Wednesday, December 21, 2011
crashed into the sea: come out the sky to drown
so many bodies in the blackgreen
Shoes, ineffably, flew into the air,
legs and arms and things untellable
on impact. I cracked ribs and coughed blood
with throwing up, bent over
against a park bench
in a pink vaporous evening's end.
Rat-ah-tat went my teeth
at the rail. I imagined your face
in a window pressed
against the heavy glass,
peanuts still salty
in your mouth, and I thought
how life barely fits
in those little plastic cups.
The sun came up to prove against
I woke with your nibbling
and was glad to know you again.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
to the republic.
The Third World
swirls beneath the stumps
where once were my ankles.
Mine is a cash register
holiday, following the decorum
of the sanitarium, of the moments
next to John.
John? Come in John.
How are you.
Sing some more
to me now, sing ever. Register
with bridgeless jumpers and
leave the drinkers.
I need you here.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Scatter not the ravens and the craven
jaw-drop bridges, the ilk of the flavors
that make up my black skillet cornbread day.
Pittance my earlobes and raise up
the long-drowned Piltdown kite.
Say! I have found a nice brownstone beach,
floored with the two or three michelangelo
squeaks, which I found in the grotto with
them women! they won't to; they won't fro,
though Elliot threaten to fuck them so.
Friday, September 9, 2011
For the long slow funeral
made of corn
and rimmed with broccoli
coming up at full-tilt,
Strands of wheat
in hot, vacant wind
turn the earth's teeth
into a roaring, boiling greeting.
from the plane--your father, his binoculars,
his victory cigar--and hope upon hope
like a coat hanger's hooked your collar,
halted above the wide mouth of stones, alone
in the free air
above the much-spattered ground.
you scream for a full stop,
and you look:
you can see your whole world, your mama
up there, waving.
The sea wheat is waving, too.
The view is good
but your ears are bursting open
and your chute,
the one you hoped would catch you
is already out
already failing, painted
by the blood from your ears.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
and 18 rainbow-covered pandas
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
in all your hopes: I will not touch the stuff
Tomorrow I will arise and fry eggs.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
for you the students,
Friday, May 20, 2011
and the end of picnic, which
you missed. Thank God. Here’s red rain,
red rain. Sally’s being a bitch—
surprised? Johnny say he’s in stitches,
she so funny. She so gurgle, plarp,
she gutter. Johnny get knife, swing for fences,
hit homerun. Oh God. Can you help?
Blood on my corndog. Blood in my cup.
We not got fun. Dick and Jane,
no, not here. Sally, all fucked up
and lips not here. Sally in real pain.
We need revenge, so let’s get Johnny,
he ain’t patient & his jokes ain’t funny.
and enlighten. But fuck me
if I've ever enlightened myself
much less anyone else.
All my best poems make less
and more sense than the others.
You could watch panda porn
and you'd be all the better for it--
and you probably will.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I broke into quiet tears after
reading the Inquisitor's poem come to an end:
Ivan turning on his low-slung
right shoulder, pivoting
on a fractured limb,
twirling on the severed
bloody stub of its wing,
blasted by a wounded little boy.
there's your money, THERE'S YOUR MONEY
I wish I could dissolve with you.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
all the angles of my swordy love
to vanish in the abscess
of the wound which is my country,
my country, my country, my country
spangled like an eighteenth
century street lamp with an amber
purple glow; fragile glass;
a tea light; a flamethrower
dying to die out or start a housefire.
Park, shitting on every bench,
and homeless people,
folks of the world with
pork and beans in their cans,
no fork, no spoon. Arrange
the call of a Canadian Loon.
Make it sad when it rains,
dear Father in Heaven,
so that I will be properly
prepared to feel bad,
'specially when and if
you don't come so soon.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The times I have most considered murder:
or rather, the time this evening:
When two girls who've not lost their cherries
speak with lilts of voice,
talk loudly in the library about the U.N.
as if it were a nice GAP location or
possibly even a Hollister; all this
whilst I try to calculate simple interest,
compound interest, or anything else
like Eulirization, the paths of Hamiltonians;
yes, that is when I grip my pencil tightly
as if it were a knife, and consider
the lives of these two bitches:
consider, grip, and shove the pencil
deep into the folds of my book,
pick up my bag and go to the other end
of the library, still an innocent man.
And I think of you, dear reader,
reading where I wrote "pencil"
and inserting "penis"; and I will say this,
which you probably won't think fair,
but I don't care much for you, either. so
Fuck off! Be quiet! It's a library for God's sake,
and I'm not a fan of Freud or Oedipus.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
you who for the common good go on dying
for the whole world, like Christ on the cross.
And you get your own bleached-bone crosses,
you boys and girls, who, armed,
seldom are unharmed in the crossing
from Hell to home.
Alone you came into this world,
alone you go. Baghdad, Fallujah,
a surge of dead burkas
washing up on yellow, sandy city shores:
they sang to some of you--
the burkas, the tunics, the animals.
Back home they made it a circus,
the whole war, and the sands of Iwo Jima
these weren't: these sands not Normandy,
not Omaha: the Nazis few and far
between instead of thick and thicker
on the dunes. Here every shepherd's flock
is a terrorist; Christ, Christ, Christ.
The sands of Japan suffered, too,
die on. You listen because you must listen,
ordered by Barnham and sons and
even his rivals, the lesser evils
too old to shoot a rifle.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
pictures of strange stick figures who got blown up.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
cracked crates and smashed pears
are all I think about. Rid of them.
An apple epidemic, I'd said before,
would be unethical
at the very best
and a way to get worms inside physicians everywhere
at the very worst. I thrown all of them out. Am rid them.
Farmers continue fitfully to exist;
they grow great sadness on stalks
and mutated salt-licks.
you say, profanely, I maunder:
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I crawl to the edge of my bed
and glance down with some
displeasure at my flabby belly,
my cavity-colored teeth
I smile at the bruise on my neck, the Parthenon
of creased sullied & wrinkled sheets
drunk with the smell of you last night.
and our year wears itself well, will become years
and rest in the repose of years with mornings
that are not this morning. This wake,
this vigil is a ritual I've repeated
many times, a sacrament
of last night's beer and a desire to let work slide,
a craving for Jim Morrison's Other Side.
In my bathroom, the mirror sucks.
Ain't exactly a bevy of complements.
Naked in the window of my living room
on this side of my third-floor glass
I think of you, of slapping
your pretty ass. Soon, you'll slap mine.
make their way, nowhere, fast.
is listening to you sing. The morning moves
Well, that covers scholarship. How about teaching? Does teaching only get in the way of your work as a poet?
It depends on the kind of teaching you do. If you teach creative writing, you get absolutely nothing out of it. Or English—what are you teaching? People you read twenty years ago. Maybe you pick up a little if you keep on preparing, but very few people keep on preparing. Everybody is lazy, and poets, in addition to being lazy, have another activity which is very demanding, so they tend to slight their teaching. But I give courses in the history of civilization, and when I first began teaching here I nearly went crazy. I was teaching Christian origins and the Middle Ages, and I had certain weak spots. I was OK with The Divine Comedyand certain other things, but I had an awful time of it. I worked it out once, and it took me nine hours to prepare a fifty-minute lecture. I have learned much more from giving these lecture courses than I ever learned at Columbia or Cambridge. It has forced me out into areas where I wouldn't otherwise have been, and since I am a scholar, these things are connected. I make myself acquainted with the scholarship.
Suppose I'm lecturing on Augustine. My Latin is very rusty, but I'll pay a certain amount of attention to the Latin text in the Loeb edition, with the English across the page. Then I'll visit the library and consult five or six old and recent works on St. Augustine, who is a particular interest of mine, anyway. Now all that becomes part of your equipment for poetry, even for lyric poetry. The Bradstreet poem is a very learned poem. There is a lot of theology in it, there is a lot of theology in The Dream Songs. Anything is useful to a poet. Take observation of nature, of which I have absolutely none. It makes possible a world of moral observation for Frost or Hopkins. So scholarship and teaching are directly useful to my activity as a writer.
(This interview, done by Peter A. Stitt, appeared in the winter 1972 issue of The Paris Review, which can be read here.)
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
is not as glamorous as they (the poets) thought (it)you was,
not as funny as
sitting in the middle of the road despite the approaching car
may be, Jetta though it is, haha-ing as a speeding train,
not even as effective as your going guts over brains
over barbed wire over depleted phone access
to friends and friend and ladyfriend you couldn't have
last winter, or previous winter, allwinters
exist in a contiguous line
of damning anti-poetry, not as infinite
as answering machines may be
when you are as sorry for yourself as
you are now, a dream in a loop
about doing maths, eating pi
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
alone in a wheat field--
and I think of my father,
turning alone and cold,
colder, in his bed.
And I think of his father,
in his armchair,
thinking of the words he's said
and not said.
When I descend amongst the dirt
down with the roots
I want to ask him and him
what is this mark they've left in me.
And why this wound, why
this pain that turns over
and over in me, flipping and churning
in my depths like a lost anchor
in the deep dark fathoms of the sea.
Why this long sentence
that links me, chains me
to this certain authority:
"You will go down without vengeance,
to the roots and the bones
and see nothing but the torn up
things inside you:
the truth of what you're made of
will tear you apart."
And the wound leaks out onto my shirt,
a thick crimson winnowing substance;
and finally there's the pain, and there's the hurt,
probing, throbbing, stuck in my throat.
All my words become glottal stops,
The dream goes on, my fathers singing:
picking the body of a locust's
skin off the body of a tree? How I thought
it was a dinosaur
when you showed it to me, so sinister
and delicate? The clay-colored
crackle when I crushed the leftover skin
between my fingers?
Do you remember this?
I laughed, and wished it
Sin felt so simple then,
hanging on to the edge
of a post-oak's gray bark.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
haze makes the ship canal seem
illuminated from below.
Birds perched in branches overhead
shit in the water,
sleep, and pause
to consider the rest of the journey north
instead of the wounds still bleeding -
blasted by the barrels of
farmer's rifles, shotguns, whatever they had around to shoot.
They never knew each other.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
go from the binding
of the book that
I am holding, myself
becomes what I see,
and I see what I
think of - tearing
from the binding of
the arms that used
to hold me, I entered
a world falling
that fell away from
the sanitary walls
of certain sanities.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
This friendly fire's not friendly at all:
I burn and embody a ghost in your (soon
and even the small:
look how I shiver under the weight
of my own anger, of my own wind:
and certainly conquering the least of these
in the fire, and under the fall;
I backpedal there, sometimes even achieve
a neurotica of neurosis. And you the reader,
believe behind all these parts there is
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
to fit my poetry
I continue finding this querulous fact:
I know nothing: absolutely nothing
about form. Nothing at all.
They say form should fit content, but usually
I'm content when my ham & eggs fit
within the skillet in which I cook them,
but don't much want to taste the skillet.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
in inexorable Wal-Mart-land.
Knew I was in for a real treat
as I flew from Bentonville
to Denver to Sea-Tac,
mostly motionless in the
great steel bird of modern hoorayism,
that travelers on their way to make
and because of money use;
oh inexorable relentless
I'm gonna miss you.
the winter night settles into the black sand
as I think of theft. Different thefts. I, having never taken
still see things in the dark.
(Thieves that I'm thinking of) they persist the things
in the twirling unseen stars. These are still city stars.
Not stars, here.
I am in the dark, outside the city.
The three black plastic buttons
of my coat lock
me in for the night,
and are not enough.
if I'd done worse you'd have known
No stars here
around the fire, where
you've got to touch the flames to feel them