Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

When acid reflux pain reaches your scalp,
you know you are somewhat alone.
Otherwise non-pugilistic locations
have become war zones, follicle by follicle.
My friends say “only you” and
“of course you”, “you would be the one
to have digestive difficulties in your head."

When I am sandwiched between strangers,
I feel too much. Literally, figuratively,
figures littering the floor with frank acceptance. 
Body parts press against body parts,
wishing themselves luck at delusional privacy attempts.

Between shoulders, necks, backs, breasts,
I find a sliver to peer through and see a letter.
I meditate on the "Y" of a poster,
imagine it is the option of three rivers,
or a person raising their arms to herald
something far too large for this train car to hold.

I am so smashed between bodies that I am floating,
floating so against my control that I am drowning.
I count the quantity of crises that aren’t occurring,
the piles of people who aren't passing out
or pulling out weapons or worse.

There is an expression about ripping out
one’s own hair out of frustration,
biting off one’s own nose
to spite one’s own face.
Self-inflicted injurious behavior
is a common form of tantrum
afflicting toddlers and grown-ass adults alike.

On the other hand, a woman applying makeup
to her face while sitting on a crowded train,
her surrounding space a veritable cubicle in comparison,
is a performance piece about bumps and stability,
voyeurism and dismissal, masks
and the breaking down of the fourth wall.

These are all aspects of going to my job,
the location of the work that pays
the money it takes to get on and off
day after day after day.
This is the way we ride
until we rise a different way.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thin Air

Thin Air

Allergic to magic and without hope for boredom,
I collage the place beyond where wings go.
Symbols never bite their tongues,
the window never just a window.
My mind is a nest.
Births and departures,
assemblage and impermanence.
I huddle with a team of twigs, listening
to the strokes of clock feathers.
To emerge sounds so slow.
Emergence.
Emerging.
And then
the emergency: the quick
tick tock and the disappearance of a leg
beneath a stocking of sky.
In my dream, I climb the periphery of a planet,
possess an impossible perspective.
Face against the ground,
I see the whole sphere.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Precisely

Precisely

Pre-set preferences are coming undone.
Presentations on how to give presentations
on examples of atrophy.
They echo, briefly, as they burn toward the sun.
Things are luxuriously quiet enough,
for a moment,
for a moment of sincere apathy.
You reflect on the telegram you never got to get.
A less insidious message,
not worthy of secret. You, briefly,
are thankful for the use of your thumbs.
Then you make note of the spacebar,
its waning usage, your regrets.
It seems stupid to say that something stupid is dumb,
when the volume is up louder than the planet hums.
Courting collision courses, quotes of the day.
Current vernacular writes its own approvals,
comments on itself, bearing its gums.
Umbrellas and blinders guide the way.
Here, some more
not so interesting facets of the sorry situation.
Strumming the song of bitter dregs,
melodious aggravation having its say.
The snow is laden with half-eaten notes,
obsolete headphones, too big for the future.
Things that are tiny beg for sutures to appear,
to swallow the computers that take up whole rooms.
You bundle up for the storm, pull up your hood.
I’ve always loved the smell of burning wood,
and it would pain me precisely.
And it pains me precisely that if I were cold enough, 
I would sacrifice a violin.
There is evidence pointing, 
predicting, no need for my hands.
And the need to stand only worthy of a spine,
binding turnable, burnable pages,
tasked not to bend.
Remember how you once stood,
applauding the orchestra,
now qualified as live.
What is the definition of survive?
If it is truly astounding, it is
undoubtedly the end.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Several Missed Calls

Several Missed Calls

You click and descend further
and you are offered assistance
in descending further,
and you are offered distractions
while parts of you are displaced.
It is so normal, like a monster car event.

Your friendliness feels
like a factor, but it isn’t.
You might not feel like an actor,
but you are.  And you are
good and awful.

Your hard drive is not interested
in pharmaceutical interventions
and your friends are not interested in you.
They are mesmerized by photographs of missiles
and they forget that they miss you.

Scopes are set on a maze
of dazed and hurrying heads.
Unlimited buttons prove problematic.
There is always something to make fun of.
Children try to tell you that they are more than
an unwritten email, more than
a blinking cursor awaiting instruction.
But patterns form quickly
and they are aesthetically pleasing.

Please. Please do not contort yourself
in order to respond.
Please do not post that you are grouchy about
being nailed to it.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recapitulation

Recapitulation

It was this exact temperature,
this exact dimness, illumination
the last time.
And this exact wind speed,
this exact degree of fahrenheit
smears its signature in my face,
blurring my current vantage point.
It points at an old me.
Over and over again,
so it is never over.
I keep hearing that line about the penitent man:
Only the penitent man will pass.
The penitent man.
The penitent man.
His parched lips repeat the phrase,
the letter P punching
its way out of his mouth,
the cool air revealing each pronouncement,
making his effort visible.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Long List

A Long List

I.
Fingers covered in ink
are road signs,
attached to our own hands,
burrowed in winter pockets.
There is a long list of celestial phenomena
I want to see. 
Some comfort can be found in a copy
if it is the only option.
It is helpful if it has no public caption.
I will draw in the sand
what I want to remember
if I find myself stranded without.
The imagination is an attached contortionist. 
I will look at the drawing and allow
acceptance
and say This is the something that I have here.
I have a long list of marketable skills,
but the business I want to go into with myself
requires the actual sky, not published strangulation.
Sometimes people submit to themselves
and they are not accepted for publication.
Sometimes people punish themselves
and accept it.

II.
The public has a long list.
Fingers draw themselves a celestial caption.
But sometimes people require covered phenomena.
This is actual ink,
and see, I want in the sky what I want.
Look, I will say, I am helpful.  I remember myself.
This is the option I go to.
Comfort is a borrowed copy I find,
a burrowed road sign in some sand,
something that is here.
If my contortionist skills are stranded
they punish me,
and go by themselves in the winter publication.
Published hands, imagination,
long lists, the business of pockets and acceptance.
Attached people are marketable.
They want themselves
to submit, allow
strangulation.

III.
To be burrowed is a winter acceptance,
a punished contortionist.
To borrow is no comfort to the imagination.
This is the long list I remember.
I say a road sign is ink
and it is something actual, public.
It is strangulation business.
Marketable is not what I want.
The sky is a long list, helpful.
Sometimes. If I look. I find.
They publish a copy of sand,
see only themselves.
Fingers require celestial skills
to caption phenomena, 
but they are attached, stranded here.
I do not submit for publication the option of drawing myself.



Monday, November 18, 2013

We Are Right Beneath Our Feet

We Are Right Beneath Our Feet

We can't help but turn
every time we hear it.
The garbled voice of a huge understatement
submerged in a puddle on the street,
gasping for breath as we continue our pace,
the persistent cause of those looks on our faces.

And you, son of the sidewalk,
caress of iron,
sacred disguised as lowly,
shoot me
a look, a fast hit
as we continue past it.
And I, daughter of dilapidated miracles,
shoot you, too.
This is what we do,
psychic hand holds,
never walking slowly,
but taking in everything,
glancing with intensity,
dancing the dance of silent immensity.

Barely discernable
twitch of an eyebrow, I know
you are really screaming.
Cerulean windows widen
the thinnest width, I discern
a strand of fur from the coat of a lynx,
the distance between A and Z
bent into oblivion,
folded to meet.

There, those lines forming
above the bridge of my nose,
asymmetry programmed
into my genetic code.
Each time they appear,
the slanted syllables pronounced,
you know if their origin
is the sun or concern
or concentration on concrete.

Psychic arm entanglement,
our links are time and ink.
Sometimes our grip slips,
and lines get smeared by sleepy palms.
Sometimes we fall up the stares we've drawn,
glare at the ground with a cross look.
We grab another sheet
and cover our heads with what we think.
But we know with acuity
the huge understatement
will never stop struggling,
will never be freed,
will never finally sink.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loss

Loss

Do you remember when we
walked past a fleet of sleeping trucks
and it seemed that we were a part
of a dream that the trucks were having?
I tried and failed to locate the moon,
unlike the millions of stars
we would never attempt to count,
unlike the prevalence of
inappropriately placed commas
we can’t help
but see everywhere.
But the moon --singular, large 
entity-- we wanted to see.
Why haven’t you written me?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Of All Tyrannies

Of All Tyrannies

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. - C.S. Lewis

The child in the photo is
all grown up,
minding her own business,
her own business being minded.
She minds.
Her mind still mostly her own
terrain,
her mind still mostly more
than just a brain.
She keeps her voice from leaving
too big a stain,
quietly releasing
utterances from veins.

Is she
unattended to
but by trespassers,
untracked
but by GPS,
unsupervised
but by the IRS?

In the future that they claim they claim
she will remain,
but not among them.
There is a plane
where a soul need not a brain
in any sense a human might name.

They tell her
she will evolve
and that her evolution
need not involve
her input,
and that her evolution
will revolve
like a string
tied around a finger
(powerful, prominent, pointer)
--but not as a reminder--
that her evolution
must be mandated
legislated,
monitored,
for her own good.

Why so taciturn,
while the planets spin
no thanks to human scripted policies?

They say the gap
between the train and the platform
is too far
to overcome,
though the one big step
is the size of a crumb.
They tell her
she will never depart
until her heart is torn apart
with more gratitude
than any birthday wish fulfilled
could ever provide.

Oh tyranny,
how sincerely
you are exercised
for our own good,
how sincerely
you execute
because we agree,
tacitly,
that you know best.

Oh tyranny,
she has already expressed gratitude
in another direction:
Heart stitched by light,
stitches of light
unachievable with hands,
unachievable with time, knowledge, age;
Unrippable stitches of light,
unrippable by hands,
unrippable by time, knowledge, age.

The light is lit
in remembrance of light,
always remembering
always remaining
bright.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Have Nothing

Poem created using overhead tidbits from this morning's commute:

I Have Nothing

Excuse me, but when you first walk in, it’s important.
You would have woken up dead.
I need to remember not to do that.
It was like, my body.
It’s the installation that’s expensive.
The smell and the dust and the cat hair.
We need to get another estimate.
But at least the fever broke.
No, not all the windows.
Just remember to call before you leave.
The stairs.
Which stairs?
Those stairs when you first walk in.
We haven’t even started yet and I’m already exhausted.
We don’t have anything tomorrow night, right?
Well I have nothing. How about you?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Re-membering

Re-membering

I will not put myself out of my misery.
Do not stop committing me
to memory.  It is not an institution!
I will not stop committing
you to memory.  It is not a crime!
You are as strong as my childhood
-I will only compare you to the pleasant parts-
spray paint perfume,
the comforting residue of art-making,
the savory burn of wood.  Wizardry
of the senses.  Memory,
are you ever senseless?
Should we not
go there?
Mere minutes ago and I want
to mingle again, linger
longer than language tries
to furnish a room that is empty
to the eye.  Mere
years, decades ago and if I want
to mingle, linger,
I can.  Memory
does not conjure.
It is re-creation. Memory,
your potency remains.
Your remains are re-membered.
And yes, okay,
its stitches are -admit it-
visible to more than the eye.
I am not a perfect craftsman.
Impossible.  But
Oh my God, the memory…
It still smells exactly the same.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This Was Never His Aspiration, But

This Was Never His Aspiration, But

I gain combat eyes.
He entails that I gain combat eyes.
This man has exceeded 
his expectations.
Dangerous overachievement.
It was never his aspiration to be seen as a threat.
And it's not that he lost a bet,
it's that no one handed him
instructions ardently, gently enough
about atomic paraphernalia,
how not to wear this much,
-it can not be withstood-
how not to shove bones 
into pavement stones,
in a manner that unadheres 
all footing, and removes
senses of security
in those around him,
those that surround him,
himself.  He surrendered
to himself.  He is fastened
to himself.  And whatever is fastened
is referred to as being
on one's person
only if a person is dead.
He is so very distant and right up in my face.
He has grown up to be a polluted planet
whose inhabitants have fled.
And he is desperate 
to be inhabited again.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Proofreading

Proofreading

I am counting on you for absolutely nothing,
nothing absolute, including disappointment.
There is nothing sketchy about my dog,
but even she can't clear all the cobwebs,
even with the refined claws of her humming eyes.
This is all another way of saying that I dreamt
I was brawling with my only sibling
and my life was printed in multiple forms,
all uniquely inadequate,
all unproofed, unproven.
With no chance to improve the wording,
will you love the last lines?

Understandable

Understandable

Have I believed everything I can?
I should have brought a sweatshirt to this dream.
You changed your outgoing message
to inform anyone seeking you that you need
some rest, some respite, please, thank you.
But you were glad I drove to you.
You said I wasn't encroaching
like responsibilities. It was cold
and we both needed an extra layer.
The changing light is constant.
The sleep is disturbed,
but it is so puzzling to say no thank you.
I won't say it.
Even when there is good reason to hide.
Even though I feel far.
Not from anything.
From something specific.
There is nothing I can delete,
least of all the memory of believing that
which I no longer believe.
I re-read to remember
the reason for the new poem,
so that the reason remains
in the present. Intense,
but not tense.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Refraction

Refraction

Here he comes
babbling about
beautiful, beautiful
shades of a world
bounced off the sheen
of a vitreous queen
who guides his pack
with a crinkled, runny map,
roads dripping off the edges
into her lap
and he laps it up,
digests the messy
circumnavigation
of a rejected sun.

For Free

For Free

I see the giveaway girl
in her skin suit
seeking a salve
for the itch
like 100% of people
who have a wish list
and at the top
to be home
and for the future
to not be a straightjacket
like one member of every family
predicts
and chops off limbs
to fulfill
the prophecy
about the hell
they do not believe in.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Poem for 2013


A Poem for 2013

In the joke, one old man says,
We could only dream of having (fill in the blank).
And the other old man says,
You could dream?

I could just scream.
I wish.
They supercede and serve me
a superior scream
via a satellite dish.

The sounds we choose
as alarms to inform us
that one is thinking of the other
introduce a bitter excitement
into our blood flow,
announce the arrival of an offer
to extend a palm to a face
in vain, and replace
the ability to be embraced
by a person out of reach
with the reality
of our own hands
squeezing a device, resembling
in spirit a chocolate gun,
dangerous in its dulcetness
and unnaturally resisting
melting beneath the sun.

But when we seek we find
enough unhooked corners,
rough and able to sustain
a constant cremation
of digital strangle,
of wired hands,
tough and able to refrain
from forgetting
the lack of anachronism
found inside our glands.

I would so much rather
the physical strife.
I hold on to my blood
for dear life.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Dark Side

The Dark Side

Residual raindrops
on the windows of the train
diagonally fall in relation
to my soles,
meteoroids
seen through a viewing screen
from an impossible perspective.
The particular one
I’ve been keeping my eye on
suddenly stops,
a sentence mid-thought,
jittery,
halted in hesitance.
Perhaps the rest of the phrase
should not be
uttered.
I avoid eye contact with
the man on the other side
with respectful unfocus.
I look past him, through him,
feeding
spaces that do not fill,
but expand.
The reflection
of the backs of heads
are the only evident
life forms in the universe.
The backs of heads are turned
 to half of creation,
who wonder why
they have been forsaken,
not realizing that instead
they can simply choose
to circumnavigate

and find faces.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thrust


Thrust

From a distance, the man
digging in the garbage can
looked like a couple kissing,
which made me
start.
Proximity revealed that my heart
should have had different reasons
for what it felt.  Knowledge
is a building squeezed into the neck
of a wine glass, forced
by perspective.  The stem is
a whole city block, captured
for the sake of something
called beauty, and I know
people will like it almost
as much as their dinners,
which they share with hundreds
who never taste a bite.
We are all sinners.
The woman, Oh God, poor woman,
who smiles on the train (unreasonably,
the whole ride, eyes wide, and teeth)
must be on drugs or ought to be.
Her grin makes us tense.
The imperfect present,
the future progressive.
When I get home, the bug
I find on the window sill
is not up to mischief, but I
don’t trust it.  I
open the window and I
thrust it away.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It Will Last Longer


It Will Last Longer

Why am I trying to get it?
Why the dream contained feral cats
multiplying and blurring
on the dull ground
beneath graffiti of a king cat.
Why shortly before this
I was able to fly for the few
necessary seconds, just enough
to pass through
the slender window above the closing door
as the oafish threat came heavily running.
Thump.  Thump.  Thump.
There were no flapping arms,
just a slow bullet me
arriving somewhere safer, hopefully,
a good enough head start gained?
And here I am in a concrete cave
without concrete analysis,
feral cats multiplying and blurring
beneath a graffiti cat king,
and I take out my phone
to take a picture.