Posts tagged ‘midwest’

January 3, 2017

free as i freeze (habit and time)

wake up to routine,
OK Google, play morning jazz.
watch people kiss at the
drop off spot.
it’s cold, there is ice–messages, go outside…
tie shoes and salt the walk.
change diapees of all sorts.
my son makes more art
than the lot in the books
than the lot on the poster
than the lot at the press
than me, and yes, i wrote that
and it’s exclusive to your publication
and i won’t send it
to anyone else, i promise.
no more surprises.
she asks me why i don’t wear
a jacket in 9 degree weather
to fill up the gas tank
so the fuel line doesn’t freeze overnight,
i don’t want to be restricted.
i want to not be cramped.
i just want to make ends meet
even if they have no interest
in meeting and becoming friends
and they just try to avoid
that moment, which i have set out so boldly
to make a reality, on my account.
wake up to routine,
OK Google, bring me a beer.
and deconstruct structure–
wood, screws, metal, shelves, etc.
they tell me i look nice in a blazer.
into packs cramped.
trying to be more free as i freeze
if you would just let me,
it only takes habit and a moment.

December 30, 2016

english majors are the smartest people in the world

i love it when a colleague
tells me that English majors
are the smartest people
in the world. to me, it makes sense,
everyone, everywhere has to eventually
read and write and on and on–
i aver any language major is smart,
but especially if you want to
be a writer and write about your
life, it is wise. tho i suppose if you
want to make money and eat
you had better study finance,
because even dilettantes
can write Moby-Dicks, and even
heartbroken bums can write supreme poems,
and even the most crossed-jaded can
write an eloquent essay of purpose sometimes.
so if you want to stay full and paid and happy
and moderately sound safe sane,
you had better study some finance.
there is smart English logic for you.

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.

December 15, 2016

a few days of cold

perhaps heavy layers
might block
the -20whatever
weather,
perhaps
truth is what
you believe;
perhaps shovels
and salt will
kill the snow.
perhaps tylenol
cold & flu relieve.

December 13, 2016

i guess i am afraid too…

i think of our fast time
when and where the fear
holds us tight, when
we tell everyone
how afraid we
are about everything
and anything, everywhere,
so vocally, so knowingly,
and how our ways only
will most likely change that fear.
then i think
about a class that
i took a few weeks back,
one of self-defense, surely,
when and where the
instructor told us all
to not be afraid
of the dark, or not
defend ourselves if we are
and we find ourselves in it.
i mean, it seems so easy,
but the basement can
be really scary, the dark alley
can be truly terrifying,
the misunderstood politician
can seem as the devil incarnate.
and then i remember
looking to outside St Paul,
out on the cold streets,
crusted in white hard snow,
alight with daybreak,
that cold that is out there
in the sun is more
dangerous to us–30 minutes and
you are dead, and that
the summer clothes hanging
in my gloomy basement are
only as scary as i make
them myself, they blow in the wind,
they touch me like shadows,
they do what i tell them
to do in my head. this is what i fear:
the irrational fear of others.
so, i guess i am afraid too…

October 1, 2016

keys

i have keys to define me,
a crowded key ring full
for opening doors to…
going from here,
here to there and back.
going where ever.
these keys define me,
golden and silver keys–
some crowned with plastics–
their lovely worn patina,
pressed so hard as
to their cold metal form.
looped at my wide hips,
locked on a levered loop.
reaching for somewhere,
hands going any place,
so many keyholes to poke.
turning, antiquated mechanisms.
this life of access…
she tells me my keys
weigh me down so much,
pants drop loud to the floor.
long day of carrying on.
must weigh an actual ton,
or must weigh like
a couple hundred pounds…
something pretty heavy.
but so important, the masters are,
they’re “*” adorned;
if you lose them, –fuck,
they have to rekey it all.
literally, not just given out
to anyone who walks into the joint.
a heart attack for misplacement.
this is no joke.
i keep mine with my “life-keys”.
told as the very day
they first came to me.
i did not coin that term,
but it is truly endearing.
and it is truly important: these keys.
kind of like where you go.
and how you get to where you go.
these keys to define me.
these keys to define you.
these keys to define we.
defined by these words.
these are not my words,
someone else’s…
they are used to define these keys.
these are not my words.
they come from the past.
doors with no keys.
invisible and weightless, and free.

* a specific letter.

September 13, 2016

birth of idea in the age of money (untouchables)

as i turn on the boob tube
to local frost warnings
and bright light
an inspiration is born.
something surely new.
something surely different.
as wafting aroma of morning coffee
kept cool in the fridge
then poured out neat in a cup.
low dew points: free!
some commercials sing.
sell me more, like their press.
why don’t you sell poetry?
blinking and bouncing colors.
loving the breeze
that wraps me through
the window as i sit nude
thinking on meetings
and projects and lifestyles
on some cat-torn up couch.
how we all get around.
how we all are targets.
just a touch of some Button on a remote.
at some remote location.
living room centered.
in the middle of everything,
and nowhere and somewhere,
and some inspiration is born
just like this,
and we can all relate.
but will we give it that way
as we ourselves get?
Commercialism. Capitalism. Nepotism.
those are still in the art you read.
will we acknowledge the acknowledgeable
which too makes us
and we find unique when it is not?
probably i don’t know.
probably go buy their works.
some tell of “privilege” i guess.
tell stories they don’t “know”.
tho are your friends publishers,
curators, or the media?
make em’ more realistic as if given.
if so, it’s all good.
if not, go fish. my inspiration grows.
tho i am pale, tired, and typical.
where is the kitchen sink?
i suppose they are right if they believe.
here is the father of some idea.
something already been said.
something apathetic, something me.

September 4, 2016

apathy and highways

52 south past Greg’s Meats and a spired oil refinery,
if i were a plotting baddy it would be Mount Rushmore
for symbolism and confusion of the masses.
an open highway before us: droves on phones,
and couples on parade; the rich in their luxury sedans
and country in super duty small dick specials.
dashboard view of master photography, one that could
inspire a journey home, or west, or to new horizons,
something bold and powerful like in health magazines;
in old lands, which are new and no one could care less—
it means something on instagram or facebook or twitter
but beyond it’s malarkey. but really, i usually wonder about
the next rest stop; Gatorade makes me shit and coffee
makes me piss and light nagging hangovers do wonders
for my guilt and humbleness. kids on the way, us kids.
a dog barks in the morning minus its shock collar. this escapism
from a city to a town, needing to find something in nothing,
no more labels that matter, just gathering cut wood
from neighbors who are dead and the living ones
didn’t like their beautiful red and green maple trees,
still we did. logs season enough in a year to make
smoke, to make fuel, ash, what we rode in on. washed and
cleaned and we pulled our mirrors out and met meine Schwestern
am die Ecker squealing tires, snapchated that.
and then we were off to southern homes like ma’s pasta,
like baked goods revamped, like a road less traveled
what should be traveled more. sunday mornings
waiting for the paper, fixing engines to make money.
all is well, birds can tell, and i don’t get their songs.

July 16, 2016

turn at whole foods muse

a saturday morning commute,
when i see high performance
dick measurements
dancing across deep potholes
in our weekend downtown,
i realize that maybe my feet
say more on a quick walk
in broken-open slip-ons
than my hands do on virgin leather,
and that’s was my judgement,
and at a cracked bus stop
some authentic wait lonesome
for jesus christ and good luck
surrounded by windows mirrored,
exhaustion and new day;
who wears the pants and such anyway?
i think all this betwixt coffee sips
driving along the way,
i take it in over “ordinary world”
and think of Scorsese death
while our wet ball spins
(do i need a car wash to appeal?)
and his Porsche turns before me;
the shine blinds, maybe size small.

July 11, 2016

lastly we think

mostly driving home
from a reprieve between
standing pole pine–green!
and exalted glamping situation,

below old Duluth
past something Hinckley,
and their road mess,
and slow aggressive lot,

listening to No Agenda,
we realize that we have
realized nothing
for what we are told
by the local/national pundits
and stirring media,
the melting pot hot.

and we riot
and we protest
and we kill
and we oppose

and lastly we think… i am guilty too,

beyond what
we are told by something
being paid to have
us closely listen, sure.

know.

water cooler blues and divisive proclamations…

bad news multiplies
like rabbits and gets
spoke more gossip
than adultery, stay woke.

and lastly we think.
and lastly we think.
and lastly we think.