a week in, my radio becomes desperate,
it needs money–needs, it needs me to
do my part. i usually just listen and
i don’t need to do anything. i sit on
the floor for stretches, smelling the bacon,
as the toast goes in. a two car crash doesn’t
look good, a bicyclist was involved,
near Ham Lake, it sounded tragic.
now they want to give me something.
i want to win, the odds go up, the moment
is exciting, this is important, become
a member! yesterday, in class, the call
came in, i was busy. i knew what it
was all about. again, hang out on twitter,
yesterday is gone, this prize is yours, now,
just donate. don’t they get money from
the government as a public entity?
they don’t discuss this. member drives
always kill me because i write language
for free, i don’t ask for money, it’s a public
service too, it’s beautiful. this channel makes
me want to start my own member drive,
makes me want to change the station.
a week in, my radio becomes desperate,
Colors undulated in water’s reflection
Each vessel thrown motion on waves.
Daylight slipped between fast shadows
Astir with dust, sunscreen, and wake.
Reading and discussion as people laze,
Land mammals splashed with excitement.
Allowing the arched path of hot sun play,
Keeping covered eyes from its vibrance.
Etched in sand were castles and hills,
So many fantasies that were imagined.
On the surface a light breeze gave chills.
Under vast clear indigo sky’s advantage.
Those gathered took their weekend time;
Hurried for nothing, just this life alive.
The only change they want
is the change they make,
even if it’s the same.
Sure, they tell you to
join their literary groups
in order to get your words read,
in order to get your art noticed,
in order to make an impression on
the blossoming local scene.
Well, it’s just that: local,
and it still is, that’s it.
And a person can become
an organization alone.
Few think about a broad world
where 9 billion people might enjoy
everything or nothing that the creative
text you wrote has to offer…
Yeah, I think, gatherings are good for some—
those who need crutches for strong legs,
or those who need stitches for band aids.
Those who need editors
to change their ideas
so they will sell
and morph into comfortable writers.
I need approval
from institutions to feel good
That would have to be
my anti-motto, something I truly avoid.
Ha! Such jokes…
Years back no one would read
new cognitive prose,
my free work, no one would talk
zero recognition—I certainly wasn’t overseas then,
and I still am as called before
a “failed writer”.
Everyone was doing their own thing;
others were not as important,
it was about self—well, selfishness,
but on the side there was
a feigned pack mentality.
The only change they wanted
was the change they made.
Now poets go around
and pretend as though
everyone in the Cities
should get involved,
because what they were doing
back then, individually didn’t work,
so lets band together.
It didn’t pan out for them.
Their dreams came only at REM.
So, now they organize cliques,
they establish large groups into
bad plays on high society hierarchy,
the kind of thing that real
artists have vehemently loathed.
They set their own rules, now,
and their own guidelines—
if you can’t beat them join them—
yeah, good idea.
What a theory,
such lack of heart.
I think in this case
to become a part of it,
to get to the epicenter,
to get to the whole,
to be welcomed into this special circle,
the imaginary self-actualized poet,
famous, you-know-me sort of thing,
you would have to admit defeat,
you would have to admit you lost,
and that your initial passions
were complete shit.
You would probably have to change your ways,
attempt to be more like them—
assimilate, like the rest,
figure hip dress, obscure verse,
employ ten-dollar words,
cloned topics—of course gendered,
racial, anthropological, progressive,
and leftist political,
try for universal acceptance, right here.
Yawn, I say,
describe a situation,
an actual event:
CC was on 4th street SE at the bus stop,
she had forgotten my name,
her lips were red,
she said she had a new job.
I rode away on a bike
while passing out flyers.
I mean, you might as well kill progress,
just so your road is less rocky.
Leave change by the wayside,
never go against the grain.
A conformist mentality
will help you fit in better,
don’t ya know?
Your personality, your ideology discussed
only in past-tense phraseology and terms,
it all must go.
More of the same than Minnesota lakes.
But then you think about
how you were once a unique person,
an artist, that no one read,
no one cared about,
and how it was fun doing what you loved.
People read, they were baffled, confused,
or were turned off—or became aroused.
Now you do it to please others,
while not pleasing yourself,
while pandering to their ways.
They stare, they clap, they record,
they namedrop, to charm the masses, for a club,
to be accepted, to be loved for being
something that they are entirely not.
See, I imagine that.
I fancy fickle easy artists,
they travel in bands
with big words and little action.
One would have to sell off
their creative soul
to even try to get involved.
I imagine fellatio costs less,
either way they get ahead.
Am I in Hollywood?
It’s so confusing.
Some transcendental thought
about my present situation:
O’ angst, O’ cigarettes, O’ beer,
O’ my identity, O’ job, O’ rent,
O’ apparent unique awareness
in a bubble, misconstrued,
and lain out before you, spread
and you judge ME, i the same.
How sad. I am a poet, I tell the world,
though I never write. Listen! I am a painter,
though I never paint a picture, how sad. See!
Everyone is the same in this tiny city,
where is little progress? Where is change?
Who cares? Who doesn’t make hip-hop,
who isn’t in a band, who doesn’t make art,
who doesn’t have a bad or good day?
I’ll throw some big words (effect)
in the mix to make it more modern, more real,
here you go: lithe, sinewy, post-structuralism
puissant, Midwesterner, Mississippi,
oh, i am sorry, that ending was pat.
here are some interesting and semi-ironic ideas,
and everyone talks about it.
they were never heard before, but they were!
My best friends are editors and I am a solicited writer.
I have paid the price, which is time and titles.
My contemporaries all think I am the best,
we are very close to one another,
they name drop me because I am a genius.
Come to my seminar, my summit!
Let me read for you, to you…
So. Fucking. Slow. I am god. My thick frames
and tweed jacket match my skinny jeans
and my leather shoes. Now, I have
one question: Who the fuck are you?
Nowadays water balloons and squirt guns
are considered dangerous weapons.
Oddities which can get you tackled to the ground, cuffed,
and thrown into the back of a police cruiser.
It’s kind of funny.
I remember being younger, maybe 8 or so,
and having all-out wars with other kids
at Wildcat Landing near Brownsville, MN.
No one won, there were no casualties.
We would be throwing water balloons
and squirting each other with Super Soakers,
these dangerous weapons.
Their biggest offense was they wasted water.
To get it in the eye would sometimes start tears,
someone would inevitably run to Ma.
The midday sun was usually high,
the smell of sand and the chopping Mississippi
would be in the unbroken air.
Adults drank domestic beers and listened to classic rock.
We were just kids back then, with colorful toys.
Later on as a child, I remember my dad once shot his rifle
in the sky above a plainclothes officer
in our driveway at 1045 Bush Valley Rd.
The agent told us to get all of our guns/weapons.
I went inside and found my squirt guns
and brought them out.
The officer said with surprise, “Not those, son.”
He didn’t take my guns,
back then they were harmless.
He let me go, slap on the wrist.
Nowadays you can get arrested for that kind of stuff.
The shit we got away with,
man we were bad.
the space within a backpack
heavy and overpriced textbooks
cheap ripened bananas,
next to each
They tell a tale of economics and lifestyle…
I go along Coffman Memorial Union,
the pricey disaster