Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Death (repetitions? bad?)

This is not funny. Not
like that time Scott laughed
which made Janet laugh--
I mistook "Oh my ribs!"
for "Oh my ass!" doubled over,
out of breath, a laughing fish.
Doug practically turned blue
in all that silliness.

It's not like when Tina threw candy
at the cheerleaders. Or how my dogs
bowl me over sometimes,
lick me as if bits of food are
all over my face. My parenst laugh,
and I am busy getting them off,
trying to recover. This isn't funny.

This isn't funny at all.

Elegy for Cousin Steve (waaay revised)

After I hung up the phone,
the fact that you died
didn't register. Only
the way my brother said it.
Suddenly it sank in
that all of my family,
all of yours, watched you go.
And I was in Chile.
Now that I'm back,
I'm furious that all I have left
are vague, but warm impressions:
your large, friendly body;
your compass-like smile;
laugh like a big, brass instrument.
All these ghosts and
not even a wink of you.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring Longing

April 19th: it is finally spring
-- we are sitting at the border
of the tree-branch shadow's longing
to move in time with the wind.


At the old gravesite of my mother's grandfather
in Brookline, Massachusetts,
the thump of dirt
dropping on the lowered casket
shudders in my ear,
the burials of my great uncle and aunt,
my hand gripping the shovel.
I'll never know what I've lost.

Untitled (needs a new title & some work on line breaks, sugestions?)

Love, when I think of you,
a taste of bad rhubarb molts in my mouth
and moves
upward into my eye,
an almond of loneliness

It's when I look for lost thing
that I always find you
[tabbed here]There you are,
in the cupboard
in my pocket
under the vase...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A History of Pain (scrap the last line?)

Late in the afternoon, I played through the pain.
A molto allegro Mozart aria, the accompaniment.
Suddenly, I felt a break. My grandpa
called mom a bitch. I always thought
it was my fault, though; me and my stupid Nautica
bathing suit. Physical therapy, neurologists;
all this frustration pent up so long,
it hurt so bad. I’ve always eaten apples
meticulously, and chomp off the stem and flower,
like my grandpa. I feel guilty. There’s
no reason why I shouldn’t be frustrated,
mad at the world, and myself. He hated it,
the bathing suit, so I thought the fight
started because of me.

I hear more stories of my grandparents now:
how awful they were. Sometimes I wake up hurting:
a new variation of repeated pain.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

After Stanzas, Sexes, Seductions by Anne Carson

It is good to be neuter.
What's between your legs
is of no consequence.
Absolute void.
Like death.

Although I do want you,
don't get me wrong;
to hold fast to you,
even in vain; like
tide waves reaching up cliffs.

I write poems about myself
too often. I'd rather be Not.
It all goes away, afterwards.
I wanted to be touchable,
like a lover.

Isn't it time we see ourselves
as essentially silly
objects? Silly as sex,
which is enjoyable, and death,
which is not.

I love your arms--
so smooth & strong.
Will you pick me up,
carry me away
in the face of death?

Oh how like a dancer
you are! Rocking slow
to my eyes, because
everything is going--"little
spin, little drunk, little do, little oh, alas."

Monday, April 9, 2007

Evening Questions

The swath of light climbs up the skyscraper
Around the corners of white prisms and spikes.
The inside torso stands up in a plug of gun-metal.
The shadow struggles to get loose from the light.
Shall I say I'm through and it's no use?
Or have I got another good fight in me?

-- Carl Sandburg

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Open Air

On days like today, I
Open up like a vulnerable fist.

In Dupont, just across the way,
The dandelion weeds
Drive upward into the air.
Little yellow things, so easily
Stepped on. The wind is cool,
And a pigeon flies over my head.

On days like today, I
Close myself, all five fingers,
Every petal, and return to the earth.

Vacancy (need some help on this one)

I have a barrel in me.
I have a barrel
in me & it's
so goddamn

it's an empty
unseasonably quiet
space to be filled.