Fresh Words


I use this page to post a variety of pieces, both those just out of the sluice, and older pieces that feel fresh to me at the moment. I generally keep them up for a month, or a few at the most.

Look for new poems (and more) at the start of each month.

Commit   (new in February)
A Dollop of Always   (new in February)
Otsefinam Gninrub, or 39 Lashes    (new in December)
Tarot   (new in November)

 

A poem written while back home taking care of Dad over the holidays.

 

COMMIT

Straining to remain alive,
skin gauzy and taut over organs,
bunched and sagging in the absence,
collarbone twiglike, sternum transparent,
every vertebra crowned, the scoliosis
of all worlds laid bare, the mammal
pulled by his sex slowly earthward.

His profuse mutterings of night
stalk us out of sleep, we who wait
in the golden ring, trying to twist
our own bones into comfort.

                  What lives we have
stretched, fraught, laved in lies,
give us just enough room to cry,
            Grace be with us
through a balcony of trees.

We pace old corridors barefoot,
familiar carpet soothes our soles
stung by a stray piece of kibble
from a cat long gone.

No lies there, except perhaps
in the vignette of composition
also forgotten.
Erasure comes upon us
with a seductive beat
and a feline mid-paw, crooning
its way through our bodies
like a chess game played countless times,
tissuing flesh in the meantime
almost as an afterthought, a coda.

O ye beauty-youth, no wonder
you’re ageist, horrified by the mouse’s foot
broken under spring, by the hangtail snarl,
by the tattering gossamer too long in air.

Commit, commit and live, I say
to the sternum in any foray
and the bruised heart within,
to the raw throat in full shout,
to the unpainted face and the firey eyes
dragging the banker into traffic,
bereft of skin, of din, of ideology
by the precise and decisive act.

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A little poem about something, from, I think, December.

 

A DOLLOP OF ALWAYS

Grey and bent under a silver moon,
walking across chiaroscuro fields
as in some impressionist oil,
you stop to give your back a rest
from the long basket, sturdy and
unyielding. You stretch long and slow,
exhale long and slow, then pause
to soak in the night. You smell
old hay, dry soil, cool late
breeze, hear a distant night bird,
the rustle of reeds, your own breath,
and then, for a long moment, it all
stops, and there you stand.

 

 

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Here’s the text of the Dada Manifesto that I wrote for Dada World Fair, and performed at City Lights Books on November 1, 2016.

 

OTSEFINAM GNINRUB

or

39 LASHES

  1. What is your hand in the
  2. Please the burning
  3. Kick kick kick  kick
  4. Please the burning
  5. What face did you have when
  6. Blank the sky blank the sky
  7. I can tell you were very good-looking at one time.
  8. Away with meat, let’s go to carnival where everything is
  9. More imperative than ever, boot in faceless need the crack crumble tumble windows in the air faces in a ditch facade facade facade and
  10. CRACK
  11. Please the burning
  12. Dance a wild round of moo, the cows are coming home to brew their finest pot of lickery to celebrate the Great Goodbye
  13. Begone, fluffnugget. Begone, rue.
  14. Your icebox humm is getting louder. What kind of visions does it bring?
  15. You’re such a bombshell.
  16. The burning waits for you to burst, for you to cling, for you to walk into it singing.
  17. The burning is patient. The burning is hungry. The burning is delicious. And for those of this concern, the burning is organic.
  18. No need for any more of that distasteful old-fashioned cleansing. The burning is now available at your friendly neighborhood codex.
  19. The burning starts here.
  20. The burning starts again, re-embers, as it should, in the center of the dead wood.
  21. Re-ember the burning.
  22. I miss your picnics, mama, I surely do.
  23. I miss your soft dress and your smile, regardless of their affiliation.
  24. I miss your nails.
  25. All of this, with its impossible meaning
  26. I miss the impossible.
  27. I bought a new lighter today.
  28. I don’t even smoke.
  29. Please the burning.
  30. Your face a miasma of guesses and pain, chemical surges, shocks from the wind, cells sloughing and multiplying, organisms having festivals, small bits of the outer world sticking to it and adding to the whole. You can feel it.
  31. They say a shower is the great deionizer.
  32. Your skin an impossible codicil, broken apart and spilled on the floor
  33. Your hand
  34. Your hand carrying a bucket full of hands. There’s a cake on the stove. Three strands of hair are stuck to your face. What are you going to do with them? HA HA HA. What are you
  35. The burning loves you, but changes what it must.
  36. Transformation a matter of lashes
  37. Licking, licking, cows in the twilight
  38. Those who think they need to stay are burning first. I’m already gone.
  39. Wake the moon, mama. I’m comin’ home.

 

 

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A little love poem from October, inspired by a Tarot reading by Meg Hayertz.

 

TAROT

You approach dusted with molecules of gold
through your hair, in the folds of your clothes, in your eyes.
You know where to turn. You turn where you need.
You turn where you breathe. You abide.

I am pinched, pinched by time, and I
have to find where to find you in this shine,
your gleam of molecules, your molecules of gleam
overflowing now in me, filling my throat, the tips of my hair, my widening eyes.

 

 

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