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.
one time, jess and i drove to canada
in a small chevy truck. we stayed along
lake superior and its blowing winds. thought
cedar greens would snap. got to tofte at
about 8:35pm, couldn’t see the site.
a ranger called that morning told me they plowed it.
slept on hard rock ground, no foam mattress.
woke up found we were at the shoreline,
read a death in venice. made coffee,
warmed fingers, walked in snow. thought
of my dad and how it was 70 in the cities.
we drove north, had pizza at sven and ole’s;
i had a beer, got in the truck; then crossed
the border past an endless sea of pine, rocks,
and blue water mass. got stopped, wouldn’t
let us through. stayed at an airnb…
won loonies at some casino, tipped very well.
everyone asked us why we traveled north for spring break.
drank bulleit rye in a sauna and turned into a jerk.
got lost. got deals at target. watched
forensic files, ate pancakes, and we became
international travelers; drove to another country.
just like that, for a thought. and i don’t
know, thought i would recount that situation.
it was good. crossing borders, it was nice
seeing things outside of an america lens.
it is 6 degrees in frogtown, mn,
i am inside sick watching cspan
and a baby sleep in his rock
& play, wife in the kitchen watching
a cracked screen. my face is full
of snot, head full of congestion, watching
talking heads tell me about “fake news”
and debates and their influences.
(easy, i could take their words for it
they probably don’t care about mine.)
someone wears a bandaid on his cheek;
the president wants a deep dive
investigation; and the red hot chili
peppers had a forgotten album in 2004, says reddit.
i wonder about where i was at that time,
i don’t know how that all factors
into everything, but mostly i care
about what is right here, around me.
wooden floors and naked feet–pallid,
lemon sinks to the bottom of my mug
as a blue whale in the south pacific,
muddy water coffee waits on a tablecloth,
plastic snug on the windows, electrical heaters
and baby toys. a coat hangs slack
like yesterday. i know how hillary
felt when she fell into that van,
now i’m with her. now i am sick.
now i am achy as a lab skeleton cold.
last night i picked up a Bukowski again and
read something from his THE CONTINUAL CONDITION
then i thought in the parking lot
after the lady behind me bought my lottery tickets
and dark coffee because
the guy behind the counter
in the unwashed and untucked shirts
didn’t know if they accepted credit cards
or not and the line grew,
and no more money came from my pants,
what is art?
rat is art
tar is art
tra is art
i guess anyway you look
at it, those letters are art.
and the lady in line said: take it, no just take it.
and threw $2 on the counter.
she had a gallon of 2% milk and was serious.
like any-thing is any-thing
perhaps decomposition of a loved one
since the year 2014 is art,
like pumping milk from a cow is art.
or maybe since the year 4201 is art.
i don’t know.
don’t i know.
i watched from the car
as breastfeeding went down in the lot
i didn’t want to be followed,
what a major calamity of sorts.
the gas station lights could
sense my growing shame and
how my patience was lost
in staring at walls or looking
for a cd that wasn’t scratched,
hoping for B.I.G..
crystalline frost formed on the vehicles
near the front lawn.
and i am happy they were there.
we rolled up late, an hour of stationary
before we got back on the road
and i tried to dodge deer
where brown and red smears said they died.
like the leaves piled and decomposing
they are tra, or rat, or tar
whatever you call it it is that.
like those bleeding hearts couldn’t take a loss.
like losing the lottery in america.
like driving at night with desert eyes.
like coming in late without an excuse.
like not needing one, but you do.
like knowing before others and pretending to not.
like apologizing for everyone like you for guilt, your guilt.
like feeling sorry that you don’t.
like telling people to move on in your shoes.
maybe that’s why we all drink coffee
and tell our friends what we think.
and one day the sun won’t spin,
so bring a few extra layers,
everyone will be there.
meet melting pot america.
meet freedom of speech.
meet upset by freedom of speech.
meet why so mean america?
meet wow, i am confused.
meet holy shit, what freedom?
meet let’s change this idea.
meet we try to do and do right.
meet not broken don’t fix it.
meet individual in a group.
meet thoughts of talk and action.
meet make, make, make, and make.
meet comes with the territory.
meet that’s life, so they say.
meet i love Dr. Seuss…
meet cry baby, why baby?
meet the reality that is, and why.
meet why change, instead love.
usually when i fact check
it’s from an uninvolved 3rd party.
now that’s usually, just for reference.
though this isn’t science,
this may be far less important.
10 electors will vote for the lot in Minnesota:
electoral college, USA. usually when
i fact check, it doesn’t really matter…
(now perhaps the same for voting)
more of a hobby. you can go to
mplsscene.com and fact check that.
see how it’s all right there and only fair?
see how “facts” don’t really matter?
Fog of deep valley
drifts away from verdant bluffs.
Small town soul revealed.