Posts tagged ‘English’

July 30, 2017

cheap breakfast (over a hot stove in quiet peace frogtown usa, why for fruit and eggs and butter and spice and time and memory)

my morning of foreign language speak spoke
wrapped with a stale beer-feel haze
and cut fruit–tomato, bad reviews, and 2 fried eggs
and contrived paddlewheels
at St Paul later; i am meeting to mend broken pinion gears
for inconsequential yard work
and forget the past
which does not affect us,
so remember not to forget.
with fork turned knife, i cut the
fragile membrane and watched it ooze and
sluice yellow the barebones plate: perfect presentation,
where is Gordon Ramsey when you need him? fuck.
if only for toast–
but they say processed carbs are so bad
with guesswork lexicons,
and so is not just agreeing with…
but dont talk those politics out loud in public,
they could hurt your morning stomach,
could hurt your local pride,
could hurt you like if you were that red fruit right there
unresponsive, go letting out,
about to be devoured by something much bigger
than you could ever truly imagine
and only for cheap breakfast
next to lowly coffee more precious.

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 9, 2017

how to talk poetry at lake como and there is free stuff on the corner that is treasure and local poets on international ideas and non-profits in the sun on a saturday reflection

we walked Como lake in the sun
at 3, 4, and 5 pm as others ran the circle proper.
i found a wife and a child very happy,
found ice cream and Miller Lite and monarchs floating.
descried a man and a woman stealing caterpillars
from milkweeds near black walnut trees,
recalled that caterpillars arent stupid–get free.
take the insect out of its habitat for safety
lock it up and observe it–for the better, really?
doesn’t make sense to us thinkers.
a couple of canoes reflected off the water
shimmering like a solar eclipses bright, tinfoil cut up.
found blisters on my moccasined feet
found a green Kelty and Boy Scouts of America.
topics of 1995: how to be a U.S. Citizen.
not much has changed much really…
thoughts of running into Tish Jones with another “writer”
a few weeks back, spoke of connected poetry.
i dont think she remembers my name from the
poetry workshop we had together at University.
told me she is international non-profit now
i didnt say what i do… she met teddy and jess.
red bugs and phosphorescent bugs and stabby thorns
and rocks and dog shit and strollers and runners, again.
thoughts of a broken garbage disposal at home
and the fire alarm that fell from the ceiling sky.
cellphone photos in the sun and an empty beer can in hand,
the tallest thickest cotton wood in the city, in this park.
a dockside where people fish in weeded muck
and walk around naked and hot and confused and hungry.
said focusing on everything is focusing on nothing.
trash cans and stone walls and people coming.
the time is late and our child cries for milk.
a parking lot where inordinate occupants move.
pine trees and green grass past Gabe’s patio.
the owner’s car is always parked in front, shining.
found two Colemans in a trash heap of a vacant house
on our tiny and nice street in a good area with good transit.
the rent is ok, the property management is aloof;
this is some american-dream-privilege-fantasy void.
one hundred percent labeled by those who “know”.
i compare indentured servitude and renting property for a moment.
then again, wonder if the neighbors are trying to sell…
it’s a good time to try to make a buck from nothing,
look at this poetry and how it goes and ideas,
especially in this market where easy sells fast
with the right persuasion and movement behind it.
only a walk in the park on a beautiful day.
i promised to be positive from now on
and still i invite the challenge of it all.

June 25, 2017

i notice and i think you should too

i will tell you, if you want to be unique,
differently skewed and
especially noticed or adulated where you are,
dont be a poet.
coffee and beer are my fuel during this grey day;
opposites like that do attract, like defined words and me.
(Sunday morning coming down,
wrote this yesterday while
teaching students how to speak Midwestern English in other countries (plural).
i could say i am international by now, wont.)
(anyway) to get noticed, get a real job,
work very hard every day, and
mind your own personal business
in this capitalistic venture,
otherwise known as your broken dream land,
otherwise known as real life.
dont take photos to share on social media;
nor add filters for likes, #NoFilters.
nor wear a bunch of makeup
to make up for your flawed human makeup.
nah, you needn’t do that.
just be, thats really real and really noticed.
people think you got a problem then.
tell them to unplug and not scroll.
my breath applauds me, my feel stings as truth alone.
that would be unique in a world where going viral on CNN Breaking BS
or standing on 94 W or E rebelling pointedly,
maybe cutting off ambulance service to someones grandmas dilemma,
like the rest of the thoughtful group
over 12 peers turned to one loathsome local department,
under adjectives: fascist, systematic, murderers et al.,
is considered some sort of special star sticker and truly esoteric
and great advocacy and activism novel, true, poignant, necessary.
but i understand sort of, well i do…
it seems too obvious and you know it…
you do.
products of media brought to you by you and look at those pricey ads.
so go ahead and think,
how can i not be like them, working for someone who doesnt pay me,
the others that do the same thing (as others)
that i do, yet with more good friends
with more important memberships
with heavy solicitations–sell my books, ever heard of pulp?
pulping happens.
with more performances at more trendy publishing houses
at more hipster coffeehouses.
i also wrote a poem today that wont get noticed.
like everyone else(s).
it is bigger than pale generalizations.
more complex than a Saltine cracker
and its box–squarely.
you know, i wont put some same sign in my shitty yard
for people to like.
for i dread mowing and wont water for more work.
the neighbors enjoy my company already, go ask.
there isnt enough space on it already too,
to say what i want to say, with open meaning,
and it wont make the community feel better anyway
because no group backs it, i havent donated to prove i believe,
and because it would say: each individual should do better
themselves as a unique individual, individualists themselves.
because if it were that easy to fix the neighborhood, with signs,
then everyone would be doing it…
and if the doorhandle opens the door i won’t fix it either.
even if i kick the door in and the handle is still on it,
then probably the doorhandle still works.
like poetry–it doesnt take much really.
getting noticed though…
so i dont know what else to write,
that’s true or fiction or thought.
besides: nothing special here, just i notice(d)
and i think you should too.

June 21, 2017

my schedule.

Sometimes they tell me to not take the train
because of scheduled preventative maintenance.  
So there is a bus, the number 3.  That is OK.  I can deal.  
I’ll have to walk a bit on Lexington.  Anyway, sometimes I read
while on the usual train in the morning,
while sitting next to naked monks speaking in tongues
while fresh girls get out of their seats
and move to the door for fear he might find them evil
or something like snakes to crush.
White spittle crazy in the corner of his lips.  
Then I go to the back of the train too–to get away
and watch reflections on plastic or the sky above
or building’s tops and tree lines.  
Sometimes.  Sometimes we make loud abrupt stops.  
Sometimes I get nauseated and ride the train backwards
on accident or lack of space.  
My mom tells me she might get seasick.  
The green line is great if you like gentrification
that causes rent that makes rental refrigerators empty
and arguments to flare up in summer heat with no AC
like mosquitoes on naked arms near still lakes.  
I don’t care though.  But then I do.
I love the way I get to where I am going.  
Now on the number 3 it will take a bit longer…
It takes me 20 minutes and a few pages to turn.
From there I will have to walk longer in the heat.  
I get some knowledge from my book.
I carry it under my arm and bang my wallet with it–check.
It’s all in my hand, information.
It’s mostly tax free and friendly
and I don’t have to make friends.  
But sometimes it gets canceled
and I realize that it means more to me than most things
because it is so easy (and when it’s not there…)
and it is so convenient
and everyone talks about it
and tells you how great it is
and wishes they could live in a big city
because all these things are close
and nice and expensive and very cool.
But tomorrow I can’t take the train to my regular station.
Probably get a ride and talk about my schedule.

May 27, 2017

morning sun, knowing it’s god in ways that we don’t

morning sun apart,
i apart the sun cutting the shade
cutting the street cutting the car cutting my eyes.
birds standing dandelions pulling worms
like i do zippers in the northern cold.
the used car lot neighbors crowded the street again
like modern protests,
disrupting a conscious flow
though lacking the initiative as most–
there is no justice to be given back here on the boulevard
and not peace. take history for example…
i see no change in the human condition.
tho that’s me.
it was there before they came as most
they just didn’t see it,
not until it was stirred cause bright schisms
for their eyes to take. redoubled.
i only have a problem when it’s before me
usually i remain silent and wait for it.
still wanting what’s replevin them.
no getting it, they are no robin at the soil.
i am no robin at the soil elsewise.
no glare to morning eyes.
no standing stem to be lopped at rusted blade,
and the mower will start.
a hundred years old, my dad fixed it before he died,
that is how fucking trusty it is.
arcature of the gods–nay, with purpose.
sun reclaiming its take, no problem.
it doesn’t believe in science to be a spinning orb
in blackness of space
to heat up something it does not know, earth,
and does not care to
and we can call it what we want for naught
because it’s still there and we are proud.
that glare and those cars.
never moving. why should i? never knowing
something impossible, keep asking for it.

May 21, 2017

auspicious believers (so i cant. so i wont.)

we can never know or understand relateable language no matter the familiarity in whatever function we choose to fancy.  interpretations involve smells and times and deaths and climes and thoughts that no longer exist; bygone dusts could tell better stories, persuade better truths.

i reach for douglass and derrida, and they ask me not to in their words, but i don’t know or understand the meaning.  they say our nostrils could not handle the 1800s and we use words from that season in ways we couldnt image.

tell me its wrong young scholar, fad intellectualists, your precise wisdom is your precise debt.  trapped in a box.  chained.  shackled.  nailed in.  it won’t be the last time.  mind askewed biased abused.  never knowing language; i teach it too.  want to understand study the single meaning for a life and pull it out timid.

i beg you to caution your wits safety.  close and zip your loose lips.  stick a sock in it, save those ships.  there is no exact exactly.  here is a free lesson.  don’t get me started on labels.  sad fools pretend to command it just as you see and read.  ask them about affect or effect, their there theyre, its and its.  sound familiar?

its not, never will be, never has been, never was.  concomitant, concocted, intermingled, fluid, assumptions that others have brains.  and they work well.  when they spin wheels in voids tending to spires metals and idols just past their eyes, telling you what you are with these same words so sure they arent wrong.  try not to laugh.  so right, believe.

so i cant.  so i wont.  every single word.

May 17, 2017

reinventing the wheel

adulting is a non-stop everything, everywhere and always. no more mac-n-cheese naps with mommy and mr. rogers. keep the bathroom open. listen for the monitor. wake up early, that’s late. eat later, after the feeding. get used to it. dont try.
try not to complain. the heat will turn up. the cold will come. the furnace will die. never really had AC, so… the bills will grow higher in a pile until they start to call your phone from unknown numbers that look familiar. growing. like your gray hairs. like your thin patience. like your elongated nose and drooping ears. coffee stained teeth black holes between. like the grass when you let it go for 2 weeks. and still, humans turn to antique glass. fragile to the touch, sagging at the bottom, blemished for worth. thicker and distorted. probably gravity we blame. and the wheels will stop. and the wheels will fall off. kick them tho. be ready to get down and dirty and fix it, even if you aren’t a pro. that’s how it goes. a new something for you to find a new way to fix a new something. reinvent the wheel why don’t ya? –for gods sake. or try to imagine a time when and where things get much easier and you grow softly younger and everyone thinks positively the same, that they are happy too… and you can keep your wisdom at that.

May 16, 2017

fresh breath of water

here are words and thoughts.
here are posts and talks.
where we go and where
we dont… rather not say.
rain falls through windows
sideways, kissing a leaden sill.
the broken internet is dead,
that means my castle is down.
ok google, make me rich.
ok google, grant this wish.
ok google, play jazz.
see, that one works–soundtrack to my life.
one works and works and works.
and one really doesnt.
they dont like the prospects, every option.
probably not a pension in protest.
and me too, many things are hard.
i am worried about all these poets
with all their problems–no odes,
saying all of the same things
begging for different, acting as fact similes.
we are and we arent the same and writers.
stand up comedy was much easier, welcoming;
comics want the same thing, yes: a laugh,
and they get it in different ways, yes. that.
i am just wondering, worried.
will be home to teach English in China.
will be home after learning them to read.
will be home some day when i get one,
now i must buy a box–be sure.
a million different reasons
to not be the same, to create change–but talk,
but friends and donations and money
might dictate that. the focus. the appearance.
no one wants to hear about
what i look likes problems.
there are bigger and more unjustices,
there are impossibles that simply must.
i trust that it will smoothly be
ironed out over time by talking heads.
and they keep praying. and stay awokened.
tell me to believe, hard to do now.
i cite science, but i respect all religions;
that is not a dichotomy, that is reality.
i am just looking for my free lunch,
and my wife and my sons, and everyone else’s too,
an ad hoc lottery ticket: to win,
and some time to find some time.
when i do i promise to buy you something…
no one knows though,
and our roof disappears in July,
as the money did for my emergency health.
all in the same fish bowl
trying to find the fresh water and good shade
and not get called out for it.
buying the cheapest beer,
hardly eating anything at all.
enjoying what i did in the past more and more.
man, i was living the dream then and now.
and that is how i got here, you too. 🙂

May 14, 2017

get away from it all (mn state parks)

Minnesota state parks do it for me,
like Prozac for some. And less
expensive, and less expensive counseling.
You know you always need to come back
to get better, to pay the doctor,
to make sure the pills are working…
For this i just need a sticker, it’s $25 dollars
and there are no commercials or brochures.
This is better: the ca-chunck of a cold can,
the wetted splash of a distant paddle,
waves calmly lapping my naked feet
in May waters of the St Croix.
here, i think Minnetonka moccasins
should be call Dominican Republic moccasins;
because that’s where they are made, really.
(please see the label for their local status.)
i found my sister’s pot-of-gold lure mimic’d,
twisted it on, threw it out: caught nothing
but a buzz and rocks and sun.
Line gone, line spun, line done.
Watched a lady smell pine sap
her dog lashed to a leash nigh,
she covertly hid her keys on her tire,
as we watched,
and she played Bob Dylan on a ukulele
before the slowly coming dusk.
i watched a child just hang in an ergo baby all day.
i saw the light cut through.
Drank liquids from an orange Nalgene.
Saw the reflection off brown current
cause camera obscura on some island bark,
made my pole dance and my eyes hurt too.
Still i got no fish… not even a bite.
Names cut to rock with metal or twig
in hearts to prove they love, maybe still.
More sap on the pine–i want a whiff too.
i’ll tell you something true.
Once, i wrote a good poem here for a class
that didn’t care. It was about killing bugs. Should have
read the other one comparing me to Picasso–it didn’t matter.
MN state park days are the best to get away.
my shoulders turned a shade of red
and they do label me a shade of white.
Been black and blue, purple, green and yellow too.
my mind thought about what the sign meant
as vessels drifted by, people yelling.
looking for their open sites, theirs.
neosavages, these: European, free, socially aware,
middle-class, their Prius’s and Subarus parked,
tents popped up, foraging in rented canoes,
life vests and manufactured paddles. Pointing like pioneers.
We are still too close to the city i suppose
And the DNR’s new 100 percent reserve policy
on all the good campsites
has them coming in intellectual droves
and this time they bring science not god,
(well at least some.)
Cutting out the day-tripper maybe-stayers in their prime!
Not sure what is worse…
How does a regular guy get away from it all anyway?