Archive for December, 2016

December 30, 2016

english majors are the smartest people in the world

i love it when a colleague
tells me that English majors
are the smartest people
in the world. to me, it makes sense,
everyone, everywhere has to eventually
read and write and on and on–
i aver any language major is smart,
but especially if you want to
be a writer and write about your
life, it is wise. tho i suppose if you
want to make money and eat
you had better study finance,
because even dilettantes
can write Moby-Dicks, and even
heartbroken bums can write supreme poems,
and even the most crossed-jaded can
write an eloquent essay of purpose sometimes.
so if you want to stay full and paid and happy
and moderately sound safe sane,
you had better study some finance.
there is smart English logic for you.

December 28, 2016

True friends (grocery list)

Power bars
and scrolls
and iced sidewalks
and salt
and spray
and snow
and ice
and the black of night
and stoplights
and how the nights come later
and later I’ll be home with soup in my belly
and watching House of Cards
and OK googling that
and this
and then Moby-Dick or the Art of the Deal
and jess
and Teddybear
and bed
and think about friends
and trends
and pretend not to notice that the ones that love you to the end should remain in close focus.
True. 

December 27, 2016

Animal. 

Animal. Me. That intelligent malagmity. Moby Dick and Donald Trump and Ferris Buehler and me and everyone between times three. A moment’s notice in a moment, missed it. Caught looking –over there. God’s hand at justice, the opposite: hands-on. Irascible. Some men go bowling. Other men stay at home at a window watching for what’s coming, listening for their mobile phone. In all fairness my older poems were more publishable, marketable, and I was still unknown and alone, that was a long time ago. Animal. Man. Unknown. Lost. Prone. My brain is dying from those around me and their’s shirking and they can’t understand it, and I can’t explain it any better or expand it. There are no more people to avoid or unfriend or be afraid of. No more. I am more defined by my paystub. Only people, like robots, but with subjective morals and fragile rules and safe things to say everywhere about everything every time. Animal. Umbilical cord. Blood. Pain. Passion. Please tell me to act better, but no one tells me to be me better and do what I believe better and be free better, only explain what I mean better. I better I guess. Some say be at ease but… And I should know better about how Shakespeare said the whole world is a play, or something like that. Animal. Actor. Father. Dad. Boy. Man. Child. Prisoner. Observer. Provocateur. God. No one. Neighbor. American. Writer. Reactor. Patient. Person. Colleague. Victim. Happy. Thinker. Doer. Innate. You. And still I’m always changing, so I might be something else too depending on when you see me next and how my day went.  

December 26, 2016

tree removal, i wonder what they pay

a tree removal company rolled up in two trucks in front of my mother’s house. one with a hydraulic lift to scale the tree, the other with a chipper to change its form. they both sat on ice; my mother talked of salting the drive. we watched from the window, Bella the doodle most concerned. earlier i had noted morning light orange of the highest limbs of trees and a bluff black and white back drop before anyone could be called awake, no stirring. and men jumped from their trucks–muffled steps resounded, figured the positioning, lifted, tied ropes, ran trailers into the snowy ground and began to saw, saw, saw. the owner, anal about his law, came out to discuss the future of each blade and which way trees fall in the city. and then it happened. the fall. no “timber” for timber. silence as a shock wave, through the centre, through the top of the tree sending it swaying in a sickening bow back and then forth. i imagined a whole life ruined for a moment; i imagined the rings of a tree and its age are only revealed after death. nextly. chips and dust and exhaust and noise and cutting and chopping and tossing happened in enough cool to make each exhale seen, almost tangible. some authoritative hollers. aside from that, i wonder, how they do it. i could cut down trees too. i wonder what they pay.

December 25, 2016

holiday cheers!

i guess well here’s
a christmas story,
the presents were piled
’round the tree,
in my heavy coffee mug
i substituted
pumpkin spiced liqueur
for bailey’s irish creme.
and i say happy holiday!
cheers, cheers cheers!

December 23, 2016

what to expect when you sit down to write a poem

When you sit down to write a poem
it mostly happens. I believe that anyone can do it.
Writing poems is easy, depending on the poems
you write and the audience you write to.
If you were a press and your goal was to make money
off of poems, then your audience would be donors.
I assume they are harder to write to than bloggers.
I guess an idea that blew my mind is
publishers would have competitions
and offer cash prizes and then after they rejected you
they would send out emails about
how they need your money. I never got that.
People asking for donations after they rejected your work,
as if the words you wrote lacked the luster
and the importance of the words of others.
I suppose certain grant writers get more money
for certain words, certain editors need salaries,
and certain ideas hit closer to home.
I mean, I am a father, a husband; I am white and male
(but none of that matters; but identity is chic now);
I have tried hard as any to get to where I am.
I would say I am a poet but by most accounts
and the emails I get, that means I am a failed poet.
I don’t make rent or pay bills off of my work,
it pays in smiles and a sort of pride
that only you and I would understand.
What I do is safe as a handrail on icy stairs.
What I do is very, very, very easy
because doing something you love shouldn’t be hard.
What I do isn’t exactly defined, thankfully;
in a scene you have to either be or not
or just keep going until someone notices you
and either says “shit” or “genius” or “you are that poet”
and that really depends on the time of year
and who you are close friends with,
and what kind of poem you read at the open mic, and how.
So, I have noticed, when you sit down and write a poem
it usually happens, and you can do it,
though I would say most are worried about perfection,
how other people feel about their ideas,
and would hide their art because
it might lack meaning, identity, or a soapbox purpose,
absolutely defined by others in a social vaccuum.
But we will never know. And that is why I wrote this poem
precisely for you. I find it a huge success.
Writing mostly happens, or I guess it doesn’t.
Easy as mom’s Facebook post or Trump’s tweets.
Easy as pressing keys and not marketing.

December 20, 2016

bean sandwich

when it is
lunchtime
and you literally
eat
a bean sandwich,
just black beans
between sandwich bread
and that’s all.
and then you
eat it slow
with no seasoning,
and stale water,
and then its paste falls
out in chunks onto
a folded paper towel
on some dirty table,
and the blue sky
beyond the old window
is blotted out by
purple drapes, and then
you think fuck,
i wonder how dusty
it is in this room?
and you look around suspciously.
and think no one please
talk to me right now,
i need a wash, thanks.

December 19, 2016

Washington Ave Bridge 

I walked on the wrong side 

of the Washington Ave. Bridge to see a wall 

never to be built, 

Covered in movement art,

in cool sunlight of a warm 

day just because. 

Why not? For me, by myself, 

no one to change that, 

going east and who knows where else. 

Counter, kind of backwards, 

Where there is no need to fret. 

Where all bets are undecided.

And he asked, how’s it going?

Good. And trying to keep warm. 

December 16, 2016

proud to be an american

i very much suppose that
i am proud to be an american,
the individual kind especially,
the kind that isn’t
like the group-think kind
that group-thinks
about big things nationally,
and maybe seldom locally,
unless it’s an opportune time,
like election season or media season,
not askew sharply by
what you think i should “know” and do,
and that others don’t,
even if our freedom of speech
can be very costly and
the weather is more potent
than the law or protesters, and
people want to change
the rules after the buzzer blows
and i can’t think
of anywhere else i would
rather be, maybe–besides
green ireland, with my wife and son,
because, i am very proud
to be an american for
we always get back up together
and we always have some sort of hope.

December 15, 2016

a few days of cold

perhaps heavy layers
might block
the -20whatever
weather,
perhaps
truth is what
you believe;
perhaps shovels
and salt will
kill the snow.
perhaps tylenol
cold & flu relieve.