Plain American Language

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

imagine every other stanza is tabbed over a tad...also the prompt was "Who are you?"

Walking down the hallways
of Longmeadow Street
mythologies of autumn
and scarves like time around my neck
winter is passing and
there is another six inches.

Wind and violins
orchestras stoke that
flue inside the living room:
empty save constellations
of fires unused or
passed--where is the
synaptic drive
where are we going?

Ancient myths like
stars like finding, telling:
this is an island this
hand holding mine, this,
mine. Winter again
and another six inches
fill the coffee cup.

Open city, love. Open
city holding mine
though when it breaks, it
breaks holding cities
holding mine: warm
full like quick cups
of coffee

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Once, though, we were soft.
And terrible was the thought
of hindrances and winter
though I loved the idea of snow
covering our sweaters--
we, hiding inside our belts, our waistcoats
tough, which once we were.
The country, the wine,
and indelible the company,
when suddenly swiftly they go
out the door and out to
the country yet again.

Terrible that thought of
yesterday. Bits of salt
transformed into pieces
of cork floating in the
waves of wine. Soft, love.
Hold hands and sway slowly.
Take your temples in your
hands and sway.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Walking In My Own Country (old, but revised)

I suppose the reason the snout
and upper jaw is missing from
my old plastic Tyrannosaurs Rex is time.

It's an old device to evoke the clock,
my own wall a quick museum
of successes and failure.

I got rid of so many books.
A favorite, still here, dog-eared
and coffee-stained. No, it
must've been torn off by me
or chewed by one of the dogs.

There's another dinosaur
with its horn filed down halfway.

What do you even begin to say to the morning,
as if the pillow were yanked
and shoes suddenly put on your feet.

Friday, October 9, 2009

See, babe, the waters not so high.
It is autumn, we let things go.
We are Quebec, we are sauntering forward.
Like water above the knees like dresses
above the knees. Like rivers, like
oil, like frying pans we understand.
I hope. Bike around the city--
see the boys on Second and Florida
practicing kung fu or tai chi
at ten at night in the alley.
And how they move--so slowly
with staff and position after
carefully wrought position. Like water.
Like water, like breath taking in
sweet jams or the beasts inside frying onions.
Lovely that autumn peeks on the vines
against the walls separating wood from concrete.
Tree and highway and everywhere we go is bumper to bumper.
This is a median: yellow
dumpsters filled with sand and water,
concentric circles like concentric
squares like leaves and cars
we are meeting in the middle.
Autumn, you exist only in hills.
We knoww you, highway, only exist
in hills. Travelers, pick your middle,
pick where you ride. Lastly,
speed, go slow, and as our
ribboned car doors pass by this season
let us know by letting us know.


Joyce loves things that are green.
Sweatshirts wrap her head to feet. I want Joyce.
Joyce says that Spring is oranges
and she meanns day lilies
though she loves things green and makes her
choices based on that. That
and that Joyce holds vegetables
in high regard, though, Joyce, you
cut them so carelessly and slow-cook
the sting out of lemongrass and my cheek.
Joyce: I want her and when sweat
wraps her head, sweatshirts
fall across the floor like garden parts,
and vegetable-getting implements
and in the park she lies and oh
Joyce, my Joyce can you tell us
what else is orange and never,
honestly, green.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Love Song (this one rhymes...weird!)

If I were a windmill, I would grind up against you.
And, being thorough,
Continue to turn.
Please, though it may burn,
And the bottom of my floor
Is dusted; the door
Terribly hinged and the latch
Broken with a catch
When you open it a crack,
There is song in touch,
The stone, my back,
Your traces. Much

I've thought of you, and things that linger:
Your finger
Against mine.
Windmill, salt and grain.
Lengths of song, where it rests.
Winter, warmth, our chests,
And, what,
As if there were some answer
Cleaner than the mouth of a cut
Around a cord of wood, or
With more purpose?
Ultimately, it is the grain
The windmill is dependent upon:
Therein lies the song.
Lady, the potatoes are done, mixed
with softened garlic, onions,
noise from the outside and the smoke
that wafted out the window
but caught a bit on the spider web in the corner
I am afraid to kill
or move, as the creature still lives
and so I ask myself every day,
Will eggs be lain suddenly
or will we live pleasantly,
the crowds outside, reggeton
and barflies not bothering either of us
as if noise were not a simple fact
rather a mere stroke in the curve of a letter;
though, thinking about it now,
so integral to the making of things
so then again, do I kill the spider.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I find it tough to cross the street

I find it tough to cross the street--
14th, already, smelling of babies' cries
loving children and mothers in
two, almost three languages commanding--
sun at its peak, almost, of
night, haziness like the wave of a lover
across the floor, both old, new

at once a caress or a slap on the back
a scratch on the forehead
as the bus cries and weans
on the street's milk. Darker than
me, laughing hard, and me
smiling as a mug of coffee
dove-tailing and red.

Most days are long fingers
pointing either at me or out.
So tell me, fair: better, then, to
tattoo my eyes of my lids
or sit against the street, red
but looking.

[Things I am jealous of]

Things I am jealous of:
the way in which some poems
may walk from living room
to bedroom, arm in arm
with a lover; and love,
in general, for being so steadfast
and terribly obscure
except in eyes, feet and longing,
and thus more accessible
as we touch, from living room
to bedroom, simple as broomsticks
or rather, painted bright red or green.
Eventually, the sun will draw
against my love's belly
and her body will remind me of a semicolon
one brief end and always
a continuation.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's large should belong in my hands

Love is
held purposely by harp strings
strangely enough, an instrument
I can't play
though try to what is
large should belong in my hands and
held together
by plants never knowing which
is favorite/love is/
gathered together like Queen Anne's Lace
walking down the road
love is
what is
large should belong in my hands
gradually and with pace
a slow twine grows thick on the
forest bed, strong
love is.


Ruffled a bit, plowed through
vine-ripened, as if,
tricked up to a point
and most definitely fingered--not
in the sexual way rather
accused, rightly, of holding
something of value
salted sad strolling
keep in mind that the waves
you remember
pounded at a space
not chosen necessarily
they kept returning was and was
this is the beach
this the shore
and rocky, the colored cliffs.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Before the Year

Crisp buttons on the shirts I ordered--
my dad ordered khakis, which I can
never spell right on the first time.
Lovely, these songs are for you, whom
I trust, who has loved me for months
and at times I wondered stupidly why. And
listening to my feet drum and a terrible album,
and checking available apartments then going
to the bathroom, suddenly. Dear lovely:
flowers, flowers in summer and honeybees
disappearing. Evening are cool and magnificent,
expensive cars swing their way down the street,
sweet pollen drifts with an easiness, a devil-may-care
attitude. Who will pick them up and carry them.
Mothers lining up at school, guardians, the walkers.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Poem In Praise of Not Caring

I am pro no bullshit. Like a dog
is pro food. I am in favor
of taking my hand and never shoving it
down someone's throat, searching
for gold. When a bomb is
deconstructed, whose body is inside?
I vote our mothers'. That way when
it explodes, it spreads dust that smells
of a son's fear of punishment.
I vote our daughters'. When it falls
it screams the high pitched whistle
of a father's pride that dies
when disappointed, then suddenly rekindles.
I vote men. Men sell only three things.
Who counts the dead? Not caring is how land finds rest.

One Train (after Kenneth Koch and Daisy Fried, and a little comment on the sleeve)

Intensely serious beneath a surface of lightness
one train clunka-clunks and swerves

just a tad on the track, and husbands
and some single men blink tightly, fearing

their choices--seat, career, this trip, this seat
--a lightness beneath the surface of intensely serious

while one train passes astoundingly
and quick flashes of children gloat at their real selves

giddily dancing, a speed-dream, a quick, delightful scare,
and they--being two--scream shrilly,

gleefully while husbands and some single
men, intensely serious beneath a surface of lightness

shroud themselves in love and what it means to them,
like shrill children or soft, caring fingers--cold, but only on the tips.

And while some men sneeze, one train
clunks to a slower-running speed, releases steam,

whistles--which never sounds high pitched, rather an alto's "Whoaaaaa,"
not a siren, nor a banshee, just a call.

Lightness beneath a surface of lightness.
Intensely serious, they whistle, as if all one train.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Untitled so far...

It's just past dusk now, beginning
of spring,
a few robins already outside
& calling, which
gets me excited when I think
so much, so often & many times
of spring-like activities
that I probably will not do but want to,
like throw around a baseball,
which makes me nostalgic or simply a bit smiley,
or take long walks or bike rides
and something new: hike.

Not a few minutes ago I stopped
in my car
looking up at the sky with its fading blue
and long, quick line of orange-ish
and slowly, and reluctantly and heavy-heartedly
returned some videos I had rented,
thinking thoughts like "oh, poor suburban minds"
and trying to rhyme it with time
to be poignant
or introspective or accidentally
Daisy Fried, I want to meet you.

You know the city where my girlfriend lives.
I've read at least one of your books,
so you must know grit--
more than me, in my car returning videos.
And though a teacher here in Springfield,
only presume things have happened
to my Springfield sixth graders
to warrant their behavior.
But you seem to get it--
were you once
preggers and not wanting
(today I was flooded with pregnant conversation)
or did you know anyone who wanted?
Do city people return videos, stop
suddenly to look between buildings at
the lines you gravitate to
at dusk? I'm not picking on you,
I promise. I like you, is all. I'm jealous
and have questions like I usually do
as I pull back into the garage
and dusk, having blackened,
is no longer there to answer.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Warm Winter

There are many times when
the weather is warm
and I believe I should be walking,
though for many reasons
my suburban body slackens
and becomes lazy,
and so, instead, I drive
to the drugstore to do an errand
and plan, instead, on
standing outside in the warm
dreariness of the fifteen minutes left of daylight,
to soak in early signs of spring.
It was the loveliest few fresh breaths
in quite a while.

On the way back, rain; and that tree with a few limbs cut off I always pass on the cul de sac
going into my driveway:
when I pulled in and the tree and its perspective turned, I shifted
into reverse and stared.
In my travels, I've seen so many
trees splayed out on the sky or else gathered or gathering themselves
from the trunk up, muscular roots and all
or else prostrating to false idols and the Patagonian wind. Not a few

minutes ago, the wind flittered
against the window. The trees brushed against nothing and everything;
the wind moaned a single story. That winter,
though it was summer down there, I promised myself I'd write something about
nature. Consider this a promise.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

poetry news

what, you think he didn't defeat stanley kunitz?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Wackness (i watched a not so fantastic movie with this title...)

On a scale of one to wack
how would you rate
this? Would you take back

whatever you took?
What did you take,
anyway, to make life whack

you off from where you sat?
What makes life so irate--
or perhaps you don't watch your back

enough. That's what's wack:
no self-protection, no real pace
of things, and then everything spreads like an influenza that

can't simply put itself back
to where it should be. Here's the truth: no place
for the hope of things when gears of machines place tacks

under your feet. It's a fact
that nations, rising like yeast, face
each other: noses close together as face to breath, flat

and unflinching; that
the loss of a child means another race
towards more hands balled skyward and that

is where we find ourselves: wrapped
in a chrysalis, ominous, and hate
is a warm pie we eat on cream-colored place-mats.

You always look at
the dopeness, and, although I ignored it and ate
my fair share of bliss, it's just that

sometimes it--whatever it is--decides to drive into my head, a pick ax.
On the wackness scale, what's it rate?
You can tell me. From one to wack.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Three Woodblock Prints

Maybe it's the huge smile on my face
or the boy's
(though it's dark (his face) and
I only get the impression of a smile--
miracles of art--) or
maybe it's the music I'm listening to
or my wandering eyes--
the young--is she young,
middle aged, seems slender;
she slumps like me,
except her gaze is slightly downward
(mine is up towards her)
--eyes?--where are the eyes?--
neither she nor he has eyes.

Why brood in the garden, slender woman, or drift,
as if Ophelia? The garden
is pasteled with beauty; his goose
isn't so into being held, prized.
I see love in those shadow eyes:
(eyes?): A new pet! The goose sees
death, or at least a bit of panic.
What saturated skies, what hair
in a tight bun, and oh!
the child on the mother's back!
What sound peaces,
even though we never see clearly
through the faces.