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.

Fruit Fly   (new in June)
Existential Joy   (new in May)
Broken City   (new in May)
O Colonoscopy   (new in March)
Sun Sonnet  (old but new in February)

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A trifle that leaked out in my kitchen one recent afternoon.

 

FRUIT FLY

You little shit, if only
I knew what you wanted.
Really wanted.If only I knew you.
May we talk?
I want to assume it’s not
just the garbage, not just my sweat,
not just the roiling air of noon,
not just your incessant bobbing about,
swarming across my path,
chomping my basil plants,
wandering around on my food,
flying up my nose.
I’d like to think that somewhere
in your tiny brain, tiny to me at least,
there’s a world-view, there’s a world
with a summit of Drosophiliac perfection
that you strive dearly to attain.
Is that too much to ask, too much to hope?
Let me ask starkly, you little shit
who produces not much more than littler shits,
and microscopic turds, and pestilence, you who live
so briefly yet with so much presence and verve,
do I have a chance? Is there any chance in this
teeming stew, in this vast and fucked-up universe,
in this mighty mess of limb and light,
that I might have your love?

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A smidgen that I found in my notebook this month which I’d forgotten I’d written entirely. And which brought me joy. Thus the title, imposed upon discovery.

 

Existential Joy

Dragging this lump of flesh from room to room,
I celebrate the fact
that I can drag this lump of flesh from room to room.

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A tiny ode to San Francisco, or what’s left of it.

 

Broken City

The broken city is pretty.
I like the smell of it breaking.
Can I please have a glass of absinthe
with a ball bearing and a dusting of chalk?

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I was sitting on a small press publishing panel at the San Francisco Writers Conference last month, and one of the publishers (no, I won’t say who), in describing the types of pieces they are looking for, commented, “Just don’t send me a poem about your colonoscopy.” Well you know me, I immediately started scribing one, and finished it before the panel was over. Here it is. Sorry about this.

 

O Colonoscopy

O colonoscopy, I don’t remember you
though you have shaped my life,
or at least have lived my shape.
Shape me, O colonoscopy, let me be
the manner and form that might be me,
like it or not, sans lump of fleshly blasphemy.
I live, I lump, I be, and if I may,
I honor you for being me today,
for entering and leaving me to stay
alone and whole, unlumped and full of holes,
plunging breath by breath through dream and sty,
entering and leaving, cleaned and wry.

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Including this poem because it’s referenced by the photo at the bottom of the February 2019 post. I started this looking at a naked oak tree near my parents house sometime in the early 90’s, and just couldn’t figure out how to finish it for ten years. Then, back there visiting, again in winter, I was looking at the tree again and the rest of it just rushed right out. It’s one of my fave poems ever. Perhaps you’ll enjoy.

 

SUN SONNET

A naked tree can tell us everything:
chained to the earth, grappling with sky,
we flaunt our imperfections in the rain
as budding eyes.  Craven and verklempt,
it’s all we can to writhe, stolidly, fatefully
arching vesicles toward luscious liquid,
saturated air, toward instant light.
And in the wind, twisting, clattering arms,
we find the flexibility of heart
to wind us for the true imbroglio,
the quickening.  Oh yes, you know you know:
what roots you have, not disparate, reclaim
the mortal trunk we have and have again,
pulled upward, out, beyond our living ken.

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