Plain American Language

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

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.