Archive for ‘Free Verse’

November 18, 2017

ghosts cannot kill

life after life
life after this coffee is gone, slipped out of its cup
computer screens bleeping, drama queens screaming
after a walk in the woods, after silence
thoughts of my father
pop up like mushrooms in spring,
me as a father now especially
as that one spire, strident, fixture in my life
once was, as afraid of the dark
as bumps in the night, he stands there
dead eyes, calming, voided, silhouette doorway
telling me the same thing he told me to make me feel safe:
a ghost has never killed anyone in the history of time,
no one has died from seeing a ghost,
and if i were going to die i would have done it by now
he told me that without exaggeration
i wonder are they real
or are they just gone when they are

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November 17, 2017

paths (something rich)

where do we all go?
where do we all start?
i walked on a bridge early this morning
frigid cold–blurred sluice
and through a hall, stuffy
the men smelled good
or their musk did, anyway, like money–
reminded me of the dead
reminded me of my dad
tried so hard to impress all, everyone
who is that though, really?
nothing can’t know
can’t know nothing, so…
a bridge that tells us how it is, how to feel
tries to teach us clearly
and then tells us to just believe
it’s like this and like that and so on
hypothetically, imagine a bumper sticker:
don’t question the moon landing,
don’t objectively view the coldest November
in the hottest year ever,
some ideas rooted in beliefs–religion,
exactly explaining concepts that aren’t laws
with fluid language changing, unindelible,
to match your mood, now, or movement, then,
i am voting for the perfect robot in 2020…
still very hard to tell
we all can’t be English majors or theorists
where we are all from, just looking
but where we are all going to some day
that’s something rich

October 21, 2017

52 south in minnesota and some thoughts that i can’t escape like the blood on the highway and the lights up ahead

the dead deer leave their stains on 52 south
longer than the sun hangs in Oktober skies wide pale,
i hope to not create that sort of artwork tonight.
probably someone died in the accident at Coates.
glass, lights, backed up traffic and silence at the crossing.
entrails and scattered viscera, nature and force.
later, i hope this poem doesn’t take a dive on me.
matter and brain matter and matter matted.
where softly playing wind chimes alight and inflatable
Halloween decorations on the lawn greet us, hum.
barefoot in the street talking visas and books and
cars and presents, my mom’s birthday is this weekend.
above some star dies and the cemetery up the hill knows.
at least two beers on the couch, check in at motel home,
at least some pictures. my little man is awake past his bedtime.
teaching language in the morning, then they talk like me.
these strangers aren’t strange, they are nice.
wake in the morning. talk talk talk talk talk talk
talk talk talk talk talk talk. what’s the problem?
i know how she is when she is the way she is, love.
same costume as the last 5 years or so, goodwill find.
there is no surprise like there is no surprise.
an animal jumps in front of the dashboard, it’s a leaf.
there is not change there, no change there, there.
lock and dam no. 7 is an empty street where josh died.
dan will be at jules and wives will be in andere Staaten.
nextday i have coffee and talk to China and think
of the money that i don’t have and need to find somehow.
doesn’t matter, but that fucking deer is dead again now in my head again.

September 9, 2017

logically you are not even if you say you are on account of your actions and that language’s histories

i wonder if when I,
poets, activists, or protesters
disparage Western concepts, culture, constructs,
in their precious american English
they realize that they are
wading in the deep waters of
conflicted ideology.
(i am not defending or attacking it, just a thought.)
i wonder if they realize how careless they potentially look.
(tho it could be misread or misinterpreted, easily.)
the language of the Oppressor
suites well for an offensive, good thought… Lorde’s

master’s house with master’s tools (as explained):
same with antifa violence–end’s means,
or narrow-mindedness politics, not for me.
some things are only those things in name.
i want actual world peace.
i literally want equality.
i have begged for equal parental leave rights for fathers.
(and sometimes i just want coffee or beer.)
i can’t care though in a world of apathy towards definitions;
maybe you can see what i look like through texts.
there must be a proper algorithm for that.
i write in it,
i teach in it,
i think inside my head in it,
how do you do in it?
language is that prevalent, do you think in second languages?
probably told something
about how i am in it by someone i don’t “know” in it.
but i must re-reflect in it, hypocritically.
do i wear cotton clothing?
most likely my parents did, and their grandparents did…
that crop we should truly burn for its despicable history.
who is this building i live in named after?

Occam’s razor a bit more and start removing those bricks too.
every pattern is another pattern resembled: what did it mean, again, then?
that lovely beach you go to, named for?
he must have friendly-fired at some point, making it somewhat ok.
did the Viking‘s not sack Dublin perhaps
raping and killing and plundering that Emerald Isle?
something about my favorite football team that doesn’t win…
the homeless may sleep for free in that structure’s shadow, cold tho.
i can’t recall because i wasn’t there
but these poets, activists, and protesters,
perhaps, they are backwards really–me too,
with language rooted in vile pasts they (and i) despise,
so fluid its will can change fast daily
just to make some poignant moral point work out for a new sign;
like media statisticians, i can make numbers speak too.
get them to sing like a well-oiled machine at church.
a few words in print, alas, but my Narrative… shit.
i can speak another language.
i have visited new and different lands.
i will never stop reading or changing my mind on anything and everything.
perhaps, if you are a globalist who has
never left the States and who only speaks
one language, mother tongue, how good are your big ideas?
practicing and preaching are two different things.
no big deal though, just saying, reflecting.
so how would you like to say what you think now?

July 23, 2017

if monsters could leave the city

oh tru morning between aging cof
fee and covfefe and chuck dick,
one resignation away from a full deck,
and the meeting the Washington press
people who are good actors–
i mean really fucking good actors,
for saying things like fair and
balanced like a fat thumb on
the honest scale but it doesnt matter.
not like the gamma rays cutting,
not like a baby bouncing new teeth
through the clouds haloing above
the old trees and cut grass: lawn boy:
a broken pinion and the late sunday paper.
more gas on the ground than in it,
more save the world than wtf? locally
heard a domestic disturbance yesterday,
saw someone stealing a mainstreet car.
i suppose if i dont shave
the people who i teach in China wont care
probably wont notice beyond my American smile…
coffee again, father john misty again;
i like the art on the vinyl.
car parked in our odd garage.
monday take out our hot garbage.
so many movements to make,
only got to make movements.
i want to take the time to watch the snake
eat itself slowly as they say bye bye Betsy–
to hear her say she wont have it,
and i think what does
she think of party-made monster,
probably should get through Frankenstein,
probably should hideout somewhere.
or like a scapegoat leave the country.
if monsters could leave the city.

July 15, 2017

the black hole of the nextdoor app where they tell stories on social media and everyone really cares

someone on the nextdoor app
had a bad encounter with authority and expounded,
like that has never happened before…
we both live in St Paul, near Falcon Heights…
like anyone cares IRL…

July 12, 2017

the logic of selling books at a public library

i never got it
while tutoring at hamline/midway
the evening crew
would ready the chairs
get the event set up
and talk
and put cookies out
and put coffee out
and the sun would drain away
in the winter void
and people would come in
and wait and watch
like stand men or trees
and listen
and i would read books with my student
at a round table with a sign
and talk words
and say this and that
and this is what that means
and i would get done
and bundle up for the walk down Minnehaha Ave W
to my warm home and wife and son
and wonder to myself
how could a person
possibly sell a book at a public library
full of books
that any person
could check out for free
with proof of residency
or a driver’s license,
a piece of mail with your address on it.
and that is why i love libraries
on negative 30 degree ice
walking home in wet boots
thinking wow, the sales poets are very bold
or just not that smart
or just i don’t know.
it’s not bad,
i don’t care,
it’s just interesting…

July 4, 2017

not popular enough

while you are out there living your life
just don’t kill me with your car
while you are texting and driving,
that’s all i ask.
(i am a husband and a father now…)
it’s hard to do to put down your phone, i know.
you swerving hard too, nbd.
that text is important like social media likes.
while i am out there too just don’t ask
me a thing about what i really think or care about
unless you can just agree
instead of proving me wrong
on something unproveable, because i really do.
i am triggered by dissent, as a self-identified never-wrongist.
because i get easily confused…
are you some sort of great god?
are you in the always-correct group?
are you my boss or the president or taxes too?
rather the sun ascends the west.
rather saunter New York City lost.
rather eat Texas Toast cold, raw.
this coffee tastes old like last week’s status update,
and coffee is not like wine.
salad dressing and pasta make a good cheap salad.
scroll the day away or stay awake.
find a new hobby app to find a new hobby to attack.
let the clothes pile up.
the chore list gets more amassed,
the opposite of my bank account.
never reline the trash cans with plastic sash.
shit happens but why me?
bike to a junk yard through a swamp in noonday sun.
around and past a brave frog standing.
tanktop sunburns, rooftop bars.
wondering which card to use to pay, a tip, how large?–sorry…
anyway, the extent of my road rage
is calling someone a fucking dummy
from the safety of inside of my car.
see me as i walk across the street
just remember to hide your phone.
no one would facebook live stream something like that
like finding another penny,
it won’t spark protest or make the front page.

June 7, 2017

no ode / summer cold

oh man, you have problems,
i look in the mirror:
when your
sore tender nose
is running
sluicing, flowing, going
but you can’t blow
your throbbing nose,
i do really hate you
summer cold.
it runs down my face
to my lip,
to me, leaking somewhereselse..
like me wanting to be.

April 5, 2017

social sensitivities

here i see social sensitivities
so let’s stretch
his hands out and ride the 16
to the 67 to wind in the face and more wait…

or really cry about
something that won’t happen, ever.
like justices being served in prison terms;
like i won a million dollars.
and the crux of the biscuit is:

we know jason isbell personally,
sort of through someone else, a best friend,
through someone else, a wife,
through someone else, a bandmate
and probably not.

Bourdain said it right tho…
right there on the tv
with Bill Murray over Budweiser
or whisky or wine or food or jagermeister…

all because of a tee shirt
all because of a wet cough

and some sort of talk about needed monies.
but that’s truly a redundancy.

seeing pretty houses and i might buy mine own
all from the comfort of this overpriced rental,
on my living room couch,
just sitting next to you.