Plain American Language

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

Friday, August 31, 2007

interesting essay...

"Indeed, what Gizzi's juxtapositions of U.S. and foreign portfolios suggest is that the attention to the materiality of language, to syntactic disjunction and visual constellation, so central to the language poetries in Messerli and Hoover's anthologies, and especially the attention to the reconfiguration of lyric as speaking, once again, not only for the "sensitive" and "authentic" individual ("Here's what I, Mary Smith, realized yesterday, as I was weeding the garden") but for the larger cultural and philosophical moment--that all these are now characteristic of poetries produced around the globe."

check this out

Nature Poem

A crunch sets the world
on fire, that is,
a pause, breath,
breath, cold and now colder
a tiny droplet of fear.
Deer lift their head
measure how far
their ears perk up
and if its not much
go back to eating
and warming
the earth with compost. But
what if another snap
snaps? What if
turning your head was
a mistake? The
world grows
with funghi-like precision
in the meantime--
a blink, another,
and spores land
into the palm
of the earth.

Two poems of same idea...don't know if either are particularly good...on teaching english

I stiffen up when I teach,
the honest truth.

The kids are alright sometimes
but some

just look at me like a mushroom
plastered to an old stump.

Oh I want to eat them
spit them out and yell, implore them

Ask me questions
don't bat your eyelashes shut

we are not caskets
we get buried in our things

but rise out, asking why.
Don't we? I want to break out

of my body, sit
in the back of the room,

a forest of heads,
and dive

inside their black-brown hair--
just have to remove the bark

& pick out the beetles
and grubs.


I wanted to step out of my body
and walk to the back
of the room and shake them,
tears running down
all hundred some-odd smile muscles
and tell them to speak English,

or, instead, do the same
and simply dive into their black-
brown hair, jungles like themselves
and pick out grubs
of understanding and feed them
enough, enough

to walk into my drooping
skin again. That's what I want for them:
a handsome diet
and delicious new skin.

In the Bathroom, Looking into the Mirror

Without a thought in my head
my penis grows and shrinks
at inches.

(Not always for vanity's sake
but out of sheer surprise at what it does
we all love to watch our bodies
& are proud of at least one feature)

And when I wipe my ass
it tucks itself inward, embarrassed,
wanting so badly to rejoin the body.
Which is curious and makes sense.
Every day, all it does is expel,
protrude, interrupt. We are allowed
to be shy about ourselves, a bit ashamed
of our purpose, but when touch
is involved, we shrink easily
into the

I'm tired of my day,

touch me and let me creep inside
the heat you so lovingly give.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Yiddish

This isn't particularly poetry related, though it's incredibly tied into language, which I love. Especially language of my own pipples, the yidden, the Jews. This is about Yiddish from an author's perspective.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This is Hilarious

From the The

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I don't know what to call this one....

I have a sprained ankle
and for some odd reason
old-timey jazz/swing is playing
on a loudspeaker nearby.
It's the end of winter in Santiago;
the sun feels nice; I'm waiting
for the taxi service to take me to school.

It's awful:
I hop around like a backwards kangaroo,
as if I were trick-biking
with no bike: one, two, hop.
Where am I going with this?
I'm as directionless as I am
with this sprained ankle.

The pressure of the cast
makes a strange combination
with the tinny music, old horns
scratched by record needles
and time in tandem with the throbbing,
a tango now:
one, two, hop-hop-hop.

New Poet Laureate

We got a new poet laureate, ladies and gents. Charles Simic. Check him out, here. Some of his poetry is in that same site. Check him out.

Something to consider: he's from Yugoslavia, born there, then came here when he was 15. Moved outta here during WWII. Is he American? Does he deserve to be the Poet Laureate? personally, i say yes and yes.

This is what the man has to say bout American poetry, which I find interesting and very true and fun: "At least since Emerson and Whitman, there's a cult of experience in American poetry. Our poets, when one comes right down to it, are always saying: This is what happened to me. This is what I saw and felt. Truth, they never get tired of reiterating, is not something that already exists in the world, but something that needs to be rediscovered almost daily."

Relearning Spanish (revised)

Familiar noise like the crackling of a soup
you haven’t tasted in months.

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

What has stuck with you
are the ups & downs
of sadness, excitement,
that mixture of both.

Your head explodes
with the slow curves of language.

But it's the actual words you can't remember.
Words for the quiet pleasure of friendship,
for example, or a kiss hello on the cheek.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I will die (thanks to Olga for this stolen title)

I trip over a small crack
on the Alameda
and there it is, that
sock-in-the-eye of a realization
that at some point,
sooner or later,
I will hit the ground.

What We Talk About When we Talk About Love

Small fingers that cup the air
and my chin—

Loneliness that drags
like a melancholy skirt.

We rub our noses,
snort & laugh about holding
hands, or the
inevitability of touch.

thick as blueberries;
much thicker.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Now, in India or Indonesia
(I didn't catch which, I confess,
which is wrong in its own right)
there's rain and flooding.
Every season has its rain
& flood, but this, they say,
is the worst flooding in memory.

We always record things:
fastest pitch since 1974
longest phone call since yesterday
harshest coup since the
mid nineties. In each, time
is stationary, as if we knew
time and we came to agree,

time & us, that it would stay put,
as stated in its contract.
In Santiago, Chile I see buildings
constructed, and have heard
of the falling apart of memory:
a city conscious of its forgetfulness
to produce a new future.

Should it be that we stop
time to hold things in place
or to make room for more.
Even this is a building constructed:
some bit of time caught
and held hostage
to prove a wreckless point.


In the poetry of my friends,
an unraveling:

a hole
punched to be filled with
questioning words.

And what is emptiness
for, after all? To
fill, fill.

In each block of white and black
I eat words
and words eat me like cake

wrap around my throat
sweetly pick at my pallete
so my mouth will open.

What excitement it is to read.
How restless we've become
to breathe thicker air.