Plain American Language

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

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Untitled (for now)

There's a wisdom tooth crowning
in an odd place
in my mouth. Tonguing it,
it's the sting of smog
picking at my throat
and the heaviness of language
beginning to root,
new branches splitting
my mouth open.
I'm not ready. It's winter,

and the middle at that,
so my English clamors
to make sentences,
thoughts, anything to battle
the on-coming spring.

I pluck a leaf from my eye:
both green and brown,
somewhere in-between seasons.
There should be no such thing
as an elegy for a language.

Relearning Spanish

The initial shock is immense:
noise, familiar noise,
like the crackling of a soup
you haven't tasted in months.

Everyone speaks so fast,
and so did you. So you so try
but cough up wool instead.
What you remember

are the ups & downs
of language, the slow curves
of sadness, excitement, that
mixture of both. Your head explodes

with them, and generally explodes.
It is the exactness of words you can't remember:
words for the quiet pleasure of friendship,
for instance, or a kiss hello on the cheek.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Untitled, In Bed, August

I try and think of the last time
I held on to love. I roll over.
My back cracks.
It is suburban night and
a small inkling of skunk
is seeping through the window.
I drove in the snow
in mid-February and almost
died on the icy highway.
A truck skidded; so did I.
This was on my way to New Hampshire
and I clung to her like
the steering wheel when
I finally got there. The air
conditioning feels good now,
though it's certainly no lullaby.
Under my thick blanket
I must think of thick blankets.
That's the only way to sleep:
in the down of thoughts
lying under the comforter.

Moving Away (probably the most TMI poem I've written)

Moving's begun to upset my stomach.
So I find myself in the bathroom

trying to shit out my fears.
I spend too much time in there,

dawdling, trying to muster up
the strength to get rid of this rumbling pain.
When I finish, it's no different:
wiping and wiping, I find
a bit of blood, as if my body
need remind me
that moving hurts.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Double Fugue

Today, in an oversized, white shaggy coat
she sits and reads her Shakespeare,
and slowly her sleeve drops.
Oh, all day it’s winter, but still, a shoulder

smooth as anything. Very suddenly,
I think of death. This is later,
after Shakespeare, after her.
Still, I think of death
and death is a body. A shoulder,

bare and oblivious to the world,
it brags & gleams, smooth.
Death’s sleeve slowly drops.
She sits and reads inside
an oversized, shaggy coat.

It is mid-January; the old and new deaths
of family loom over me still.
In an oversized coat, I sit
inside. I think how beauty is a body,
and death a winter like today.

Note: after a long, hard battle, I think this is finally done.