Archive for ‘culture’

March 25, 2017

coulee region, 6 am

The rounded mesas
were verdant sheen in predawn hue
and to the east
steam plumes were standing tall
and the sun
when it rose caught river currents
in the fore
so that they came
entwined to one another
on the earth,
the sun all aglow, sharp,
and the river a ghost mirror reflecting,
as if
they were lovers
of common grounds
beyond whose husks melted worlds away
past all understanding.

March 19, 2017

dad knew

i cut the shades to sunrise pale
because there was nothing there and my father.
there were words in book.
there were time spent in the recesses of my brain,
turned to gas and confusion,
lost attentions and forgotten bank statements.
where i used to fly planes even though
i would fill the bag and he would laugh.
then a plane crash. i could feel the fields
and the corn and the trees
and the dirt in the valley as we looked for that wheel
which exploded off on impact.
it was back at the hangar.
…and he used to make bombs like Uncle Sam
and blow deer heads off of walls,
they made sounds like shotguns miles away,
black trash bags and simple chemistry.
smells like someone is burning pine or trash.
cut the shades to nitrogen.
just a thought. the reflection of the house next door
and its waxen motion sensor light,
should have been changed months ago to be effective.
and nothing. cut the shades, they can see in
and i can see out
and i am sure there is nothing there.
that’s what happens with your attitude
and aspiration as you come closer to it.
to that one thing that no one talks about
and pretends isn’t there. dad knew.

March 17, 2017

…the buses which brave curb rash just to find me.

4:30 PM i would take the 87 to the 67
in St Paul where an area code designates different
and rainclouds drop ice instead of acid.

i imagine that the book at my paunch is warm
and a deranged weapon and those
stuck in their devices won’t notice all that much.

life is like that, stuck in something and unnoticed.
that is what Nest cams are for.
Prior and Uni there is a bus stop

and a café where people shield their faces
from droplets and the smell is something unfamiliar,
musty, affronting, acidic, and rendered vanished.

then the 67, then the backseat blue,
then the same aroma i thought i left on the street,
thought for a second it was me–looked at my boots

–must just be the city. bus tires crawled
the potholes, snaked the corners,
and ran me down a slight incline to a juxtaposition.

i saw red brick molested by graffiti
in high up places from a bridge span vantage,
and felt my lunch lurch at stop and go.

diagonal street not there, but where i am going: Home.
and the mailbox lid was up waving at me,
and the gutters were like the coffee pot

with holes just dripping into the basement
to grow what might hang or cower in a crevice…
really, it has nothing to do

with my commute or the day or the buses
which brave curb rash just to find me.

March 10, 2017

a flower underground

i knew what it felt like to be a ghost,
or an earthbound flower,
all information, all the time
on these matters: doxing and politics,
when that is all we absorb in our bones.
where the oatmeal ran cold
below contemporary jazz notes
and a vase full of roses.
here were also books in layers
onioned out over our wooden shelves.
and dying temptation had me
money in my pockets–full,
rich like those other in-tune saps,
unwanting and vainglory lame,
found doing the same ways,
for another 8 years with no change.
then i read through it entirely,
a children’s book saved me.
Fox In Socks again, very closely, and smiled,
we don’t do that enough;
it’s lonely at the top,
it’s quiet at the top,
other people hate the top–what hate(?).
humor, the distasteful, slop.
i think about time and how it escapes me,
i think if i could make it stop
and smell the fancied spring flowers
i’d want to make it start again.
i’d know that they were never really there.
modern days of trials and errors
never let you live it down;
beauty never seen, a flower underground.

February 28, 2017

inflammation of the toes

i scaled the skin off of my feet
with some sponge
so i could sleep, this was 11pm.
i thought of how an acquaintance spoke of incompetence,
Putin, and being a gun-owner
all in one Letter to the Editor.
that is where you will find the news today.
you will not find sleep there.
you will find sleep in scrubbing clean.
my feet were in silent torment, sorrow.
i wonder about
how contagious this might be.
i wonder about the water down the drain,
where it goes
and how it makes me tired.
my toes dry straight up in twilight air
and the dim light of night
that sticks from a wall socket.
thank god for that creme.
and that others got real problems,
ones they can sleep on.

February 24, 2017

how about that snow minnesota, pretty bad huh? (a bunch of dummies)

i guess, when your facebook predicts it
in so many memes
and the weather team can’t be wrong,
how does one cope by just stepping outside
into nothing that was said,
stepping outside
into the alternative universe
you create
by not just going along with a crowd
that may or may not be right
uniquely defined by such honed definitions
and individuals turned to
what amount to metaphorical piles of snow,
losing ground in May
and not exactly sure of what to do
or say in text about anything anymore.

February 11, 2017

skill

these poets have got skill
they ought to make gods
out of straw men
with fists up to disrupt
in groups large enough
not to miss
but for a singular idea;
for the entirety
individuality has left the building
like they say Elvis once did
and
they prefer and
persuade yours’ gone too, verily–
auf wiedersehen, jetzt;
tho irony poses a problem
when
you think about that purpose
without thinking about that principle,
a group think showing
others to not think
for themselves: so don’t; ironically,
for some everything
can be a problem, depending on the message,
similarly with the critic
at a convention of their beat–they just have to;
still there is nothing new under the sun.
but as arms of automated
recycling trucks
reaching out with care
at soon to be new old shit
these poets
could fall like building 7
16 years ago September, to grey dust
by one true statement,
fall like a beggar’s budget
at two buck chuck,
and then break
their wrists patting their own backs
as if they made
that poignant prose
so much their own,
accordingly their every breathe
is arrogance.
let’s call it “skill” anyway.

January 16, 2017

how to improve paying back your student loans: an interaction about income-driven repayment

i just spent the
last ten minutes of my morning
talking
to Anthony from
StudentLoans.gov
about
how they could improve
their website’s user
interface and experience.
i said:
make repaying student loans
so easy that it
could be done on accident,
so easy that my mom
could pay it back
and it would be a surprise.
-you see, i said, i have a blog
where people can donate with a button-
no big site, no ads, just simple,
even you could donate…
then i told them
to have their bosses
contact me,
call me back,
i am free all day for MLK,
i would tell them about
reforming student loan repayments
for everyone dealing,
i told them i would
do it for free, no charge.
now i await their call, for everyone.

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 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.