Plain American Language

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Untitled as of yet...graffic scenes, just a heads up

As usual, I stand up from the toilet,
closing my book of poetry (lately
I've been vacillating between William Matthews
and Mary Jo Bang). Today, nothin' doin'.
I wash my hands anyway.
Scratch. Sniff.
My back cracks; my wrist cracks.
Who says we aren't creatures of habit?
Perhaps habit in a more unrefined manner,
but I mimic the weather as much
as possible. My routines change, but
not as erraticly as New England
weather, I suppose, and that is the only
difference and what I sometimes wish
I could change: how our winters
are sometimes warmer than they should be,
and my scarves and hats lay folded
and hung. What I ask for is consistency.
What we get is rain while the sun's out.
Those days are always the warmest
and most curious to watch.
Do we expect these things to happen
and always umbrella our heads,
or walk out into it, more nervous
than excited about mixed signals?
Bathrooms were meant to sit in
and reach inner peace. Sitting
down on that cold seat,
whatever else drops out of you
rolls down your forehead
onto your lips like a sudden, relieved "Oh!"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Living Among the Dead, after William Matthews (this may or may not be a direct copy, or just a good imitation)

Living among the dead,
like opening a chest of moth-ridden clothes,
is harder each day: trees,
like us, sway outside the windows of the dead.

For the past few months I've lived in
my car, driving to and from
almost anywhere. Lots can be said
about driving, being encased,
becoming an almost-passive insider but
a keen observer of the wonderful.

There is a tree I once passed on the way to Hadley--
gnarled like an old war story.
It's the dead that place these
along the roads---
they still hold hands with you, tell you,
We placed Pepsi-Cola checker boards in your bathroom
to put your poetry magazines on and drift back
to our tables, our chocolate milks and glasses.

Even the ones I don't remember
track thumb prints in the night.
They lay them on your head
and the next morning
your hair is matted to the left.

There is no way to avoid the dead:
there they are, setting themselves inside
their own footprints,
putting your feet inside new shoes.
Curling their eyes upward
then downward, watching their progress grow.

to great grandparents, and great uncle and aunt

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poem With a Line by Elvis Perkins

It worries me that there's someone on my mind who I don't see.
The kind of nervousness you feel when
meeting someone new
who you don't quite trust enough to say,

My heart bursts like autumn while you licked your lip to get a small
drop of iced coffee from running down your chin.

The kind that sickens your leg a bit,
makes it thrust forward--
a crunch and pain in your ankle.

Is this what love is, or just a fog soup
that's stepped off a pier in San Francisco
and turned to New England
to learn more about how weather will begin
to be erratic while internally
what is constant is turning and molten
and that's what you should most likely always
rely on: earth.

Poem Beginning With Two Words by Iron & Wine

Love was a coke bottle lens
balanced on your head; a joke that your
brother laughed at instead.
Instead of lighting up the dark
we let the match flicker out;
instead of laying by your side
I propped up a knee and smiled.
Our thumbs will eventually crack when
we lift them up, wrestling like time
with shirts and coffee mugs.
We flooded the basement carpet
refused to collect the rain
that swelled up all of the beams;
but, then, isn't that the point--
to float your arms down rivers
that motion toward the body?
We travel a great many distances.
We, the Mississippi, the mighty.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Soledad (needs a lot of work) (taken after a song by jorge drexler, called Soledad) (i actually see this as a song, and not a poem)

Soledad, aqui estan mis credenciales.
That's what I said when I left,
not knowing what you'll be doing
next. The guagua in Santiago
is crying, our parents are sick
and fighting. Things changed
ever since their divorces. Of course,
me, too, que nunca supe bien
como estar solo--there are
guaguas crying in Springfield
la micro by you is too.
How strange to see your hands
combing the hair of my sister,
every woman who brushes by.
Soledad, ahi quedaron mis cicatrices,
the pieces of glass that broke
the spokes gutted off your mother's car.

How we rolled when we reached the hill
in Olmhue. That's all I remember of that day.