Posts tagged ‘midwest’

March 12, 2017

uptown is still intact.

morning sun came painting houses
down the block with its invisible brush,
a car sitting outside defrosted
its alabaster exterior,

and John Denver crooned to me thru Google Home
years before his plane crash demise,
talking of Colorado, reminding me of Coors Light–the beer.
Effulgent as the shines spire,

one that Ahab loathes, I realize Uptown
is still intact. Still too cool. Saw buildings rise
like noonday heat, anon, now, fast, quick, ungodly.
realized old ones, their stone facades

still gazed at the new, different,
removed crowd below. Same. something strange,
something with pretense; something–why, you, there!
and it was rocky mountain high and country road

take me home, something American,
something America. going here again,
i too am different. Same. eyes seen things.
notice the art of apology is dead, humor too,

notice tell of another hang-over had by all for naught.
something stirs and people
describe it in a way not the same, unique to them only.
not the same. not the same. as this area.

uptown is still intact.
uptown as a bit more jaded, me.

March 10, 2017

a flower underground

i knew what it felt like to be a ghost,
or an earthbound flower,
all information, all the time
on these matters: doxing and politics,
when that is all we absorb in our bones.
where the oatmeal ran cold
below contemporary jazz notes
and a vase full of roses.
here were also books in layers
onioned out over our wooden shelves.
and dying temptation had me
money in my pockets–full,
rich like those other in-tune saps,
unwanting and vainglory lame,
found doing the same ways,
for another 8 years with no change.
then i read through it entirely,
a children’s book saved me.
Fox In Socks again, very closely, and smiled,
we don’t do that enough;
it’s lonely at the top,
it’s quiet at the top,
other people hate the top–what hate(?).
humor, the distasteful, slop.
i think about time and how it escapes me,
i think if i could make it stop
and smell the fancied spring flowers
i’d want to make it start again.
i’d know that they were never really there.
modern days of trials and errors
never let you live it down;
beauty never seen, a flower underground.

February 18, 2017

this morning here is what i did…

on Saturdays i can usually
drink a whole pot of coffee, not just half
so it sits until the next day and maybe
goes into a growler in the fridge.

my stepfather says it’s a waste to make less
than a full pot of coffee, so today i feel
accomplished and un-wasteful. on the way
to write this i played with the stinky cat

with a painful foot that possesses an ingrown
toenail on the big toe and has athletes
foot unrestricted. i turned on the kitchen
light and opened the shades and perused

the backlot as i filled the pot with tap water.
my wife changed a dirty diaper and prepared
for work. i cleared my mind for getting my
ID updated and a new credit card;

i would have to change accounts. i poured what
was left of the old coffee from yesterday
into a tall glass, added creamer and drank.
thought about how i won’t buy beer this weekend

and how our podcast went so well. it’s things like these
that matter, keep the full pot full, positive.
my stepdad was right, and then she walked in
to ask what i was doing in here, listening

to funky soul on Google Home and writing.
waiting for the full pot of coffee to be done.

February 4, 2017

some bright orbs are hated for their difference

i feel like a grapefruit in
an orange grove sometimes–
like shave, shower, shit;
alarm bells, scrolling the internet;
deodorant, brush, smile,
sweating thru, flannel, true;
Moby-Dick, Hitchens, and
Bukowski, metal ends
to my leather toes;
unknown and close, you would never know.
40 and holding, always weekly,
bitch and complain and shamed
but still nothing for change…
and when they peel my flesh to test
the citrus juice comes fresh,
more blood orange than a crate of grapes,
more real than fake.
and they talk about Onalaska
and La Crosse and La Crescent
like they are all me, and not.
something above it, but
a grapefruit in an orange grove,
thinking differently alot.
or i think i forgot,
but that’s no big deal anyway,
see what i look like, have a taste.

January 28, 2017

adulting in st paul on a saturday, and then belfast

here for
an empty glass
growler
once filled
with coins. $52.something.
turned into food.

the capital hanging
its pale dome
on the dim shoulders’
of University Ave
in the fore.

there, loving couples
at a cross-
walk, smiled;
where i’d
been before,
and am now.

the statue of liberty
played by a man,
nausea teal,
holding this bright sign:
we pay cash inside,
how american, on this corner.

i sit in a turn
pulling to the side,
brown bags and
local ipas in the trunk,

mouthing an old song
while feigning
Ryan Gosling
in Drive–mechanic’s glove hands,
tight grip on
the supple wheel.

all before 11 am
some intersection
crossing Lexington Parkway
and light rail tracks
in St Paul, going, hungry, mad.

*

and then, thinking of
a hotel in Belfast
conversing continental divides
over continental
breakfast,

and the divided conversation,
and the painted murals,
and how
people took photos
on their phones
inside of a bus because we couldn’t safely get out.

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…