Posts tagged ‘Literature’

October 7, 2017

saturday morning with my grandpa (how i became me)

saturday mornings could smell
like burnt eggs
and old cigars stamped out years ago,
bacon grease splatting, hiss,
dogs wet fur from the rain coming down,
a damp dusty basement clouded,
unbrushed teeth speaking true words
to loved ones about what will be done
what we might get to,
grandma and grandpa and dad and cats in La Crescent
sitting in a wallpapered kitchen, rented out now,
pantry full, cooking bean soup on the stove,
waiting for NASCAR on sunday, those tomorrows,
and god, or the lord or heavens knows, who cares?
got to get better at it, all of it,
that smell reminds me of nothing now
and the dead and chopping wood in the forest,
and how he would show up with donuts
and his dog, in leather boots, early,
before most “hard workers” today even think about
getting up because he drove semi trucks
to where i live now, just south of us,
until in his mid-seventies,
when he first met me, 70 times my age,
and i can still smell that stuff upstairs.

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September 3, 2017

you cannot know ever

do go ahead, appeal to me:
be open, be thoughtful , be free.
be like the antilablists be:
no “know”, no fact, no meaning.

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 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 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 10, 2017

saint paul / perfect evening

no stir in the hot trees
a confetti kite hung resting strung
a wave from a man in a yard
plotting with his finger and his wife
not spilling coffee ice &
milk at 8 O’clock PM at night
on a monday night, outside– just,
then back on 3 wheels, he reels,
up Hamline, let’s turn
off Van Buren by Jon’s–get a cut,
laundry dripping water from AC, lucky…
i want to teach again
i want to volunteer and tutor
up at Hamline/Midway
watch poets try to sell books in a library
like watching god sell souls to the devil;
there is something ironic here
and there is something secular here…
mistaking the beans for leaves
Diane is outside watering plants
in her night gown
eating ice cream on a stick,
talking about the green beans we got her
from the farmer’s market last weekend,
garden hose in hand
batting mosquitoes–yuck! shes says…
the cat slips out and nothing happens…
Jana from Breaking The News sees my point…
i water some of my tomatoes too
what a night, nothing better
tweet about how you should walk outside NOW
in Saint Paul somewhere MN outdoors
like canoes chained to trees in Stillwater
up Manning then a right on Nolan then…
waiting for a drink
waiting for a lock pick and key
waiting for this walk again
and the trees stood still
same kite same in the same tree still
we got another year here;
the ink will never dry cause it never was

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.

July 7, 2017

hands foot and mouth disease

… yeah, being a dad you see things,
saw hands foot and mouth disease again
from the other end, i say this now
but when i was 17 years-old i got it too:
sister taylor was an infant
she had it at the time and my hands turned
to blisters that couldnt pop with knives
feet turned to pins and needles and nettles
and things that couldnt pocked hot and roiled
something not nice at all
the doctor said, yeap hands foot and mouth
like yeap, i had HIV in 2007 and it was positive
and then it was false positive and gone
and my head is still living with the idea of dying
living with this is not a medical facility
living with the idea that labels changed me then
now my son has hands foot and mouth disease
like its a problem but i can relate
O’ you havent had it? you got it easy
and now he is teething to top it all off in twilight
i love sleep for not having it
i love having someone like me growing up
love is a beautiful thing
Plato said a grave disease of the mind
now look at my appendages

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.