Posts tagged ‘University of Minnesota’

April 16, 2015

After the Midwest Poetry Summit,

settle in,

I sat on a wooden deck
regaling
the Midwest Poetry Summit,

what a night, sights
with friends
and poets,

tightly surrounded,
though alone,

whisky breath and sunburnt,

looking over
to
see Scott Seekins—the Artist, the artistry,
everywhere and nowhere at once: art,

here
were
local artists sitting in a corner,
all talking and laughing,

patting each other’s backs with hard-handed purpose—see(?),
an overzealous—bee sting effect,

saying: “we are” and “oh ho!”,
and smiling;

it was enough
to make a common person cry,

so
my eyelids
unhinged
a tidal wave
and
I
hugged
myself
to
death.

April 15, 2015

Dangerous Objects

The
most dangerous,
and worrisome,
objects
that
could potentially
occupy
the space within a backpack
are
heavy and overpriced textbooks
and
cheap ripened bananas,
next to each
other.

They tell a tale of economics and lifestyle…

I
think this
as
I go along Coffman Memorial Union,
the pricey disaster
on my
back.

April 12, 2015

Experience the Movement: during AWP 2015

In a tight vanilla pale room
with a tangerine sunset view,
where high association
shared big words
and accomplishments tacitly,
wink to a nod,
rubbing elbows,
touching pinked-white hands—shaking,
close, related, akin,
with more than five dollar’s worth of language present, presented,
of which few perhaps did understand,
it didn’t matter though,
behind modern dark faux wooden frames, Lennon round,
piercing eyes darted—knowing names, big thanks,
as bodies in ironed button up shirts,
suit jackets dusted,
leather shoes shined,
and neutral colored slacks creased,
hair done stiff, fine—slicked back shine,
reading aloud
lines and verses and words;
poems unfamiliar,
as those within oohed and aahed,
at each vocal cord’s articulation,
as attendees and audience members
smiled, drank, laughed, explained, translated, and clapped.
A brave man said with confidence to the glaring crowd: this was the movement,
we were it.
I guess maybe I couldn’t relate;
I felt more like a dried stalk of corn in a Midwestern summertime field,
some monocultures are unescapable.

April 5, 2015

Grain Belt Sign

Looking over the tanned Hennepin Avenue Bridge
where a shaded Grain Belt sign still won’t shine.

Here too, Nicollet Island looms in an aromatic Spring night,
shadowed by new and ancient high-rises, boxes of floors,

holes of light, standing against the straightening northern winds.
These apartments of the departed—mills and factories and dreams,

ghosts left for better times and warmer climes.
They no more see the Guthrie above a scintillating river’s distance,

no more spiraling down Gold Medal Park pathways
through thick buggy twilights, in tow bags full of books and beer

slung over shoulders, no more here; new eyes peer.
No more boats or barges pass through the upper lock and dam

loaded with local commodities, as pedestrians stroll along St. Anthony Main
catching a movie, drinking and spending, as tangled trees

build up and obstruct the Mississippi flow below Central, sounding wetness,
sounding to south. For this sign there is no more light.

Right here, remembering this unlit hallmark as headlamps
of cars buzz flashing by, on dotted pot-holed streets,

we on feet, bumble through dialogue of what we read and where we’ve been.
This sign now is painted black as it watches over downtown in the fore,

were it shining off of the muddy waters, were it catching in cigarette smoke
exhaled, were it meeting pupils and blazing that scene on some

grey matter fold in a viewer’s mind, it would still be lit up there,
hanging above a tanned bridge, in its gold, black, white, and red.

April 3, 2015

To The Library, A Day of Doors

Here with a dashboard view,
sleepy eyes take
the quiet city coming alive,

we are few between many doors,

Falcon Heights and going,
street to street,
community to community,

into the morning routine forgotten
on this early route.

Sitting shotgun
under damp skies heavy,
and fleeting streetlamps,
there waiting is the shielded sun,

we go;

creamed coffee in the center console sea
splashes and waves,
ebbs and flows,
high tide to low,

becoming more clouded,

at each abrupt lurch of fresh tire to ground,
at each crude pothole found.

Out with a love kiss
and a copasetic slammed rusty door,

moving towards
a red-brick building amongst other zombies,
dogs, and cats—I hold the door.

Administration signs we pass: “authorized personnel only”,
keys with their jiggling change sound of agency,
intimately within, feeling special again…

Through vacant hallways which exist resembling tubes
and tunnels and fish tanks—minus exotic fish,
with subzero refrigeration units which are warning: no food (!),
and photos of past passers-thru hugging plaques.

Press a sticky button for the elevator—engage the motion,
ding ding ding, ah…
lonely polished doors open,
step in, and close, to hit the number four…

Wait…
Wait…
Wait…

I should have taken the stairs today…
I think, exercise…

We stop,
and out to a wooden door and a sparkling tile floor,
unclipping keys to enter this cryptic lounge,
no one near, just me here.

Turn in, let the day begin,
and come get your books.

April 1, 2015

Poetry Workshop, Senior Seminar

He sat as we tore him to pieces,
limb by limb; every sentence sound, lost thought, and errant period
became our subject, our purpose to change.

Critical words and suggested alterations sliced deep,
a pain was scribed on his taut winced mien, perspired.

I said nothing more, no more from me.

This was where their sticks and stones became surgical instruments, their say on his say, tools which cut to, with their subjective opines on art, on personality, on poetry.

I sat and said nothing,
until words came, “…any last suggestions?”

Then I spoke: I think your piece is good.

March 30, 2015

Local News on Finding the Missing

Local news helicopters clapped with
their loud sound as they converged
overhead on the scene, where strangers stopped
to mingle at Coffman Mall, thoughts the worst,
converse on occurrences this once;
I heard “she jumped off the 10th Avenue Bridge,”
a bystander rattled off as rain patted
my mourning-black jacket wet,
standing in a crowd of unknowns, nobodies,
with that heavy buzzing sound in my ears,
while eyes of those around on the ground
looked up—to focus, at those looking down,
focusing, seeing their intrigued glassy whites,
for a moment, everyone watched,
then off they went, no “buddy system”,
about their days in different directions.

March 13, 2015

Prelude to Spring Break 2015

As early March had come in biting and the best were kept inside,
a span of two weeks had passed slowly and sleep had become elusive.

Professors watched second hands tick and gave out faux tests;
these symbolic life quizzes—it’s who makes it who matters.

Desks became confines as concentration went out open windows,
to welcome hands of mild weathered-breeze and new-season sun.

People—tired students, red-eyed lecturers, they didn’t exist;
regular situations became stimuli for a stagnant comatose: why?

No answers formed, except that three days later a person could be a week away,
anywhere—abroad, nothing to do, only to read titles and books which please.

Yet we all sat watching that clock, it moved slower despite us;
now, it would have to stay indoors and assess classrooms of empty chairs.

Scholars and administration would hopefully be in Spring air, taking it in,
with a cold beer in hand and tender sunrays on their back;

minds would exist as empty—blank slates, to pen a tale—an experience,
with no thoughts of what was left sitting behind, with not a hint of rigor.

March 11, 2015

A March of Yoga Pants in the Sun

A few brittle flakes of flesh fall to
the standard grey University desk in front of me.

Evidence of one memorable bench-sit sunning had brought me gifts today,
parts of me and more.

They came in gaggles of yoga pants, sparkling wet sidewalk pools—dripping,
and the wafted smell of thawing topsoil.

These odors damp and dank, some familiar and sweet, natürlich;
smells a boy can never forget.

Sharing words of Baudelaire and Schadenfreude,
Chaucer and April—but, hypocrite reader, you are not guilty,

it is I with the pen and the paper and the view and the thought in mind—
These other student-creatures saunter forward naked, empty, out of

static blasé bundles of winter climes, too Springtime is due, unawares.
I smile at the idea of my taut semi-reddened flesh, dried and cooked

in yesterday’s ultraviolet rays—as my significant other warns of skin cancer,
but this is my proud ignorant trophy to own.

I can only thin-lipped big-tooth express, and fiddle with dead skin cells
as they rest on my desk in cross-shadows and heated-light.

March 4, 2015

View from a Minneapolis Coffeehouse (human zoo)

1
Sitting an hour between classes seemed as days elapsed,
at a Washington Avenue coffeehouse table,
where tall transparent windows
beamed reflective light,
beaconing inquisition: “just look outside”.

2
Taking the hint, lazy eyes gazed to witness a fashion of layers,
dark shades of boots, and clench-fisted gloves,
blankly moving full-through their owner’s stepping saunter;

blurred these creatures came going along the sidewalk’s edge,
tracking herds in asymmetrical circles,
in late-winter’s dressings—
they gave a bob and weave dance,
contrasting against the
silhouetted patrons standing inside in line, motionless.

3
A cigarette had fallen central to the commotion,
and became squashed-to on the wet ground—
accordion-like, a thin pale smoke drifted above and into the street air,
between stoplights and cars,
vanishing with exhaust fumes
and puffed exhalation plumes of each passing pedestrian.

4
Cold feet, slick rubber wheels, and the Green Line’s steel
came around loud moving through,
bounding over the dotted masses of miniature speckled glaciers,
emitting a cacophony of moans, shrieks and squeals
one’s ears could not avoid, even within shut doors.

5
On a stage there stood warm vessels waiting
for huddles of hypothermic;
metro transit arrived late near soon to be ice-melt
and future city gutter streams.

6
I sat sipping hot sepia
with this view, with this wildlife,
wondering how the animals at the zoo
felt about the
children outside
who poked and smudged at their glass view.

Fin

***
Another thought:
June: It seems so far away, I wish it were today.

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