Plain American Language

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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the Bed, On Vacation

Sometimes I would rather not begin
by stating the situation in which I sit,
neck bent. Nightly, instead,
I will go to the pool hall
and play half-silently, admiring
broken fans that,
perhaps, cooled a great number of players,
cues in hand, important, blue chalk dusting off their shoulders
like drifting children; they tumble down
covertly, ethereal near the construction site
Oh construction site, in the town in which I was born,
you light up the as if you
were hosting a Hawaiian barbecue,
or perhaps celebrating Channukah,
though that is slightly troubling
as your candles are innumerable and scald
a fantastic after-glow
on the dashboard, dirt piles
and football stadium, drifting children. So, then,
the problem: light, being.
Beams beg for walking upon and
you are months from completion--
no night-watcher will touch
a foot on you, blue-black whale whose mouth glazes
open like candle wax,
except in the future when
children roll their fingers on your cavernous walls.

Trains (completely unfinished)

Opening wide the mouth of night
light is not an oracular ghost,
rather factual: stiff as military starch,
a lampost
trips the dark.
Morning you are woken with
clouds bombastic and purple night
a healed blister
a wisp of cold aluminum
drifting downward from the sky.
A loud breath, the throat tightens
as the whip of an opposite train goes by.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not Really

Driven like a nail through brick
stick dark as unstuck mud
on the boot left cleaved on the basement rug
a knife poking through a pumpkin
something like breath, a drachma unearthed
by a four year old, cloaked,
shivering: hexagonal,
seemingly gorgeous, a dream--

the picture of horse, the faint upward motion
of coin bounced on the pocket's
inside, it climbs without bearing
right or left, thumb coolly caressing
its image for more than ten years--
time passes, as a pear.
In the thinning, subconscious night
light enters the room like a horse's canter.
Not tomorrow but soon I'll teach my students
about nuance, nooks and crannies
like a young child's hands, clenched
and dripping with fudgicle sweat--
meanwhile the child drips, content,
accepting. I used to think that silence
among two people was awful--
not knowing how to move from one end to
another, thinking, then, about sex, attraction,
interlaced eye contact like gradations of
color. I was constantly adrift. Now,
when I think of things and am with someone
who blinks at me like crystalline winter,
which is her laughter, which is, sometimes,
cold, I don't mind silence: it is part of the process,
the coming up with the idea, the forming,
then the coming out with it: firestorm
of I think I love you or we're missing
soap in the bathroom. Transient night
in Washington, D.C., such transience in this town:
we are constantly disappearing, books
being written, only backwards.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

(no title) (i think this is unfinished, and could be added on to) (inspired by Arda Collins "Over No Hills")

And in the deepest
sense, I am looking
for companionship, which for days
and, perhaps, all of March til May,
I had rationalized or
imagined as the recollected
amalgamations of the hands of
two old lovers--
I'm a bit of a cat-burglar in that sense
and freely admit
this at a coffee shop next to
an opened computer
finished latter and two strips of paper
curling around and over themselves--
I read through
so many of my old college papers
looking for something scholarly--
thinking of language and love,
now and then
thinking of the inconceivable
facebook status (wintry,
porcupine-esque, desired, fulfilled,
scared, rounded out,
proud and reasonable, pencil-
thin, as a mollusk
climbing on thin blades of
grass, looking at pretty
girls) but punctuated--
I think I should not eat my words
anymore, I think
I should be putty on the wall:
don't you use it to hang
things, to maneuver and tear
into use for the pleasure
of making your
house a home?

The Unknown Bird (I saw this phrase in an Elizabeth Bishop poem)

The unknown bird sits atop leaves
and leaves of green--jays, pigeons
scooting up against the windows
the swooping, leaving
imprints indicating: birds, birds
this is the oven of us all,
four hundred degrees we simmer
in juices savory with lemon and dill.
Summer bakes us and will never treat us well.


Beneath the daytime, people pass each other
on the street. "No one smiles back at you,"
my friend complained. "No one says hi." We
watch as the ladies and gentlemen in
seersucker and fashionable period-dress
cycle by--we snap photos, imprint our
eyes on each gaunt hat and they are
changes as wood drifting down the river changes,
becomes the last sign of life, entering the ocean.


If I can swing it, my next lecture
will be titled: For My Next Trick: Residual
Patterns like Electricity Buried beneath the Wood.
Each word will contain sequences,
like bath and both and bother,
path, pith, patter, late, loath, lover.
Judge whether the path in the woods
with broken branches that are stormy weather,
leads out or simply further. The way
gets dark. It is an unabashed lover.


The most extreme weather I can think of
is a tornado. When I was young, I looked
out at the tail of Hurricane Emily wagging
darkness and almost filling up the drain pipes.
To have ripped off the roof of a school, to
gauge out the lungs, veins, of trees makes
nature seem overlordish, though it is not, though
we are making it be this way, us, caressing
as two pieces of used uranium nestled in their bed of shale
forgetting, later, that they never had known other than this.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dating Scene (last poem of the 30 days, one day late)

There is a box that I kept, cellophane
clear plastic sheet, blue exterior.
Inside, a brachiosaurus and water color
of the Hudson seen from Hastings-
on-Hudson. Where is the world you've
built--sapphire stones in groups,
dark seasoning on salads, apples
that break the silences of November.
I'm looking for a Jew, who speaks in
dialectics, whose hues range from green
to the browns around the pupiles, with
hair so curly it is its own forest
and she sings like glory-bound diaspora
like shapes and wavering trees or,
when June hits, dripping popsicles,
her power lies in electricity, her font
is Helvetica and the care she heaves
for the comeliness of things brings power
to this city, she is a glass building bridge
that frames an old post office
she is the camera, the typewriter,
the ribbon stretched across the park,
she slow motion, she is the tide,
she once was. I'm looking for a Jew,
a world to build; can you help with that.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

#13: Rain (rain rain rain all day long)

A dance on the garden for three days
rain you are my Rubix cube of night
tell me once again why, on facebook,
your relationship status says single
when my eyes married the sky and
your blackened clouds. I expect,
in the middle of August, you'll
be gone--flightless fox of April.
Let light carry you away moreso than
sour memories of no-fun Sundays; let light
break you apart like exhalations

#12: Rhyme (this was a lame-o rhyme...)

Last night she Topeka
Tonight she'll tell her secret.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Knowing full well that the earth, lizard crawling
on a tilted axis,
would spin upon the sight of her
would that the earth would spin at the sight of her.

She controls the pits of him
the riptides and pools of him
the entrails of him the trails of him
how they blink, would that they'd blink
and set wind lauding the bricks and windows
of city buildings, wings that spin circles

City of spinning circles, would that you
Would, in light of love, int he light
And love would contest not
of its amber vision again,
that is to say, its amber vision is the power
that fills the canyon river and paints it amber.

II (#9, written by people on the street who were kind enough to write something, and a little weirdness at the end)

I would like a life
full of Love

full of expectations, dreams
and hope above all

with trees, rivers, dogs and rain

In a world with trials and tribulations
I find myself searching
Looking for an answer

There once was a girl
who had the whole world.

My most favorite never
have what elephant
Butt: big crazy asophagus
Cherryblossoms, see.

#8: Observations & Anomalies (written at 826DC)

There's a musk ox on the crate!
Parasaurolophus--is anything more unnatural?
Free popcorn--brought to you by Jesus.
Laugh Out Loud: tiny dog, purple leash.
Colest day in April and eating raisin bran.
Do I jog or bike on a Saturday?
Speak Spanish, man, or take a walk; something!
That's my favorite song: Something, Something I Love You.
I don't have anything: bobcat. I don't have anything.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Poem #7: The Charlie Sheen Poem

Mother, I am full of Tiger Blood.
Get me two cigarettes: I've already
smoked the first so you might
as well get three. Have you heard
from the elders, they've found new
boysenberries, each tattoing a name
onto their shrivelled skin: mine.
Lover, find anything other than
wonder, you won't find it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bone-Flower Elegy (After Mary Jo Bang & Robert Hayden)

(This one's dedicated to my Aunt Riv & Uncle Josh)

As him, in the dream, as her
as art is constant yet the destructor
of my wrists, I hold this:
I can't even remove my glasses without
not seeing, and that was what
I wished tubes were all we knew
brush past beds as lolling heads
whirred and clucked and snacked on
death crackers, dry and thin.
When I think harder, will you be there,
and what was worse back then
was thinking hard that you both in separate
coffins were not. Eyes dilate faster
what with the drops is the garden
blooming yet, reach to me your hands, I will check

Poem #4, Response

(I forget why I said this was a response...but)

On through an eighty degree night, fact
of warming in the midst of cold April
breeze is blankets, though the sinus headache
and twinging uscles annunciate in my skin
felt hats felt in winter are for tomorrow
newspaper rolls across the street; heat
but the dark of it inside the new
flowers make spring finally here, as if it were
fall but with white instead of fire

Guac (A Found Poem)

(Here, I took pieces of conversation while at a friend's house) (Each line should be cascading...unfortunately, blogger can't do that)

That's a lot of pressure

About Ocean City
that one
that was intense lightening

We can wash off the porch
We'll split it three way

I should tell her to clip out
I should tell her to clip out
She's not clipping out

There used to be so much:
He abuses strange materials
You think they'd keep that for next year

So this isn't a documentary.
So this is a documentary.

Poem #2: Three Short Poems at Qualia Coffee

(Here I took lines from old poems that I didn't much like...and took the best lines and added some others)

Whistling through your picturing and finding naught

thou picture, beside
figuring, knit caps, glasses
bees, love, bees.


Janis Joplin has a way of crooning to the beads
hung by the sandalwood candles
O Janis, mine own candle
is not sandalwood--I got it at the factory outlet
it smells vaguely of the hanging gardens.


I am following the red ribbon attached to my journal
belittle rain fills it up
here is my coffee, I meditate over the cup

30 Poems in 30 Days Challenge!!!

Hi folks, I'm participating in 30 Poems in 30 Days, as part of National Poetry Month! Yay!!! It's a great time to experiment, and have some fun, or be serious and not have fun (but really have fun).
Here's poem #1:

Will you be the ruiner of my objects, climb down my runny eggs
and lay flat on the tongue bedding
with the book of poetry
I am dropped and thump--
dizziness is a towel I wished
upon and get all the time.
Lucky you, jackets hanging on my chair--all you do is be brown
and corduroy and nestle in the corner. Luck you,
vines creeping out of the shelves,
lucky you orange twice bitten,
twice juiced and picked up,
luck you, ruiner of objects, vacuum-er of pens.
Creator and destroyer, where have you been?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Look Out (a very rough, rough poem taking a cue from Josh Beckman)

From the way it looks, the view from the mountain
is just as clearly showing me smog
as the trees directly below my foot.
I remember when I was climbing Torres del Paine
I didn't understand
that not all roads that lead to Rome involve trodden-upon footpaths.
Kneeling on gravel, I prayed each time I grabbed a small tree
it'd hold. The phones almost entirely dead,
we communicated through the one computer
at the hostel, where coffee was strong, and delicious.
I suspect upon the moment that clouds fitted
themselves upon those mountains that rain
poured and pounded like the wind and gave
beauty to those towers. I think I read that.
Do you read? Do you take in air in quick sips?
I think that kind of thing is interesting, like how it howls
in zigzags like a terribly disoriented fox
up steep hills and that birch tree peeling like peanut
butter in a cold, cold kitchen.

I was listening to too much Tallest Man on Earth, and wrote a song called I'm Going Swimming

(this rhymes and doesn't rhyme in's rough, and if you want to put it to music, feel free. In my mind, it is finger-picked and sung with a lilt, a little fast & folky)

I'm building diamond mines in Africa, my chest.
I doubt the workers will be getting any rest
too soon, but if I were you
I'd think about the cliffs in Martha's Vineyard and if
I were you, I'd paint them just a shade grayer,
or two. At 32 degrees
the snow will pile on my heart and leaves
will tell us stories of the wet and the blue.
If I were you, I'd head off to the south
and there I'd live without the fear
of stains of onion on my fingertips,
then touch my lips. I once heard a story
of a nosebleed that filled the world with blood,
I think it was the Nile, I might have read that
in a book somewhere. Classical literature.
Was it Dante or the Aeneid that said love
was floating above me, floating
like those glass-like bits of beauty
when we look up from under water.
And time, it is reflective of the glass-like
bits of pain, the breath we breathed accidentally again:
sometimes I can't see (x3) when I'm swimming.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One Bedroom

The slip occurs more often at night

Tintinnabulations of brick, rust-colored light

Under the moon, your eyes look soft

Night music, a resting thing

Slower, farther, more patiently droplets walk up the back

Dreams like missing criminals, books like smokers' fingers

Your neon gait as you stride forward to the sheets

The ice of our closing eyes; wide, size; talk with your hands

Brick, brick, brick, night.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Am Your Golem

Apple me: make me red with grief
and longing, make me green and orange
and golden. I want to bloom
from a flower, stem from your roots
I want you to sway and drop me
until I split open with want.
Bake me, porous and earthenware, put
your everything in me, make me
what you will, bury me
and with one word let me know what heaven
is the ground I walk on before
you un-earth me like a strewn piece of clay.

A Recipe Box

This papyrus is thickened by the roots
of cedars and Lebanese cyprus trees,

granted they travel underground and
papyrus walks in the hands of messengers

but when treating both in this concotion
we must note the irrevoable sameness

of the two: columns and lines like azaleas that
could have blossomed at night,

arctic whispers of solidity, how
smooth they both are upward into the sun--

to make the concoction harden, then,
pull these two elements together with a soluble chemical

and whisper three times like southerly winds.

Curtal Sonnet (revised)

My eyes closed and my shoulder hunched
like bejewled solitude,
a pen run out of ink and the cold slip of a missed-placed s,
hard as lust, a violin tremolo,
a clicking wound round my ear the massive growl
tight against my jaw--how the undead
measure God, stackable as glass,
know what it is to crave
a clicking, roaming thirst--
how in a room both whisper and hiss

At Night, Owl's Eyes Reflect Most Everything, While Moons Pass Over (before this was "Concentration Camp")

Lately, I feel uninhabited--waking from dreams
in which I have been blinded by chemicals
pitted against stranger-adversaries
while a faceless, bloodied, ravenous onslaught powers toward me, a sudden wave
rushing, then, through my body
pushing it all back--waking dizzy--
waking later than I wanted to--slugging my hands through
the day--tea and lemon miracle,
ginger and quiet noises of fires,
the shifting of autumn, to walk and see reddened
oaks, then to fall away from the world
at night. When am I ever awake?