... no air no light no shade
i decided to improve the day with some light arson
it was brown and grey shining through the trees of railroad country
and my breath forgetting its place and finding no reason to stay
sulked off as i walked the 15 minutes through the wood
past the rusted chain link fence that wavered and shook
a thousand tin whistles in the timber
i bundled up small sticks and leaves
put them in a pile and strike flint
fireflies and moths keep me company please
enjoy the light and dark i made for you
the window, frosted and howling
(though it is not alive, one can be sure
it values the power placed on the latch)
to whom? No one is certain.
to the children noses in books
and minds with geese
to the dog gaunt with mange
wandering the gutter
No thank you, it snapped
Out, out! through a nowheresville of pines
to a beckoning sea of golden lines,
beneath sunny sky and dancing cloud
are waves of wheat gracefully bowed.
Go down the path and make your way,
past and through lofty isles of hay-
there are many twisted miles to the road,
come talk with me and drop your load!
Relax your weary, calloused sole;
I'll do my best to make you whole.
In this place you'll fear no more,
past my worn screen door-
I'll see to it you're not scared,
your burden lifted, shared.
Horror has a face-
it freed from this place!
Please, lazily ease onto the swing,
the front porch's wooden wing,
and worry not about butcher's hands-
I swear my dear these are peaceful lands.
Come close and I'll hold you tight
as we sway in the season's night.