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.

What I Got   (new in December)

Military Husband Jaw Sonnet   (teaser for Unit of Agency – new in September)

Earth Punk   (teaser for Unit of Agency – new in September)

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Here’s a quatrain, or maybe a blues riff, with a mediocre last line (used to call it terrible but I thought of a slightly better one) that fell out of my head this past month after I got my booster. So I’ll blame that. I’ve been too busy to think of a good one – so FEEL FREE TO SUGGEST ONE! If I like it, you get half-credit for the poem. Or maybe one-quarter. Okay, half.

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WHAT I GOT

Got Johnson’d in the springtime,
Moderna’d in the fall.
Don’t know what I’ll get this winter
but I know I want it all.

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Teaser #1 for the upcoming book Unit of Agency from Collapse Press.

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MILITARY HUSBAND JAW SONNET

I stir my store-bought yogurt
tiredly over the sink,
watching the pre-formed cup-shape
held by the viscous sweet-sour glop
dissolve under the churning steel of the spoon.
It rises first in a peak well past the lip of the cup –
I think of glaciers and glacial ridges –
then plummets backward into cream.
I’m not worried about the possibility
that it could crest the lip and drop,
leaving me with a splattered mess instead of breakfast.
Later in life I drive my beat-up old van
across the beach and into the ocean,
just because I always wondered
what that would feel like.

The ad on my Android reads:
“Military Husband Jaw Dropped
After Seeing Her Transformation”.
I pause for a moment over that missing “’s”,
wondering whether its absence might be a result of
rushed work, vernacular, or purposeful manipulation,
but I am mostly taken by the photo below
of a well-known Black American actress,
at least well-known by those aware of Black American actresses,
who is also noted for being a proud woman of size.
Beneath her glowing face the ad continues:
“Husband didn’t even recognize his wife
after returning from Afghanistan……..”,
followed by a red “Read the Story” button
and the TIME® Magazine logo without the ®.
Since this woman is not actually a “military wife”
but in fact a gorgeous Black American actress of size,
I wonder what her fictitious husband had supposedly
been doing in Afghanistan, exactly what transformation
had purportedly occurred, and whether that dropped jaw
was meant to be a sign of good or bad things to come.
I don’t click on the ad.

Later that day I read that a local sports team
has once again won the championship,
and that cheering crowds have taken to the streets,
overturning cars, smashing store windows, looting
and destroying property, and setting things on fire.
They are presided over by hordes of the local constabulary,
who, coincidentally, just the week before,
had presided over a large protest and street action
involving many of the same residents in much the same location,
at which time they had controlled the crowd with
flash-bangs, tear gas, shields, beatings, and mass arrests.
On this occasion, however, they are hanging back,
and some can even be seen cheering along with the crowd.
It is their team too, after all.
And another car lights up, another car owned
by a struggling working class man who depends on it
to feed his family, a man who might be in that crowd himself.

Just because it gives you a hard on
doesn’t mean you should do it.

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Teaser #2 for the upcoming book Unit of Agency from Collapse Press.

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EARTH PUNK

Call me Earth Punk and step away if you don’t. I’m not here for the fashion. I’m not here for the hair. I’m not here for the scene or the being seen. I’m here for the passion. I’m here for the song. I’m here for the truth and noise and anger and politics. I’m here for the dirt. For digging in dirt. For the politics of dirt. Digging the loam, the must, the marrow, digging the mirror of the mind, the unkempt world, digging the space between molecules, the space between us, the lines and lack of lines, the borderless, the endless flow and interchange, the pulsing skinless fallacy of I.

I’m here for the digging. I’m here for the roots and air, the striving outward, the grappling. I’m here for the suck of wind, the information of sun, for the finding of the dew. I’m here for the rain. For the sheer cleansing drench of rain. For the pounding soaking rain that drums away difference, that drains away spite. That deionizes the sky and land. That deionizes us, turns friction into grass, melts conflict into luscious soil, feeds life. I’m here for the taste of it, the taste of earth in my cells, the scent of lightning, the hair-raising audacity of trees. The resoluteness of trees. Got conflict? Got oppression? Got strife? Yes! Lie face down between old roots and take a deep draught. Then decide a course of action.

The politics of earth are no different than the human melee. Yes, we love each other, and yes, we fuck each other up, always have and always will just like moon ocean rock leaf ice flame rain dust. But unlike our muddled monkey-thoughts, the ideology of soil is relatively pure – live and rot, become, transmit, transform. Sure, you can cage life, sell the air, pretend to own the sun, rip and tear and die writhing in inexorable need, or you can be the vine that twines and stays. Eat dirt, sisterbrothers. Drink sky, my friends. Wrap yourselves in lakes and stone. These are not commands. I’m Earth Punk. I don’t command. I don’t even ask. These are what you do every day. These are what you are. Dig?

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